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Vegan Larb Gai (Thai Tofu Lettuce Wraps)

Enjoy the spicy-citric aromatics and well-rounded flavours of this plant-based inspired Larb Gai recipe. Also known as Laab Gai or Laap Gai, this spicy salad has its origins in Laotian cuisine and is also a popular dish in northern Thailand.


Serves: 4-8



Vegan Larb Gai (Laab Gai) Thai Tofu Lettuce Wraps

INGREDIENTS

LARB GAI

  • 1 packet of firm tofu, pressed and minced

  • 1 cup fresh coriander

  • 1 cup fresh mint

  • 1/2 cup fresh Thai basil*

  • 1 French shallot, thinly sliced

  • 1.5 tablespoons (Tbs) ginger, minced

  • 5 cloves garlic, minced

  • 3 green (spring) onions, finely chopped

  • 1 lemongrass stick, finely sliced

  • 3 Kaffir lime leaves

  • 1-2 Tbs oil (such as peanut, sesame or a high smoke-point oil)

  • 3-4 Tbs sticky rice powder (see details below), or sub for 1 Tbs cornstarch


"V-ISH" (VEGAN FISH) SAUCE

  • 8 Tbs lime juice (roughly 5-6 juicy limes)

  • 4 Tbs soy sauce

  • 8 Tbs brown sugar (or sweetener of choice)

  • 1 teaspoon (tsp) sesame oil

  • 1 tsp rice wine vinegar

  • 1/2-1 tsp brown miso paste

  • 1-2 red Thai chilies, finely chopped


SERVE WITH

  • Sticky rice, or rice of choice

  • Romaine lettuce hearts or iceberg lettuce cups

  • Fresh thai chilies

  • Fresh mint, coriander and Thai basil leaves

  • Lime wedges

  • Crispy fried shallots

  • Salted chopped peanuts

  • OPTIONAL: Hoisin sauce (see homemade recipe here)


RICE POWDER

  • 1 cup** uncooked sticky rice (or other rice)

  • 5 Kaffir lime leaves

  • 1 lemongrass stick, finely sliced




INSTRUCTIONS

  1. To prepare the vegan fish sauce, combine all ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Set aside.

  2. Heat a non-stick fry pan to med-high and toast uncooked rice. Stir continuously for ~10 minutes, then add the kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass slices. Stir continuously for another 10 minutes or until golden and fragrant. Set aside to cool

  3. When the rice mixture is cool, pulverize in a food processor or grind in a mortar and pestle. Set aside. If using the food processor method (see notes below) you will have additional mixture which you may choose to freeze or use for another recipe.

  4. Have lettuce hearts and additional ingredients prepped and ready to serve as this recipe comes together quite quickly.

  5. In a wok or large frypan heat oil over medium heat.

  6. Add the shallot, cooking for 2-3 minutes until fragrant, stirring continuously, then add garlic and lemon grass. Cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.

  7. Turn heat up to med-high and add minced tofu and kaffir lime leaves. Cook for 5-7 minutes.

  8. When the tofu looks golden and cooked, add 3-4 Tbs of rice powder and 3/4 of the sauce mixture (reserving the 1/4 sauce mix for drizzling or dipping while eating), stir tofu and cook for 1 more minute.

  9. Remove from heat add the fresh herbs and green onions.

  10. Serve immediately. Enjoy!


NOTES:

* If Thai basil is unavailable in your region you can sub with regular basil. Although the flavour will be somewhat different and less pronounced, it will still offer lovely aromatics when paired with the other herbs.

** If you have a mortar and pestel, or a spice grinder, you will only need about 6-8 Tbs of rice; if using a food processor or high speed blender you will need bulk volume (~1 cup of rice) to facilitate the pulverization process.



Vegan Larb Gai (Laab Gai) Thai Tofu Lettuce Wraps






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