Authentic larb gai recipe by Beau Thai Chef Aschara Vigsittaboot

As Valentine’s Day approaches, WTOP asked local chefs to share their favorite quick and easy recipes that readers can learn and cook from for their friends and significant others.

Beau Thai Executive Chef and Founder Aschara Vigsittaboot demonstrated larb gai.

Larb gai — which is sometimes spelled laab, lob or lop — is an herby, savory dish popular in Laos and Thailand, made of ground chicken, herbs and onions, and served with fresh vegetables. Vigsittaboot told WTOP that this dish is a perfect mix of salty, sweet, sour and spicy.

Vigsittaboot’s restaurant, Beau Thai, has two locations in Washington, D.C., in the Mount Pleasant and Shaw neighborhoods. Her restaurant serves authentic Thai cuisine with dishes that include steamed dumplings, chicken satay, pineapple fried rice, pad thai, stir-fries, several curries and, of course, larb gai.

To see a demonstration of the following recipe, check out the above video, filmed at Beau Thai’s Shaw location.

Larb Gai

By Beau Thai Executive Chef and Founder Aschara Vigsittaboot
Ingredients for the larb sauce
  • 1 part fish sauce (we prefer Red Boat brand)
  • 2 parts fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 1 part sugar
Instructions for the larb sauce
  • Whisk all ingredients together
  • Store in refrigerator until ready to use.  This sauce can keep for 2 weeks in refrigerator
Ingredients for the larb 
  • 2 tablespoons Larb sauce (or to taste; see above)
  • 1/4 pound ground chicken (your preference, but we use a mix of dark and white meat)
  • 2 large shallots, peeled and finely sliced lengthwise
  • 1 tablespoon toasted rice powder (can be store bought)
  • 2 tablespoons ground dried red chili pepper (or to taste)
  • 1/2 cup whole cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 cup green onions
  • Optional garnishes: fresh savoy cabbage, green beans, cucumber, all of which help cut the heat of spicy dishes generally
Instructions for the larb 
  1. In a skillet over medium heat, sauté chicken until cooked through and white in color (do not brown the meat).  There should be some juice in the pan. If it gets too dry, add some water (1/2 cup if necessary).
  2. Remove the pan from the stovetop.
  3. Add 2 tablespoons of the larb sauce.
  4. Add shallots and green onion.
  5. Add toasted rice powder.
  6. Toss and taste; add more sauce if desired.
  7. Add dried chili powder to the mix to taste, depending on how spicy you like it.
  8. Once flavor is right, toss in the cilantro.
  9. Garnish and serve.
Michelle Goldchain

Michelle Goldchain’s reporting has focused primarily on the D.C. area, previously working as Editor of Curbed DC for Vox Media and Audience Growth & Engagement Editor for Washington City Paper. She is the author of “D.C. by Metro: A History & Guide.” She also reports for 'Artsplained' on YouTube.

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