A traditional spicy Thai salad with fried chicken makes a fresh and tasty weekend lunch. Using toasted glutinous rice to coat the chicken gives the dish that authentic nutty flavour and crunchy texture that makes a laab so delicious.
2 tbsp raw glutinous rice*
500g (1 lb) chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 cup plain flour
vegetable oil for deep frying
5 small Asian shallots, sliced
½ cup mint leaves
3 tbsp finely sliced sawtooth coriander (optional)
2 spring onion (scallions), finely sliced
3 tbsp fish sauce
2 tsp grated palm sugar or brown sugar
2 tsp chilli flakes (or to taste)
2 tbsp lime juice
Toast the rice in a dry frying pan over high heat until golden brown. Remove from heat and use a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder to grind rice to a fine powder. Set aside.
Combine ingredients for the dressing and set aside.
Fill a saucepan or wok to about 1/3 capacity with the vegetable oil. Heat over high heat. Once the oil is hot (325°F or 165°C or when a wooden spoon dipped into the oil forms small little bubbles), shake off the excess flour from the chicken and carefully slide the pieces into the oil. Cook for 3- 4 minutes or until golden and cooked through. Drain on paper towel.
Place the warm chicken, shallots and rice powder in a large bowl and mix. Then add the dressing and mix. Add the mint, coriander and spring onion and toss until well combined. Serve warm.
– Using glutinous or sticky rice will give you a softer rice powder that creates a thick and soft coating for the finished salad. If glutinous rice is unavailable you can still use regular long grain or jasmine rice to add a similar toasty flavour with a slightly crunchier texture.
– Sawtooth coriander is a type of Thai fresh herb. If unavailable, you can use regular coriander or simply leave it out.