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Thai Minced Chicken Salad

Known as Larb Gai in Thailand, the complex flavors and textures in this hot chicken salad are amazing, with just the right amount of heat provided by the red chili, wonderfully balanced by crunchy cucumber and bean sprouts. Chopping the chicken by hand is a little time consuming, but it does create a softer and juicier texture than blitzing it in the food processor. If you happen to have a mezzaluna lying about, this is the ideal time to use it!

Thai Minced Chicken Salad

2 lemongrass stalks
4 lime leaves (use the zest of 1 lime if you can’t find these)
2 red chilis, deseeded
3 cloves garlic
4 skinless chicken breasts
1 tbs. vegetable oil
1 tbs. sesame oil
1 tsp. chili powder
2 fl. oz. fish sauce
1 small red onion, chopped
3 tbs. lime juice
handful of mint, basil, and cilantro, roughly chopped
Baby Gem lettuce (or butter lettuce)
1 cucumber, seeds removed and cut into thin strips length wise
8 oz. bean sprouts
lime wedges, to serve

Roughly chop the lemongrass, lime leaves, chilis, garlic, and ginger, then throw them all into the food processor and chop fine. Mince the chicken breasts into tiny pieces.

Heat the oils in a wok or large frying pan over high heat. Toss in the lemongrass mixture and cook briefly before adding the chicken and chili powder. Stir-fry for 4 minutes, then splash in the fish sauce. Turn down the heat and allow the chicken and fish sauce to bubble for 4 more minutes, stirring often. Add the onion and cook another minute.

Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the lime juice and the herbs. Serve in lettuce cups with cucumber, bean sprouts, and lime wedges.

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