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A leaf shaped and painted plate filled with laab, on a soft pink background.

Tofu laab gai - Laotian lettuce wraps

Dorothy Porker
Fragrant, fresh, vegan and easy. These wraps are the perfect summer meal.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Tofu pressing 30 mins
Course Dinner, Lunch, Main course
Cuisine laotian, Thai
Servings 2

Equipment

  • Heavy pot or other heavy object
  • Kitchen towels
  • Big bowl
  • Small bowl
  • Large frying pan or skillet
  • Plate

Ingredients
  

For the tofu - optional, you can use store bought (vegan) mince

  • 9 oz - 250 gr firm tofu get it from an Asian supermarket and thank me later
  • 1/2 T - 7 gr corn flour other starches also work
  • pinch salt
  • neutral oil for shallow frying, I use sunflower

For the tofu larb gai

  • 2 T - 30 gr corn flour rice flours also works
  • 3 T - 45 ml water
  • 2 T - 30 ml lime juice
  • 1/2 T - 7.5 gr miso paste
  • 2 T - 30 gr brown sugar
  • 1 T - 15 gr grated ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 1 stalk lemon grass dry leaves removed, white core finely chopped
  • 2 bird's eye chilies deseeded and finely chopped

To serve

  • 1 small shallot thinly sliced
  • 1/3 c - 40 gr coriander leaves
  • 1/3 c - 40 gr mint leaves
  • 3 T - 45 gr peanuts or cashews roughly crushed
  • 8-10 small lettuce leaves I prefer butterhead or little gems

Instructions
 

Prep the tofu, optional - you can also use store bought (vegan) mince

  • Press 9 oz - 250 gr of tofu by placing it between some kitchen towels and placing a heavy object on top for 30 minutes or so.
  • Crumble the tofu into a bowl. The pieces should remain of uneven in size and shape, as if you've fried off some actual minced meat in a frying pan.
  • Thinly coat the crumbled tofu with 1/2 T - 7 gr corn flour or any starch at hand and season with salt.

To make the tofu larb gai

  • If you are using store bought (vegan) mince start here.
  • Fry the crumbled tofu in a thin layer of sunflower oil in a (non-stick) frying pan. Do this in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan and ensure crisp. Fry the tofu until golden and partially crispy, remove the tofu from the pan and set aside on a plate lined with kitchen towel.
  • Make a slushy paste with 2 T - 30 gr of corn flour, 3 T - 45 ml of water, 2 T - 30 ml of lime juice, 1/2 T - 7.5 gr miso and 2 T - 30 gr of brown sugar and set aside.
  • Reheat the oil you fried the tofu in, or refresh the oil if you prefer and heat that.
  • Add 1 T - 15 gr of ginger, 2 cloves of finely chopped garlic, 1 finely chopped white core of a stalk of lemon grass and 2 finely chopped bird's eye chilies and saute for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Be sure to move on to the next step before the garlic burns as burnt garlic is not nice.
  • Add the slushy paste while stirring vigorously until the sauce thickens, THIS HAPPENS VERY FAST and remove from the heat.
  • Stir in the tofu mince, 1 thinly sliced shallot and 3/4 of the coriander and mint leaves until all is evenly distributed and coated in a thin layer of sauce.

Serve the tofu larb gai

  • Serve in or alongside lettuce leaves. Garnish with the remainder of the mint and coriander and crushed peanuts or cashews if desired.

Notes

Larb gai really relies on the freshness of the ingredients and does not lend to storage or reheating well.
Keyword easy vegan, Salad, summer, thai, vegan thai