I was at the farmer’s market this past Saturday, browsing up and down the small parking lot. This is my Saturday routine. I love waking up early, hopefully taking a kid with me, getting on my bike, and riding a few miles to the market. As I talked to the farmers and compared prices, I was taken back by the huge bunch of Thai basil for only $1.00. I was sold. I began asking the two ladies about how they use Thai basil, my little trick to see what people are cooking. One immediately said, “I used in larb last night”. I don’t think they knew that I knew what larb was. I mean what suburban white boy knows what larb is, right? I came back and said “I love larb, did you use chicken, or beef?”. That is when she began talking about the grilled chicken larb. “The grilling adds a nice smokey flavor”. I was sold. I had grilled chicken larb on my mind.
I make larb every couple of months. Nothing beats the flavor and versatility of this minced meat dish. It’s spicy, sweet, and sour and can be eaten with regular jasmine rice, or better yet, sticky rice, or eaten alone or other ways. Let’s just say it’s great. My wife and kids really enjoy it so I wanted to see how this grilled chicken version would come out. The farmer seemed excited about it, so it had to be good.
Ingredients: [Print this Recipe]
- 5 chicken thighs, boneless and skinless
- 1 tbsp canola oil
- 2 shallots, minced (approximately 3 tbsp)
- 1/2 cup of fresh Thai basil leaves, chopped
- 1/3 cup of toasted rice powder
- 2-5 Thai chile peppers, minced (spice to your liking)
- 3 tbsp fish sauce
- 1/2 tbsp palm sugar, or regular sugar
- 2 whole limes, juiced
- Cooked rice, jasmine or sticky rice
- Black Pepper
Get your coals nice and hot. Again, I used charcoal when cooking on the grill. Cooking over charcoal is desired for that smoky and char flavor you will not get from a gas grill.
Season both sides of the chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Throw them on the grill and cook them, flipping every few minutes until cooked through. Remove from the grill and chop it into small pieces.
Add about 1/2 cup of uncooked jasmine rice to a skillet. Cook the rice in a dry skillet for about 15 minutes, tossing it along the way. Your goal is to brown the rice to a deep, golden color. Once you get to that state, add the rice to a coffee grinder or blender. Pulse until you have a course powder.
Add the oil to a large skillet and warm it to a medium, high heat. Once the oil is heated, add in the chopped chicken.
Add in all of the remaining ingredients, and give it a good mix. If you are serving kids, I would suggest removing the chile peppers from this recipe, or divide the mixture before adding the chile peppers. I would recommend 1-2 chile peppers for the mild at heart, and 3-4 chile peppers for those that love the heat. Regardless if it is one chile or four, the balance is perfect.
Serve the grilled chicken larb in a small bowl with a side of rice. Dig in. The sweet, salty, and spice is just something out of this world, and I think you would agree. So, the next time you are at your farmer’s market, start a conversation. You might be fortunate to learn about something new. This grilled chicken larb will be my go to larb recipe now as she was right, the grilled chicken does add great flavor. Hope you enjoy.