Thip Khao chef/owner Seng Luangrath’s traditional Laotian salad, which can be made with chicken, pork, or tofu, is packed with flavor. Sugar and fish sauce lend a slight sweetness, kaffir lime and lemongrass add plenty of aromatic appeal, and lime juice imparts a bright, tangy edge. And then there are the chilies, which can be adjusted to your taste. It can be served with lettuce, cucumber, and cabbage, and, if you go for the bird’s eye chilies, sticky rice helps temper the heat.
1 cup finely chopped chicken, pork, or tofu (if using tofu, you’ll want to fry it before chopping— see instructions below)
3 teaspoons fish sauce
2 teaspoons lime juice
½ teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon toasted rice powder
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh lemongrass
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh kaffir lime leaves
2 chopped red bird’s eye chilies (optional)
1 teaspoon dried chili flakes
⅓ cup chopped scallion
⅓ cup chopped cilantro
⅓ cup shallot or red onion
⅓ cup mint leaves
Cucumber, lettuce leaves, or cabbage, for garnish
Set a pot over high heat and boil a few cups of water. Add the chopped chicken or pork and stir for several minutes until it is cooked. Strain the chicken and run it under cold water. Set aside and let cool to room temperature. If using tofu, cut the squares into 4 pieces, fry them in 350 degree oil, and then chop them into a smaller dice.
Place the cooked chicken in a small mixing bowl. Stir in the fish sauce and lime juice and mix well. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until well-combined. Serve with fresh cucumber, lettuce, or cabbage.