Do you love larb and can't get enough of it? Try this easy Thai larb salad with Turkey. Use your leftover Thanksgiving turkey meat for this recipe, and you will surely be on your way to the greatest turkey larb you'll ever have!
This flavorful Thai salad is one of my favorite dishes. Especially when it's made with Isaan or Lao style, with Pla Ra, a fermented fish sauce, it makes it potent and gives a unique flavor of authentic Thai food.
What is Larb?
Larb is a type of meat salad using ground meat and fresh herbs cooked together, then seasoned with fish sauce and fresh lime juice and served with raw vegetables and a side of sticky rice to accompany it.
Larb recipe originated from Northeastern Thailand or the Isaan region. The dish goes back to Laos, where it's the unofficial national dish of Laos, made popular through Thai cuisine.
The Thai version tends to be milder than the Laotian larb. Like many Laos and Isaan salads, it's usually full of bold and explosive flavors from the use of fresh chilies, lime juice, and fish sauce seasoned to create the most delicious flavors in a cold salad.
In Thai restaurants, you'll most likely see these on the menu for Larb. Larb Moo (Moo is pork), Laap Gai (chiken), Thai larb Gai or Lahb Gai, (Gai is chicken). It's a popular dish, especially if you love fresh and delicious Thai flavors.
Why This Recipe Works
- This turkey salad can be served as a lettuce wrap! Just scoop up the salad into lettuce cups, and you are set!
- It can be served as an appetizer or as a main course. It's quite versatile.
- It's Low carb recipe. Add some crunchy vegetables on the side for a healthier salad.
- This Thai larb recipe is easy and comes together very quickly. 20 minutes max!
- You can use any of your favorite proteins. Best with ground pork (my opinion), then ground beef, chicken, and turkey. Lean ground turkey may need extra oil as it tends to dry out easier.
What Goes Into Easy Thai larb salad with Turkey
Turkey meat. Different parts of your leftover turkey meat are perfect for this recipe. Use a combination of skin, fat, dark, and white turkey meat for more authentic street food flavors. Mince the turkey meat into small pieces
Shallot. Red onions are great as a substitute.
Fresh mint. One of the main herbs that make this salad fresh.
Cilantro. Use stems and leafy parts for extra taste and texture.
Green onions. Chives will not work well as substitutes. They will alter the flavor completely.
Fresh lime juice. Fresh lemon juice will work but may need extra as lime juice is more sharp and tangy.
Fish sauce. Add a small amount at first and increase the amount as needed. Soy sauce will not work as a substitute.
Sugar. Add just a light touch, if any, to round out the salty and tangy
Peppers. Jalapenos or sweet bell peppers for the added crunchiness and sweetness.
Fresh Thai chiles. I minced them into small pieces. Remove the seeds for less spice.
Toasted sticky rice powder. Toasted rice powder Khao Khua is essential in making this recipe authentic and extra flavorful. Don't skip this! (:
For extra flavors, add these to taste
Ground white pepper. Use lightly for that extra unique and tasty flavor. The spiciness can sneak up on you with this one. Go light.
Chilli powder. For firey heat, at your discretion! (;
Finely minced lemongrass. Chop these into tiny slices. This fibrous herb can be unpleasant to chew into if they are too big.
How To Make This Recipe
Step 1. Toast uncooked rice in a dry skillet or dry wok on medium heat until brown, not burnt. Cool to room temperature and use a spice grinder to the ground to a coarse powder. A clean coffee grinder works too. Clean it well before grinding the toasted rice. Sticky or sweet rice is the traditional rice for laab, but any rice will do if you don't have any others.
Step 2. Mince the turkey meat into small pieces and get ready to cook. If not using the fatty part of the turkey, use 1.5 tablespoons of oil for cooking the turkey.
Step 3. In a large skillet on medium-high heat, cook the minced turkey meat until some of the fat renders natural oil, and stir for 3 minutes until the turkey is lightly golden brown.
Step 4. Add the shallot to a medium bowl, then add the cooked turkey. The residual heat of the cooked turkey will lightly blanch the raw shallot, making it less oniony. (:
Step 5. Add all the herbs and mix the ingredients in a bowl. Season with fish sauce, lime juice, and sugar, and mix until your taste buds are happy!
Step 6. Add the toasted rice powder last and serve immediately. Garnish with lettuce leaves, romaine lettuce, or cabbage (for use as wraps), sliced cucumbers, lime wedges, and dry ground chili flakes.
Check out my web stories for a quick overview of how to make Thai Larb salad with leftover turkey meat.
Helpful Kitchen Notes and Expert Tips
- For the best flavors, use different parts of the turkey meat, some skin, some fat, and a mix of dark and white meat. If using only white meat, add an extra tablespoon of oil when cooking so the meat is not too dry.
- Rotisserie chicken works great for this recipe if you are not using turkey meat. Minced chicken the same way into small pieces.
- If you have extra rice powder, save the leftovers in a glass jar and put them in the freezer for up to 6 months to keep them fresh for other Thai recipes.
What is Larb usually made of?
In Thailand and Laos, larb is typically made with pork as it is sweeter meat. The fat also adds extra flavor when cooked.
More Thai recipes You’ll Love!
- Yakisoba noodles stir fry with leftover turkey
- Thai basil chicken Pad Krapao
- Lao green papaya salad recipe
- Thai sweet chili dipping sauce
- Toasted rice powder Khao Khua
- 5-minute authentic satay sauce
- Authentic chicken salad. Or Laab Gai with ground chicken
- How to make Thai sticky rice. Thai glutenous rice is popular in the regions of Northeastern and Northern Thailand.
- How to make purple sticky rice
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