Laotian Larb Tofu Lettuce Wraps
I told my friend in Houston that I had reached the height of my vegan eats here. There were no new restaurants I wanted to try. She assured me there were so.many.more to try and convinced me to try a nearby Thai restaurant. Oddly enough, Rob has spotted it earlier that week and was amused by its billboard that announced it was MANGO SEASON!
I was apprehensive but she assured me I would love it. She told me they had vegan ice cream. I was sold.
She did not lie. I loved it. So much so, that I quickly tried to figure out how to recreate the dishes.
This is a spin on Laotian larb. Of note, Rob tells me this is nothing like the original and in fact, if you pronounce the r in larb, that is wrong, too. Make no mistake about its simplicity, this salad wrap was GREAT!
A few fun points: This was the first time I have steamed tofu. I LOVED it. It made it nice and fluffy and once crumbled, it absorbed the flavours of the marinade incredibly well. Lime juice, cilantro, in a salty-hot-sweet background, it was nice, fresh and light. After an overnight soak, it was absolutely perfect and lasted for a few days of lovely leftovers for lunch.
I took inspiration from the restaurant to serve it next to a quarter of an iceberg. Its solid leaves make for excellent wraps, more sturdy than most lettuces and is rather mild on the green scale. Besides, it is always good to rotate your greens. :)
Do you have a favourite green wrap? I thought collards were my favourite but I was rather smitten by the iceberg lettuce. ;)
1 package (14 oz) firm tofu, quartered
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
1 red pepper, finely diced
~5 leaves napa cabbage, thinly sliced
1 large carrot, shredded
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 tbsp fresh lime juice
1.5 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
1.5 tbsp pure maple syrup
1 tsp sriracha
1/3 cup chopped peanuts
Lettuce leaves for serving
1. Prepare a steamer basket: Place 1″ water in a pot, cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer. Place tofu in the steamer basket. Place basket overtop the boiling water and steam for 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
2. Meanwhile, chop your vegetables and add the red pepper, cabbage, carrot and cilantro to a large bowl. Add the lime juice, soy sauce, maple syrup and sriracha. Taste and adjust seasonings. Once cool enough to handle, crumble the tofu with your hands and mix it into the vegetable mixture. Allow to marinate in the refrigerator for at least one hour, preferably overnight.
3. When ready to serve, chop lettuce into leaves (just lop off a quarter). Place tofu mixture into lettuce and top with chopped peanuts.