Recipes | Spicy chicken salad


Spicy chicken salad

We normally think of lunchboxes in terms of kids' packed lunches but James Ramsden has come up with this a brilliant book of imaginative dishes you can take to work. Called - appropriately enough - Love your Lunchbox.

Spicy chicken salad

Serves 2

This is based on a south-east Asian salad, larb gai, which is, like much of the food in them parts, pretty fiery. This is a pared-back version, though you could always ramp up the chilli quotient. Should keep your colleagues off your lunch, if nothing else.

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 7 minutes

Freezable? Yes

2–3 skinless, boneless chicken thighs

1 shallot, peeled and chopped

stalks from a bunch of coriander (cilantro), finely chopped

½ stalk of lemongrass, finely chopped

zest of ½ lime

1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped

1 tbsp Thai fish sauce

1 tbsp groundnut (peanut) or vegetable oil, plus extra for cooking

4 large-ish Little Gem lettuce leaves (outer leaves, as opposed to inner)

coriander (cilantro) leaves

For the dressing

juice of ½ lime

1 tbsp Thai fish sauce

1 tsp soft brown sugar

bottom half of a Thai chilli, finely chopped


Put the chicken, shallot, coriander stalks, lemongrass, lime zest, chilli, fish sauce and 1 tbsp oil in a blender and pulse until the chicken is well minced. Alternatively, finely and thoroughly chop with a knife.

Heat a splash of oil in a sauté pan or saucepan over a medium–high heat and add the chicken mixture. Cook, stirring regularly, for about 7 minutes, until cooked through and crisp in places. Set aside to cool, then store in the fridge for up to 2 days.

Mix the dressing ingredients together and store in a jar.


A portion of chicken (in a microwaveable vessel); lettuce leaves, coriander; dressing.


Reheat the chicken in a microwave on medium for 3–4 minutes. Serve on lettuce leaves with a few coriander leaves and a spoonful of dressing.

What to drink:

Assuming you're taking this to work I'm taking it for granted you're not going to be drinking alcohol but any sharp, citrussy soft drink would be a good match. Even sparkling water with a slice of lemon or lime. If you're making it at home it would go down very well with a glass of Aussie riesling.

Recipe extracted from Love your Lunchbox: 101 Do-ahead recipes to liven up lunchtime by James Ramsden, published by Pavilion. Photograph © Martin Poole

If you found this post helpful and would like to support the website which is free to use please subscribe to my crowdfunder newsletter Eat This Drink That at

You may also enjoy …

Comments: 0 (Add)

Recent posts …

Never miss a post!

About FionaAbout FionaEvents and appearancesEvents and appearancesWork with meWork with me