In the village environment, free-range chicken laap is made from a whole bird butchered and cooked on the spot. All the parts of the chicken are used, with nothing wasted or discarded. First, the meat is minced. Gradually, the still-warm chicken blood is added until the meat is saturated and becomes gooey and moist.
The blood and the dark phrik laap seasoning dress up the white chicken meat for a beef-like appearance.
The rest of the chicken parts are cooked according to one preference. The cartilage and tendons, praised for their texture, are only roughly minced and may be crisp-fried or wet-roasted. Similarly, the chicken offal – the liver, gizzard, and heart – are sliced and then cooked or crisp-fried.
The skin is sliced into thin strips and is fried together with garlic, shallots, lemongrass, ginger and galangal, a component of the crispy elements of Northern-style laap dishes called khreuuang mee (เครื่องหมี่).
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- 200 g chicken breast (อกไก่)
- 1/3 cup chicken offal (เครื่องในไก่) sliced into thin pieces
- 1/3 cup chicken tendons (เอ็นไก่) (optional)
- 1/4 cup fresh pork blood (เลือดหมูสด)
- neutral tasting cooking oil (น้ำมันพืช) for frying the laap
For the crispy ingredients (เครื่องหมี่; khreuuang mee):
- 1/2 cup chicken skin (หนังไก่) slice into strips
- 1 tablespoon lemongrass (ตะไคร้) thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon galangal (ข่า) sliced into juliennes
- 1 tablespoon ginger (ขิง) sliced into juliennes
- 1/3 cup Thai garlic (กระเทียมไทย) pounded unpeeled
- 1/3 cup shallots (หอมแดง) thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup crispy pork rinds (แคบหมู) (optional)
- 1/4 cup pork fat cracklings (กากหมู) (optional)
- dried Thai bird’s eye chili (phrik kee noo) (พริกขี้หนููแห้ง) (optional)
- neutral tasting cooking oil (น้ำมันพืช) for deep-frying
- 1 tablespoon Northern laap seasoning mix (naam phrik laap) (น้ำพริกลาบ)
- 1 teaspoon Northern laap spices mix (ชุดเครื่องเทศสำหรับลาบเหนือ)
- 1/2 teaspoon makwen (มะแขว่น) (Zanthozylum limonella Alston)
- fish sauce (น้ำปลา) or
- makwen-infused fish sauce (มะแขว่นดองน้ำปลา) as needed
Prepare the chicken meat:
- If you use a whole chicken, separate the offal, meat, skin, tendons, and cartilage.
- On a cutting board and using a knife, mince the chicken meat to a smooth consistency. Do not use a meat grinder or an electric food processor.
- Gradually add fresh pork blood and continue mincing. Repeat until the minced chicken meat becomes deep red in color and gooey. Set aside.
Prepare the chicken offal:
- Slice the chicken offal – the liver, gizzard, and heart – into thin slices.
- Boil or fry until cooked. If you are frying them, you can either fry until just cooked or until they are crisp.
Prepare the chicken tendons and cartilage (optional):
- On a cutting board and using a knife, mince the chicken cartilage to a rough consistency. Set aside.
- Fry the minced tendons and cartilage until they become golden and crispy. Strain and set aside.
Prepare the crispy ingredients (เครื่องหมี่; khreuuang mee)
- Slice the chicken skin into thin elongated strips.
- Bruise and then thinly slice the lemongrass.
- Thinly slice the shallots lengthwise along the growth axis.
- Slice the ginger and galangal into thin juliennes.
- In a mortar and pestle, pound unpeeled Thai garlic. Use just enough force to mash the garlic cloves, leaving the peels intact. Do not try to make a smooth paste. The peels will crisp fry and add a desired textural element.
- Mix the skin, lemongrass, shallots, garlic, galangal, and ginger.
- To a cold wok, add all the ingredients. Cover with cold oil and turn the heat to medium-low.
- Stir constantly in one direction only until the ingredients are very light golden in color. They will develop a deeper color as they cool.
- Strain and set aside.
Prepare the herbs:
- Thinly slice the spring onion. Set aside.
- Roughly chop the coriander leaves. Set aside.
- Roughly chop the sawtooth coriander.
- Roughly chop the Vietnamese coriander.
- Pick small young mint leaves and use them whole. Larger leaves can be hand-torn. Set aside.
Combine the laap:
- Add some of the oil from frying the aromatics to a cold wok; turn the heat to medium-low. Add bruised Thai garlic and fry until fragrant, then add the phrik laap and fry until fragrant.
- Add the minced chicken meat and roast-fry until is cooked. Good heat control is essential; as you fry-roast, use water to deglaze and prevent the chicken from sticking to the wok. Continue to roast until the chicken is fully cooked and has absorbed a good amount of smoke.
- Taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking. Adjust the spiciness with ground dried chilies.
- Adjust saltiness with either fish sauce or makwen-infused fish sauce.
- Adjust the spice aroma with the laap spices mix.
- Adjust numbness with makwen.
- Turn off the heat and add the chicken offal.
- Add the tendons and cartilage, and the deep-fried crispy ingredients. Keep some of each for garnish.
- Add the herbs and mix well. Keep some for garnish.