This is an great little dish with plenty of interesting flavors to get your taste buds jumping. It’s my version of the Thai specialty, sometimes also called laab gai. “Gai” means chicken, but this is also good with pork. It’s best served barely warm, either on a bed of lettuce, or rolled up in a flour tortilla with shredded lettuce and avocado. The last ingredient, fish sauce, is called nam pla in Thailand, nước mắm in Vietnam. It’s a fantastic salty flavoring made from fermented fish, and you should be able to find it in an Asian-themed grocery store or even an enlightened gourmet grocery.
1/4 cup white rice
2 tablespoons peanut oil
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1/2 cup minced shallots (about 1/4 pound)
1/2 jalapeño pepper, seeded, pithed, & minced
1-1/2 pounds ground chicken breast
1/2 cup minced green onions
1 medium bunch fresh cilantro, chopped (about 1 cup, firmly packed)
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup fish sauce
Toast rice grains in dry skillet over low heat, shaking pan often, until golden brown and fragrant. Grind to course powder in mortar & pestle or coffee grinder. Set aside.
In 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat peanut oil & sesame oil over high heat until almost smoking. Add shallots, jalapeño, & chicken and sauté, stirring often, until pan is almost dry, about 5 minutes; remove from heat. Stir rice powder into skillet with chicken and allow mixture to cool slightly. Combine green onions, cilantro, lime juice, & fish sauce in large bowl, then stir in chicken. Let sit for about 15 minutes; taste for salt and serve.