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Larb Lettuce Cups

  • Serves: 6
  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 15 min
  • Total Time: 25 min
Larb Lettuce Cups with ground chicken a spoon with sauce

Shallots and mint, fish sauce and chili paste, lime zest and soy sauce—our easy, healthy chicken larb lettuce wrap recipe hums with the bold, juicy, bright flavors of Thailand.

The Flavors We Crave.

The bright and exotic flavors of easy chicken larb recipe are such a welcome change from the usual dinner recipe rotation. Fresh lime juice and zest, mint, chilies and fish sauce give regular old ground chicken a zingy jolt of Southeast Asian flavor. For added crunch (and to work in some extra greens) we love to combine our classic Thai larb salad recipe with another of favorite Asian dishes—lettuce wraps. The addition of a tangy sauce and some crisp leaves of Butter lettuce made us fall in love with larb even more. Scoop some of the chicken larb into a lettuce leaf, roll it into a lettuce wrap and crunch away! Yeah, the lime juice will run out the sides and things will get a little messy—but isn’t that how it goes with all of your most memorable dinners? Plus, it’s an easy one for the kids to love—they can roll their own larb lettuce wraps and dress them however they’d like. With a dinner this good, no one minds having to lick their fingers.

ingredients for Larb Lettuce Cups butter lettuce, ground chicken, shallots, dried rice, chili powder, mint, cilantro

What Is Larb?

True, classic Thai larb gai is very simply a meat salad. Yep, you read that right! A “meat salad”. Specifically a minced meat salad (aka made with ground meat)—usually ground chicken (as in the case of our chicken larb recipe) or sometimes pork. Larb can mean different things to different people but it’s always a heavily spiced dish of a minced up protein—it can even be made from fish—that’s not an appetizer and not really a main dish, either. It’s larb! It just is what it is. Served in lettuce wraps, as we do, makes it feel more like a main, but you may want to serve it alongside additional side dishes as well—think sticky white rice or noodles.

dried rice toasted in a sauté pan
dry toasted rice ground in a food processor

Homemade Thai Chicken Larb—Big Flavors, Simple Ingredients.

For these chicken larb lettuce wraps, we wanted big, classic larb gai flavors but also wanted a recipe that was easy for any home cook to make. In other words, we wanted to create a recipe that didn’t require any specialty grocery store visits. Here’s all you’ll need to make this chicken larb recipe:

  • Ground chicken
  • Canola oil
  • Shallots
  • Brown sugar
  • Limes
  • Salt
  • Cilantro
  • Fresh mint
  • Sambal oelek chili paste
  • Fish sauce
  • Butter lettuce
  • Soy sauce (or gluten-free tamari)
  • Green onions
  • Short grain white rice—optional! Traditionally, larb recipes include toasted white rice powder, which is a super specific ingredient that adds a little extra crunch factor to the finished dish. We’ve included a DIY method for making it, but you can look for it pre-made at Asian grocery stores, or (even easier) you can also just leave it out entirely and still enjoy the dish.
ground chicken cooked in a sauté pan
ground chicken, taosted rice powder, chili paste, shallots and lime zest in a pan
Larb Lettuce Cup filling in a pan
Larb Lettuce Cup filling with mint and cilantro

How To Make Larb Lettuce Wraps

Have you got 15 minutes? Because that’s just about all you need to make larb lettuce cups! A few quick and easy steps, and dinner is served!

  1. Sauté the ground chicken until it’s cooked through.
  2. Sauté the shallots and brown sugar until tender and then add the cooked chicken.
  3. Now for the big flavors! Add powdered toasted rice powder (if using), lime juice, zest, salt, chili paste and fish sauce. Sauté for a few more minutes to marry the flavors.
  4. Mix up the larb sauce.
  5. Serve! Fill butter lettuce leaves with the chicken larb mixture and drizzle with larb sauce.
Larb Lettuce Cup filling in a pan ground chicken herbs with a spoon
Larb Lettuce Cups on a plate with butter lettuce and sauce

Tools You’ll Need:

More Thai Recipes to Try At Home

Once we got familiar with some of the key flavors of Thai cuisine—like fish sauce and chili paste—we couldn’t believe how easy it was to make our favorite Thai dishes at home. Here are a few of our easiest Thai recipes:

Thai Larb Lettuce Cups with sauce on a spoon

Toss the Take Out!

Love this larb recipe? Let us know! Snap a photo of your larb lettuce cups and maybe even a video of the beautiful people you feed them to. Tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper. Happy eating!

Larb Lettuce Cups

  • Serves: 6
  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 15 min
  • Total Time: 25 min

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Dry rice, toasted and ground (optional)
  • 2 lbs Ground chicken
  • 1 tsp Canola oil
  • 1/2 cup Shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp Brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup Lime juice
  • 1 tsp Lime zest
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 cup Cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup Mint, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp Chili paste
  • 2 tsp Fish sauce
  • 2 Heads boston/butter lettuce

Sauce

  • 1 tbsp Soy sauce
  • 2 tsp Lime juice
  • 1 tsp Chili paste
  • 1/2 tsp Brown sugar
  • 2 tsp Fish sauce
  • Green onions, thinly sliced

Method

  1. In a small skillet toast the raw sushi rice (dry, no oil) until brown and fragrant. In a small food processor, or using a mortar and pestle, grind the toasted rice into a fine powder, set aside.
  2. In a large skillet or braiser, sauté chicken until cooked through, drain over a colander, set aside.
  3. Using the same large skillet, cook the shallots in the oil and brown sugar until tender, about 3-5 minutes. Add the chicken back into the pan. Add powdered toasted rice powder, lime juice, zest, salt, chili paste and fish sauce. Sauté for 3-5 minutes until all ingredients are fully incorporated and there is little to no crunch left from the rice powder.
  4. In a small bowl, mix all ingredients for the sauce.
  5. Remove lettuce leaves from the stalk. Fill each lettuce leaf with the larb mixture. Serve drizzle with sauce and extra green onions if desired.