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Authentic Vegan Thai Larb Salad with Tofu & Mushrooms

5 from 8 reviews

This authentic recipe for Thai/Lao vegan larb is packed with texture and the flavors of lime, chili, toasted sticky rice, lemongrass, and fresh herbs. It’s tangy, fragrant, succulent, and totally irresistible!

Ingredients

Scale

FOR THE TOASTED STICKY RICE:

  • 3/4 cup sticky rice
  • 56 thin slices of galangal*
  • 68 kaffir lime leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 lemongrass stalk (light bottom part only), thinly sliced

FOR THE SALAD:

  • 1 brick firm tofu (400g or 14oz package), crumbled
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce 
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 18 shitake mushrooms (250g or 9oz), minced
  • 4 tsp sunflower oil (or other flavorless oil), divided
  • 4 small Thai shallots (or 1 long banana shallot), thinly sliced
  • 1 cup mint leaves
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves
  • 2 green/spring onions, thinly sliced on a diagonal
  • 1/4 head of green cabbage, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
  • 2 tsp hot chili flakes (or more to taste)
  • Lime wedges, for serving

FOR THE DRESSING:

Instructions

  1. Crumble the firm tofu up with your hands, until it’s the consistency of minced meat. Add the tofu into a bowl with the soy sauce and minced garlic to marinate for 20 minutes. 
  2. Heat a cast-iron pan on the stove over medium heat. Toast the sticky rice until it’s lightly golden, agitating the pan often to achieve even coloring. About 10 minutes. 
  3. Add the galangal, kaffir lime leaves, and lemongrass. Continue toasting for a further 10 minutes, until the aromats are toasted and fragrant, and the rice is evenly golden-brown. Allow it to cool. Then, in a mortar and pestle, food processor, or spice grinder, pulverize the sticky rice mixture until it is a semi-fine, sand-like texture. 
  4. Heat a large cast-iron pan or wok on the stove over high heat. Heat the oil, then add in the tofu and mushrooms. Stir occasionally, allowing the pieces to brown on the bottom before stirring again. Ensure to scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan for extra flavor. (Depending on the size of your pan/wok, you may want to stir-fry the tofu and mushrooms separately, one after another, so they can brown adequately. You never want to crowd mushrooms, or they will steam rather than brown.)
  5. At the last minute, stir in 3 heaped tablespoons of the sticky rice powder and dried chili flakes. Remove the wok from the heat, then immediately toss in the dressing.
  6. Toss in the mint, cilantro, green onions, shallots, and green cabbage. 
  7. Serve immediately, with lime wedges, and enjoy! Serve the larb as a main meal with rice and papaya salad, inside of romaine/cos lettuce cups as an appetizer, or as a side salad!

Notes

  • If you can’t find galangal, you can use ginger.
  • This recipe yields more toasted sticky rice powder than you need so that you can make larb easily many times. It will keep for a few months in the pantry. 
  • If you can’t find vegan fish sauce, use soy sauce instead.
  • If you’re not vegetarian, you can use regular fish sauce.
  • Feel free to serve the larb inside romaine/cos lettuce cups as a fun dish to eat with friends!
  • You can also serve the larb with a side of rice and/or a side of green papaya salad (som tum).

Keywords: authentic vegan larb, authentic vegetarian larb, thai larb, lao larb, authentic larb recipe