Thai Tofu Larb

Crunchy juicy baby Cos Lettuce cups filled with tofu crumbs is wonderfully seasoned with sauce, lime juice, chili and fresh herbs. Traditionally made with ground chicken or pork larb is a spicy Thai appetizer. But I like to cook version with tofu because this is healthy and delicious food. Firm tofu works great here, it absorb sauce very well. Tofu larb has become one of my favorite snacks for hot summer day lunch, it can be served as a starter and a main dish as well.

For best result drain the tofu for at least an half hour. Drained tofu absorb more sauce and have more rich taste. This is how I drain it: place block of tofu in a colander on a few layers of paper towel. Place small plate and something heavy on top of it. Place the colander over bowl or pot.

I like to use in this dish Asian long beans (on the photo below). They are tender crispy and they can be eaten raw. Check your nearest Chinese vege shop. If you can’t find them just use steamed or boiled french green beans. Attention! French beans (green beans) are actually mildly toxic and can not be eaten raw.

Galangal root, also known as blue ginger or Thai ginger, is the edible rhizome of the Galangal perennial tree. Galangal is known for adding exotic flavor to culinary dishes, it has delicate taste and light perfume notes. Where to find? Check the nearest Asian store or market.

Lemon Basil or Thai basil or Daun Kemangi (Indonesian) is fragrant delicious leaves, popular in Indonesian and Thai cusine. How to use: add lemon basil leaves to Asian version pesto and get perfect sauce for prawns and chicken.

Ingredients

2 Serves

  • 250g Firm Tofu, drained and grated
  • 1/2 bunch of raw long beans or green beans or bunch of green beans, steamed or boiled.
  • 1 Head baby cos lettuce, washed and drained  (iceberg leaves,or cabbage or Chinese cabbage)
  • 3 Lemongrass Stalks (white part only), crushed and chopped
  • 2 Small limes, cut into wedges
  • 2 Garlic cloves, grated
  • 3 Shallots or 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp grated ginger
  • 1 Tbsp grated galangal root
  • Fresh chili, chopped – optional
  • 3 Leaves kaffir lime, hard stem removed, thinly chopped
  • Small bunch of lemon basil (Thai basil) or coriander leaves + mint leaves, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp Sesame oil
  • 2 Tbsp Soy Sauce ( Fish sauce in traditional recipe)
  • 1 Tbsp Coconut sugar
  • 1/2 Cup of slightly roasted peanuts, chopped

+ Pan Wok

Directions

  1. Chop all vegetables and herbs before start of cooking. Long beans cut into small pieces. Grate  firm tofu using vegetable grater. Or chop it using chef knife.
  2. Heat a pan wok over medium heat. Add sesame oil, ginger, galangal, chili, lemongrass and onion and stir-fry about 1 minute. Then add grated garlic and cook until onion is translucent, about 2 minutes. Burnt garlic has a very distinct, bitter and unpleasant taste. Don`t overcook it!
  3. Add tofu, fry it until golden brown, stirring with a spoon. Add the soy sauce, sugar and stir well. Remove wok from heat and cool tofu mix slightly.
  4. In a big salad bowl mix well green beans, lemon basil, kaffir lime leaf and juice of lime. Spoon tofu crumbs into lettuce leaves, sprinkle over with chopped peanuts. Serve with a slice of lime. Enjoy!

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