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Healthy Chicken Larb

By Catherine Noonan on September 24, 2013 in Food

Photo: Catherine Noonan

Photo: Catherine Noonan

Who doesn’t love Thai food? Thai cuisine, or at least Aussie Thai takeaway, is filled with lots of vegetables, fresh herbs and spices and is relatively healthy compared to other cuisines… or is it?

From what I can gather, Thai takeaway, restaurant dishes and published recipes all contain copious amounts of palm sugar, which from a health perspective is just not necessary. As such, I present to you my healthy, sugar-free chicken larb.

In addition to being sugar-free, this larb recipe omits red onion, so you can enjoy this dish without getting that horrendous taste in your mouth the next morning (no matter how many times you brush your teeth)!

This recipe is also great for nursing mothers as experts often advise that a mother’s consumption of onion isn’t great for breastfed newborns as it gives the little darlings gas!

This recipe also provides an excellent opportunity to use chicken thigh too (organic chicken is best). Please don’t think this dish is sub-standard because I’ve chosen to use an otherwise ‘secondary’ cut of meat. Although brown and ugly with fat trimmed edges, chicken thigh is cheaper to purchase, less likely to dry-out during cooking and more flavoursome chicken breast fillets. And because it has a fatty component, it is also perfect for making your own mince. Now, doesn’t that sound a little bit fancy?

• 2 tbsp brown rice
• 500g chicken thigh
• 4 kaffir lime leaves, finely chopped
• 1 stalk lemon grass, finely chopped
• 1 tbsp fish sauce
• 2 tbsp lime juice
• 2 cups mixed herbs, loosely packed (mint, coriander & basil)
• 1-2 fresh chilies

1. Add the brown rice to a frying pan and cook over high heat, stirring constantly for 2-3 minutes until it is lightly toasted.
2. Transfer the rice to a mortar and pestle and grind to a fine grainy-powder. Set aside.
3. In a food processor, whiz the chicken thighs, kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass for 10-20 seconds, until a mincemeat consistency is achieved.
4. Return the frying pan to high heat, add the fish sauce, lime juice, chicken, kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass and cook for several minutes until the mince is cooked through.
5. Once cooked, stir through the ground brown rice and mixed herbs.
6. Transfer to a serving dish, garnish with fresh chilli and serve immediately alongside stir-fried vegetables and steamed brown rice or quinoa.