The theme for this week’s Sunday Supper is tropical food, and for me, I could think of no better excuse to share a recipe based on one I learned in Laos, where I went as part of my honeymoon. I suspect it’s not particularly normal to take a cooking lesson on your honeymoon, especially on your own while your new husband relaxes at the hotel, but given how delicious we’d found the food, it seemed silly to let the opportunity to learn more go by. And my husband was happy enough to enjoy the results of my cooking that I brought back at lunchtime when we finished, including the classic Laos chicken salad, larp.
What is larp/ Laos chicken salad?
Laos cuisine is influenced by it’s history, as is true of most countries. Much of it is similar to Northern Thai food (which used to be part of Laos so arguably it is really Laos food) but they also do some great bread and other baked goods, influenced by former French occupancy. Sticky rice is a staple alongside curries, some spicy sauces and lots of fresh flavors. For anyone who has tried food from Laos, larp (or larb as it can be spelled) is generally considered the national dish. It’s a great introduction to the food as it showcases the fresh flavors, it’s relatively light but with that bit of spice. It’s generally translated as Laos chicken salad but it’s unlike any chicken salad you are likely to have had before or since.
How it’s made
I have adapted the recipe I was shown at my cooking class (at Tamnak Lao in Luang Prabang) to make it a little simpler but retaining the flavors and style. I know it can be a pain to mince the chicken breast, but I really would recommend it as it keeps it nice and lean. Bought ground chicken/mince is really too fatty for this. If you can get fresh lemongrass, it is more authentic but it can be a little tricky to cut it small enough. Having also made it with pureed lemongrass, that works pretty well too. Otherwise, it’s pretty easy as you just cook up the chicken, chop things up and mix it all together. One thing I would say – don’t worry if the chicken looks like it gets wetter before it dries out, it’s just moisture coming out of the chicken. It does get there!
Larp is such a tasty dish, full of fresh flavors from lime, lemongrass and cilantro but with a kick of spice. It’s great on a warm day, and works well for a picnic as it doesn’t wilt. Plus, it’s pretty healthy too. It goes really well with green papaya or mango salad to make more of a meal or as an appetizer. On our honeymoon, we got it a couple times with spring rolls and some beers for a delicious lunch. I know I am looking forward to making it a few times in the coming months as the weather warms up. But really, any excuse for this tasty Laos chicken salad is a good one.
Unlike any American chicken salad, larp is full of fresh, Asian flavors.
- 1 lb chicken breast 450g
- 1 1/2 limes
- 1/4 cup chicken stock 60ml
- 2 shallots or 1/2 red onion
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 handful arugula rocket, large
- 3/4 oz cilantro/coriander 20g, 1 small box
- 3 tbsp lemongrass either 3tbsp puree of 2-3 stems fresh
- 1/2 tsp chili powder or more, to taste
- 1 tsp fish sauce
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp rice flour
Trim the chicken of any fat then mince it - easiest shopping in to slices, dicing then chopping further.
Put the chicken, the juice of 1/2 lime and the stock in a hot wok or skillet/frying pan and cook until all of the liquid is absorbed, stirring regularly.
Meanwhile, dice the shallot/onion small, finely dice the the garlic, chop up the arugula/rocket, cilantro/coriander (can just chop off the stems below the lower leaves and chop the rest) and dice the white part of the lemongrass finely if using fresh.
Mix the cooked chicken with the shallot/onion, garlic, arugula, cilantro, lemongrass, chili powder, fish sauce, salt and the juice and zest of a lime. Stir in the rice flour and serve.
See what else other’s have brought to today’s Sunday Supper, inspired by the tropics:
Tidbits and Pupus
- Chicken and Lemongrass Sugarcane Skewers by Jane’s Adventures in Dinner
- Coconut crusted Tofu with Spicy Mango Cucumber Topping by Soni’s Food
- Larp (Laos chicken salad) by Caroline’s Cooking
- Midwest Style Loco Moco by Our Good Life
- Tropical Sunrise Fruit Salad with Coconut Chia Cream by Cupcakes & Kale Chips
- Caribbean Black Beans with Rice by A Day in the Life on the Farm
Condiments and Sauces
- Cilantro Margarita by An Appealing Plan
- Coconut Mojito by Flour On My Face
- Pineapple Upside Down Cake Cocktail by Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
- Strawberry Lava Flow by Nosh My Way
- Bali Spicy Grilled Fish – Ikan Bakar Jimbaran by Food Lust People Love
- Crockpot Hawaiian Pulled Pork by Fantastical Sharing of Recipes
- Grilled Jerk Shrimp Roll with Tropical Fruit Slaw by Food Done Light
- Grilled Swordfish with Pineapple Salsa by Cooking Chat
- Kalua Pig by Palatable Pastime
- Mango Barbecued Pork Chops by A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
- Mango Lime Fajitas by Curious Cuisiniere
- Pineapple Pork by Basic N Delicious
- Pineapple, Prosciutto and Arugula Pizza by Family Foodie
- Catibias o Cativias (Dominican Yucca Empanadas) by The Petit Gourmet
- Shrimp Salad with Avocado Ranch Dressing by Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
- Slow Cooker Kalua Pork Tacos by Bobbi’s Kozy Kitchen
- Tropical Chicken Burgers by Momma’s Meals
- Whole Roasted Bream with a Ginger-Tamarind Sauce by Culinary Adventures with Camilla
- Seven Layer Bars by That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Tropical Sunshine Cake by Lifestyle Food Artistry
- Double Ginger Cookies by Pies and Plots
- Majarete Ice Cream by Sew You Think You Can Cook
- Mini Mango Cheesecakes by The Freshman Cook
- Pineapple Blueberry Ooey Gooey Cake by Recipes Food and Cooking
- Pumpkin-Coconut Biscotti by What Smells So Good?
- Tropical Fruit Salad by The Redhead Baker
- Tropical Layered Poke Cake by Daily Dish Recipes
- Ube Panna Cotta by The Joyful Foodie
- Whole Wheat Mango Coconut Bars by Peanut Butter and Peppers
Tropical Foods and Drinks Sunday Supper
- The Best Wines to Pair with Tropical Food #SundaySupper by ENOFYLZ Wine Blog
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