Let Thai Chicken Iarb is made with ground chicken, garlic, ginger, lime and lots of fresh herbs. Served over coconut rice or in salad wraps, this meal is nutritious and easy to prepare. This sweet and spicy dish can be ready in about 30 minutes or less and will be a hit with the whole family!
What are chicken thighs?
Larb Gai is a traditional dish from Thailand and Laos which is basically a meat salad. It appears on Thai restaurant menus and is a popular street restaurant. Typically, larvae are ground with ground chicken or pork and flavored with lime, garlic, chili pepper, palm sugar, fish sauce and rice paddy. It is an explosion of flavors with spicy, sour, sweet and salty notes in every bite. Lurt is typically served with sticky rice, salad and lots of fresh herbs.
This chicken thigh that I share today is not an authentic version, but rather one fast. 30 minutes. weeknight meal that still has all the great flavors and textures you love. While authentic caterpillar may be a time-consuming labor of love and not a weekday type recipe, you can now get chicken thighs when cravings strike!
To make this recipe more accessible and easy, I replaced the fish sauce with soy sauce (a more readily available ingredient in most kitchens), replaced the typical painted chili with chili sauce and omitted the toasted rice powder.
How to eat chicken thighs
- In salad wraps: One of our favorite ways to serve chicken life is in a wrapper. Begin with some Boston or butter salad and pour coconut rice, larb mixture, herbs and a quick cucumber salad. As a salad wrap, this makes a fun appetizer; serve it in potluck style and invite guests to put their wrapping!
- With sticky rice: Traditional Larb Gai is served with sticky rice and fresh salad leaves intended for layering and wrapping. Try this recipe for sticky rice.
- In a bowl: It's easy to create a bowl meal – place the coconut rice as a base, add the caterpillar on top, layer on the herbs and top with the cucumbers. You can also add some quick pickled red onions to another bowl element.
- Over cauliflower rice: For a lower carbohydrate meal, replace coconut rice with cauliflower rice, or enjoy the caterpillar on salad wraps without rice at all.
- In a salad: Make chopped salad with larva, herbs and a few more vegetables (such as cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced sweet pepper or red onion). Squeeze a few lime wedges over everything and add a drizzle of olive oil and rice vinegar. Sprinkle some crushed peanuts for garnish and use a microplane to tear some lime peel.
- Add fish sauce: A splash or two of fish sauce highlights the Thai flavor.
- Krydderiveauer: Start with 1 teaspoon of chili sauce and rise from there and go slowly if you are sensitive to heat. You can also try Sriracha® instead of the chili sauce (Note that much of the flavor in this dish comes from the chili sauce).
- Swap the meat: I personally have only tested this recipe with ground chicken, but I think grinded pork would work well in its place. You can also try ground turkey, but you may be able to increase the amount of sauce.
- Bulk up with vegetables: I love collecting recipes with extra vegetables (not only does it get more nutritious, it also saves money!). So, while not fully authentic, you can add some fine cubes, mushrooms, carrots and peppers to the caterpillar mixture. If you add a lot, you are likely to increase or double the sauce.
- Goals to use dark meat, ground chicken. Most of the fat in chicken is in the dark meat; the lighter the color of the ground chicken, the lower the fat content. Meat with lower fat content means it dries faster and faster and tastes drier when cooked.
- Do not boil the ground chicken. just as the chicken breasts can get very dry when cooked, so can ground chicken. Stop cooking when it is no longer pink and has turned white. Stir and break the chicken constantly as you cook it.
- Drain liquid. Before adding the sauce, be sure to drain any liquid that has accumulated while cooking the chicken to avoid a foggy and bland chicken lab.
Frequently asked questions about chicken thighs
How does the caterpillar taste?
Chicken labs should always be so light, sweet, have a hint of spice and have a hit of lime. Lurt is meant to be spicy, but doesn't have to be all that. We only add 1 tablespoon of chili paste and my kids inhale this, but if you don't give birth to children and / or like things a little spicier, you can increase the amount of chili paste.
Chicken thighs are also a lighter dish; it should feel nutritious and nutritious, especially with all the herbs and fresh ingredients in there. It should taste fresh and bright and provide a myriad of textures.
I also added a quick cucumber topping which further tastes the dish and adds a nice soft crunch while gathering all the flavors and textures.
Is the larva served hot or cold?
Traditionally, larvae are served hot – right after it's done cooking. That said, many restaurants serve caterpillar cold or at room temperature in a salad-type dish or for salad wrapping. We like that it served hot; as soon as it's done!
