Chicken and Green Bean Salad (Lawar)

Serves     8-10


This dish was the selected Proven Platter recipe for October 2014. Get more information on its origins and preparation in Linda McElroy’s post.

3 cups blanched Chinese long beans or regular green beans (about 1 1/2 lbs)
2 large fresh red chilies, (Holland or Korean) cut in fine strips
4-6 bird’s eye chilies (can substitute serrano chilies, to taste), finely sliced
4 tablespoons spice paste
1/2 pound boneless chicken breast, minced
Juice of 1 lime
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns, crushed

1/2 cup toasted coconut chips
6 cloves garlic – peeled, sliced & fried
6-8 shallots – peeled, sliced & fried
lime wedges


To blanch the beans, drop them into rapidly boiling water; as soon as the water comes back to a simmer drain and shock them in an ice-water bath to stop the cooking immediately. Drain well and dry on a tea towel, then cut into small dice. Combine beans, chilies, 2 tablespoons of the spice paste and a healthy sprinkle of salt in a large bowl and mix well.

Next, combine the chicken mince with 2 tablespoon of the spice paste and stir-fry in a bit of oil until cooked through. Salt to taste and let cool.

Combine chicken with the bean mixture, season to taste with salt, pepper and lime juice. Stir in half the coconut, garlic and shallots. Mound in a serving bowl, and garnish with the remaining coconut, garlic and shallots. Serve with limes for squeezing on top.

To fry shallots: Slice as thinly as possible. I have a very inexpensive plastic mandolin that did the trick very well.

Pour about ½ cup oil into a medium sized sauté pan and add shallots when oil is hot. As the shallots begin to brown keep stirring and turning heat down so they don’t burn. This process takes about 10 minutes. Once they are just a bit darker than medium-brown remove from the oil to a paper towel and drain. They will continue to darken and crisp as they cool. Can be made one day ahead and stored in a glass jar.

To fry garlic: Same procedure as shallots, but it will take less time. Just fry until the garlic takes on some golden color; you don’t want your garlic to be brown as it will be bitter. Can be made one day ahead of time and stored in a glass jar.

To toast coconut: Heat up a heavy bottom sauté pan and add the coconut. Over medium-high heat, stir the coconut until tinged with brown edges. You may have to turn down your heat as it becomes toasted so it doesn’t burn. Can be made one day ahead of time and stored in a glass jar.


Notes and Instructions

Spice Paste for Chicken


7 shallots, peeled and chopped
12 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
1/2″ kencur (can substitute ginger), peeled & chopped
1” galangal (or laos), peeled and chopped
5 candlenuts (can substitute 10 macadamia nuts)
fresh turmeric, peeled and chopped (or 2 teaspoons powder)
2 tablespoons chopped palm sugar, or brown sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 stalk lemongrass, outer leaves removed, lightly pounded, tied in a knot
1 salam leaf
5 bird’s eye chilies (or serrano chilies to taste), finely sliced

Notes on ingredients:

Kencur: Sometimes erroneously known as lesser galangal. Substitute ginger if you can not find this.

Galangal or laos: Member of the ginger family, has a very tough root that must be peeled before use. Substitute ginger if you can not find this.

Candlenuts: Used to add body and thickness and not to be eaten raw, in fact if you eat any they can be mildly toxic. Once they are ground up and cooked they are harmless. Substitute twice as many macadamia nuts.

Turmeric: will stain your fingers yellow if you handle it and chop it, you may want to wear gloves.

Salam leaves: Subtly flavored leaf from the cassis (cinnamon) family. If you cannot find obtain omit altogether.


Put shallots, garlic, kencur, galangal, candlenuts, turmeric and palm sugar into a food processor and grind coarsely. Heat oil and add the paste, as well as the lemongrass stalk, salam leaf and chilies. Fry all ingredients until mixture becomes fragrant, and no longer smells harsh and raw, stirring frequently, until the paste changes to a golden color. Remove lemongrass and salam, cool before using. Can be made one week ahead of time.