You are going to seriously love this spicy, crunchy, healthy recipe for Thai Warm Salad made on the Evo Grill. It’s fun, easy and delicious. It can be changed up easily to suite your taste, dietary restrictions, or what’s in your refrigerator. I can’t wait to hear what your family and friends say after you make it for them the first time. Suddenly, you are a Thai food genius and expert exotic dinner party hostess.
I know this because I’m not Thai or even a professional chef trained in Thai cooking. I’m just a white girl who often craves Asian food and has a passion for cooking. I love it like in my last meal would be Chinese Dim Sum, Vietnamese Garden Rolls, Crispy Whole Fish, Garlic Crab and Thai Vegetable Stir Fry kinda love ( what’s your last meal menu look like?). It is the type of food I most often make at home and always seek out when traveling. Because although I live in the amazing food center that is Charleston, SC, it sadly lacks a little diversity and options in all things ethnic. I go out for Shrimp and Grits or Handmade Pasta. I stay in for Larb Gai on a Tuesday night. I promise you that this Warm Thai Salad is one of the easiest, healthiest, quickest dishes you can make for yourself or your guests. Even if you have never tried making your own Thai take out, this is a great recipe to convince you to start! And if you’ve never had Larb Gai, don’t let the simple ingredient list fool you. This is a major flavor/texture combination which is always a huge hit with everyone who tries it at my house (even kids if you pick out the chilies). People love to eat with their hands. It’s like Thai Taco Night! All Thai food is well known for its sublime balancing of salty, sour, sweet, spicy. This satisfying warm chicken salad shows off that famous balance incredibly well. Add to that the fact that’s its low fat, low calorie, nutrition dense, gluten free, and easily made vegetarian. You have a truly winning dish to add to your summer rotation! I give you- my version of Larb Gai or Thai Warm Salad with a Twist.
I’ve fooled around with the traditional recipe for Larb Gai just a little here. Traditionally a Thai cook would use ground Pork, I used ground chicken here. But ground beef, duck, turkey or diced mushrooms all make great versions of this dish. I have served the finished salad with super crispy Napa cabbage leaves. Although I have seen this in a couple restaurants, it is most traditionally served with seamed jasmine rice or lettuce leaves and cucumbers. I think the Napa leaves are an improvement over both these options. I also add in an entire bag of bean sprouts to my salad. This lightens it up, makes it more of a “salad” as we think of it, and gives an incredible crunch to the dish. The original is very “meaty” but delicious (perfect for Aitken fans maybe?). I also eliminated the toasted rice powder from my version. It does usual give a nutty flavor to the traditional Larb Gai as well as acting a binder for the dressing. I just prefer the clean freshness of the dressing without the toasted rice. Do feel free to try it both ways and decide for yourself. Here is a great recipe for a great traditional Pork Larb from the delightful Village Pantry blog if you want to try the recipe both ways. I also give a link to the toasted rice recipe from She Simmers Thai Cooking site (or you can buy it at an Asian grocery store although it loses flavor fast). Add 1 T at same time as herbs if using.
I love making this recipe on my Evo Grill. Its flat top is just perfect for stir fries of all varieties. And with the dual heat control, I’m able to cook in the center then serve from the just warm outer edge. No pots and pans is another reason I love this dish!But you can easily make this indoors in a regular cast iron or non stick pan on medium heat.
Recipe for Thai Warm Salad in Napa Leaves (or Larb Gai with a Twist)