You have leftover chicken, and you’re bored with just making sandwiches?  Here’s an amazing recipe full of fun, bold flavors that will bump up your leftovers.

We made a Shawarma Grilled Chicken and ended up with lots of extra chicken.  We could easily have roasted more Turkish bread and eaten the leftover chicken with some more of the Turkish Shepard’s salad and some of the yogurt mix – but we wanted to change it up a bit.  We saw a recent article about Laotian chicken salad, so we wanted to learn more about Laotian cuisine.  This fun, culinary culture-expanding recipe can be used with any leftover meat or tofu.


Laotian food has some similarities to Vietnamese cuisine, but there are some very important differences.  Both cuisines focus on fresh & local ingredients, and both use rice as a staple.  Dishes from both cuisines use fresh herbs, vegetables, and spices – with Vietnamese food, these ingredients are brought table-side to mix in, while Laotian food tends to have these ingredients mixed in before serving. Laotian food also uses primarily glutinous rice, as compared to Vietnamese food which uses jasmine rice.

You will also see more curries with Laotian dishes than Vietnamese food with a heavy influence from Thailand (they share a border, and the spicy components are mixed into Laotian dishes while Vietnamese food uses spicy condiments.  There is a heavy influence of European food culture with Vietnamese food, while Laotian food has very little.  And you will see very little seafood in the Laotian list of ingredients (except for fish sauce) since the country is land-locked.    is known its sour, sweet, and spicy flavors.

For more information on Laotian  food, check out the article by Cooking with Lane, Serious Eats, and Food’n Road.

For this dish, we strongly suggest to set up a mise en place – cooked chicken, cut up fresh vegetables and herbs, cooked vegetables, and sauce/dressing.  We also cooked the rice ahead of time, so all we needed to do was crisp up the rice and mix in all the ingredients.  So, if you have some leftover rice as well as the leftover chicken, then your prep time was just cut in half.  The list of ingredients might seem long, but the actual time to put this dish together is quick.

Laotian-Inspired Chicken and Crispy Rice Salad

Dr. Foodie
One of South East Asia’s hidden gems, Laotian Nam Khao is a celebration of crunchy rice and fragrant, aromatic ingredients. In this recipe, we are using pre-cooked chicken, but you can easily make this dish with any protein.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Asian
Servings 4 People


  • 1 cup glutenous rice You can also substitute Jasmine rice
  • 4 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 1-2 stems of cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 red chili pepper, diced (optional) Thai red chilies are preferred - but we used Fresno chilies because they were locally available
  • 1/4 cup canola oil any neutral oil will work
  • 1 bok choi Napa cabbage, red cabbage, broccoli, or any green vegetable would do
  • 1 medium carrot, cut into 1/4 inch strips
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves, finely chopped (optional) Don't worry if you don't have these - use grated lime zest as a substitute
  • 1 pound cooked chicken, chopped into bit size pieces Any protein would work. If you are starting with a raw protein, like ground meat or shrimp, cook the protein first before adding the garlic, ginger, shallot, and lime leaf or zest in step 5
  • 4 tbsp Serious Foodie Coconut Lime Sauce It is more traditional to use red Thai curry paste - and you can find the Thai Kitchen version in most groceries
  • 1/3 cup fresh mint, chopped
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/3 cup Thai basil, chopped Use standard basil as a substitute
  • 2 scallions, sliced on the bias
  • 1 cucumber, sliced
  • 1 red chili pepper, diced (optional) Thai red chilies are preferred - but we used Fresno chilies because they were locally available
  • 4-8 lettuce leaves
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges


  • Cook the rice until done. Remove from the heat and spread into a layer on a sheet pan to cool and dry a little. You can also easily used leftover rice.
  • Combine the ingredients for the dressing: 2 tablespoons fish sauce, sugar, lime juice, rice vinegar, garlic, cilantro and optional red chili pepper. Whisk together with 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil.
  • Prepare the crispy rice by adding the remaining vegetable oil to a 10 -12 inch skillet, and heat to medium high. When the oil is hot, add the rice CAREFULLY (the oil might splatter) in a single layer. When the rice begins to brown (about 2-3 minutes), carefully stir. When most of the rice is golden, remove the rice from the pan with a slotted spoon.
  • Add the bok choi and the carrot to the same pan. Stir fry for 2-3 minutes. Remove the vegetables from the pan with a slotted spoon.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of minced garlic, 1 tablespoon of minced ginger, chopped shallot, and kaffir lime leaf (or zest) to the same pan. Saute for 1 minute. Add the chopped chicken and the Serious Foodie Coconut Lime Sauce (or the Thai red curry paste). Cook for 2 minutes, then remove from pan. You should now have all of the ingredients to assemble the dish.
  • Mix the rice, vegetables, chicken, min, cilantro, basil, scallions, cucumber and optional Thai chili pepper together. Pour over a little dressing and mix well. Serve on a plate that includes a large lettuce leaf and a lime wedge.
Keyword Crispy rice, Laotian food, Southeast Asian chicken salad
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