Thai Chicken Larb Lettuce Wraps (Easy Laab Gai)
This Thai Chicken Larb recipe is an easy version of traditional Laab Gai! Made with ground chicken and plenty of Thai flavors.
Last week I was at my office, minding my own business. Then, some delicious smells started wafting around. At first, I dismissed it. There’s a commercial kitchen below us, and I’m used to smelling delicious food during my workday! But, the smell stayed in our office.
Finally, I asked my co-worker what she was eating for lunch. She responded, “Oh, just some Larb (pronounced LAHB, I think), it’s pretty good.” I learned from her that larb is a type of meat salad common in Thai cuisine that combines chicken mince with traditional Thai flavor, served on top of lettuce.
What I loved about this dish is that it’s wildly simple and incorporates a lot of my favorite Thai flavors! The thing that was the most interesting to me was the use of uncooked, toasted rice. My coworker insisted that it was necessary, although I’ll admit I grumbled a little bit about having to toast and process the rice. But, she was so right. Toasting the rice adds a super rich and nutty flavor to the dish. It is exceptional and totally worth the extra time!
I like to serve my Thai Larb Gai recipe with tons of fresh herbs and plenty of fresh lime juice. It keeps super well in the refrigerator, which makes it great for meal prep!
Ingredient Substitutions and Additions
I know that we don’t all have Asian markets accessible to us, so I have plenty of ingredient substitution ideas below! It’s okay to make your own version of Larb Gai using the ingredients you have readily available.
- Substitute any kind of ground meat for the store-bought ground chicken. Ground pork, ground turkey and ground beef are all excellent. really, any type of lean protein will work. You can even use boneless skinless chicken thighs diced into small pieces!
- Substitute white rice or jasmine rice for the basmati rice.
- Substitute romaine lettuce or butter lettuce leaves for the Thai lettuce wraps.
- If you can’t find fish sauce, soy sauce is a decent substitute!
- Add a pinch of Thai chili flakes for extra heat!
How to Make Thai Larb Salad
First, you toast the rice. It’ll start popping like popcorn and moving around the pan. Super cool. Once it’s toasted, you’ll grind the toasted rice down using a food processor or a mortar and pestle. I think a mortar and pestle is best to get a really fine texture, but I don’t have one (yet).
Next, you’ll use the same pan to cook the ground chicken. Feel free to substitute ground pork or turkey. Once the chicken is mostly done, you’ll add in the rest of the ingredients.
Combine all of the ingredients, serve with iceberg lettuce leaves and plenty of sriracha!
I have enjoyed chicken larb cold, at room temperature and warm! It makes a great lunch to-go for this reason. Here are a few suggestions on how to enjoy this Thai chicken larb recipe!
Instead of serving this chicken dish as a lettuce wrap, consider making chicken larb bowls by serving over the top of sticky rice. It’s wonderful with a side of green papaya salad!
Storing Leftover Larb
Store leftovers in airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. I recommend storing the chicken mixture separate from the lettuce leaves to keep them both fresh!
Reheat gently in the microwave on half power for 2-3 minutes if desired. I like this dish cold, too!
- 4 heaping tablespoons basmati rice
- 1 pound of ground chicken breast
- 2 limes, juiced, divided
- ½ shallot, thinly sliced
- 10 sprigs of cilantro, finely diced
- 2 green onions, finely diced
- 1 teaspoon sriracha (or sambal oelek)
- 5 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 head iceberg lettuce, chopped into large pieces for the lettuce cups
For garnish (optional):
- Sriracha, Thai basil, cilantro, and/or extra lime juice for topping
- Heat large skillet on medium-high heat for several minutes. Lower to low heat, then add the rice to the dry skillet. Do not grease the pan.
- Stir constantly until rice is toasted and golden brown, about five minutes. You will see the rice between to "pop" and release a nutty aroma, almost like popcorn.
- Carefully pour rice into food processor, spice grinder or clean coffee grinder, and grind until the rice is reduced into smaller pieces. The smaller, the better. A coarse powder is ideal!
- Return skillet to stove, set to medium heat.
- Add ground chicken and juice of one lime. Do not grease pan. Sauté for about 5 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink and is crumbling.
- Remove skillet from heat. Add remaining lime juice, shallot, cilantro, green onions, chili powder, and fish sauce, stir well. Sprinkle with ground roasted rice, stir.
- Serve chicken with iceberg lettuce leaves, top with lots of fresh herbs and more sriracha if desired.
Nutrition InformationYield 4 Serving Size 4
Amount Per Serving Calories 281Total Fat 13gSaturated Fat 4gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 8gCholesterol 121mgSodium 1942mgCarbohydrates 15gFiber 4gSugar 6gProtein 30g
The nutrition for this recipe is calculated by an app and may be incorrect.