Is the larva gluten free?
This larva can easily be made gluten free by switching in coconut aminos to soy sauce. Make sure all the products you use are actually gluten-free and not made in a gluten-containing facility. (Here is a guide to specific gluten-free brands).
Several 30-minute dinner recipes
Let Thai Chicken Iarb is made with ground chicken, garlic, ginger, lime and lots of fresh herbs. Served over coconut rice or in salad wraps, this meal is nutritious and easy to prepare. This savory, spicy and sweet dish can be ready in about 30 minutes or less and will be a hit with the whole family!
Course: Starters, Dinner, Main courses
Food: American, Thai
Keywords: chicken larva, larbgai
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 230 kcal
- 1 and 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil (can use olive oil)
- 2 tsp finely chopped garlic (~ 2 cloves)
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger (~ 1 inch piece)
- 1 cup thinly sliced green onions (white and green parts) (~ 4-6 onions)
- 1 kilo of ground chicken (darker meat will be more tender and flavorful)
- 2 tablespoons of regular (not all purpose, not light) soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons lime juice and 1 teaspoon zest zest (~ 1 large lime)
- 1 tbsp Sambal Oelek (ground chili paste) (See note 1)
- 1 tablespoon light brown sugar, not packed
- Fine sea salt and pepper
- 1/4 cup EVERY: minced mint, minced coriander, minced basil (See note 2)
- 3 Persian cucumbers (or 1 English cucumber)
- 1 tablespoon EVERY: rice vinegar, olive oil, lime juice
Coconut Lime Rice (optional)
- 1 cup of basmati rice
- 1 and 1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 large paste (~ 1 teaspoon of foam and 2 tablespoons of juice)
- For serving (optional): Salad leaves, additional lime wedges
COCONUT BASMATI RICE: Start the rice first (if made). Combine 1 cup basmati rice, 1 and 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk, 1/2 cup water and 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste). Stir and place over high heat. Once cooked, reduce heat to low and cover rice. Simmer for 13-18 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Remove it from the heat, keep it covered, and leave for 10-15 minutes; don't rush, otherwise it will be sticky! Fluff the rice with a fork and then add a lime foam and juice. Stir and divide evenly on plates.
SAUCE: Beat the ingredients of the sauce together: in a small bowl: add the 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, 1 teaspoon of lime, 2 tablespoons of lime juice, 1 tablespoon of Sambal Oelek (See Note 1), 1 tablespoon brown sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste; it depends on the salt content of soy sauce, but note that ground chicken needs a good amount of spice). Stir to combine.
toppings: Prepare on top next: Cut the Persian cucumbers thin and place them in a medium-sized bowl. Add 1 tablespoon rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon lime juice, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper to the cucumbers. Stir and give the mixture a few more stirs while you cook the ground chicken. Give the herbs a quick rough chop and place it in a bowl (See Note 2).
LARB Meat: Finally, prepare the meat portion. Add 1 and 1/2 tbsp coconut oil to a large frying pan and melt over medium-high heat. Once shimmer, add 2 teaspoons chopped garlic, 1 tbsp minced ginger and 1 cup thinly sliced green onions. Saute for 3-4 minutes, or until fragrant and tender. Add the ground chicken. Make sure to really break down the ground chicken with a wooden spoon so there are no big chunks. Sauté for 7-9 minutes (breaking up / stirring) almost constantly) or until mostly cooked through and white everywhere. Drain any accumulated liquid and return the pot to medium-high heat. Pour the cooked sauce over the chicken and cook for another 2-3 minutes, or until the chicken is fully cooked (no pink is left) and sauce will coat everything. Remove it from the heat.
SERVE: Serve appetizer style with lettuce leaves, larvae meat, coconut rice, a bowl of herbs and cucumbers. Either put everything in a bowl or on a plate (coconut rice, larvae meat, chopped herbs, cucumbers) or stuff salad wraps. Enjoy immediately.
Note 1: Sambal Oelek adds a lot of flavor and is quite spicy. If you are sensitive to heat, start with 1 teaspoon of sauce and increase from there. You can also try Sriracha sauce instead of chili sauce. (Note that much of the flavor in this dish comes from Sambal Oelek.)
Note 2: The herbs add so much to this dish, but if you prefer, use a combination of two of the herbs instead. I like to serve the herbs on the side so anyone can add as much as they want.
Recipe adapted from "Cooking without recipes" from BonAppetit.