Laab Gai Thai salad

Often shared before a meal, Thai salads are normally fiery, sour and fresh - in a word, lip-smacking!

Sometimes the coconut-based curries of Thai cuisine can be a little heavy for everyday dining. If you haven't tried them before, Thai salads are a delicious discovery. This is rather a toned down version, but feel free to add more chilli flakes if you're a real fire-eater. Ground rice is easy to make at home, truly authentic, and plays a roll in many Thai dishes. Instructions are given in the method. Thai parsley is a little like coriander, although slightly more subtle yet more robust. You should be able to find it in an Asian store, but if not substitute coriander.

Ingredients (Serves 2)

1 tbs ground rice
2 chicken breasts, skinless
Juice of 2 limes
10 pink Thai shallots or a red onion
1 tablespoon nam pla (fish sauce)
1 tablespoon palm or caster sugar
A big handful chopped mint
A big handful chopped Thai parsley
A large pinch chilli flakes

First, make the ground rice. Heat a frying pan over a very low heat and fry uncooked dry rice for 10-15 minutes until deep golden. Allow to cool and pound the rice to a fairly fine powder. You could do this in a spice grinder or with a pestle and mortar.

With a sharp knife small dice the chicken into pieces between 1/2 and one centimetre across. Quickly stir-fry the chicken for a couple of minutes over a high heat in a wok or frying pan. Mix the lime juice, nam pla and sugar together with the chilli flakes to make your dressing. Give it a taste - it might need more fish sauce or sugar.

Once the chicken is cooked, remove from heat, pour over dressing and mix herbs in. Pop the salad into a bowl, scatter over the ground rice and serve with prawn crackers to scoop.

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