Light Meals, Salads

Tofu Larb

This is a cinch to whip together, and is light, fragrant and spicy. In January, I crave fresh, vibrant dishes that are nourishing and simple to make, and this dish is the perfect antidote to the excesses of Christmas. It’s a traditional recipe – but as I always say, if it ain't broke, don’t fix it...

If possible, and you can find them, I highly recommend using fresh makrut leaves, formerly known as kaffir lime leaves (the k-word is offensive, and thankfully being phased out). It gives this dish a wonderful authentic fragrance, and if you close your eyes as you eat, you could imagine you're on a Thai beach...



For the salad

500-600g extra-firm tofu

3 tbsp jasmine or Thai sticky rice

1 tbsp light oil – I used groundnut

2 banana shallots, peeled and thinly sliced

2 small cloves garlic, finely grated

1 thumb-sized piece ginger, finely grated

1 lemongrass stem, outer leaves removed and tender stem finely chopped

4 lime leaves, finely sliced (optional, but highly recommended)

1 large handful mixed herbs – Thai or regular basil, coriander, mint and spring onions – roughly chopped

For the dressing

3 limes, juiced

3 tbsp tamari or regular soy sauce

2 tbsp soft brown sugar or coconut sugar

2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce

½ tsp red chilli flakes, or 1 fresh red chilli, finely chopped

To serve

Gem lettuce hearts

200g cooked sticky rice

Soft herbs – coriander, Thai basil, mint

Lime wedges

Red chilli flakes, or sliced fresh red chilli


  1. Squeeze the liquid out of the tofu, using paper towels or a clean tea towel. Crumble it into a large bowl and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together all the dressing ingredients until the sugar has dissolved. Set aside.
  3. Place a small dry pan over a low heat, and toast the rice until lightly golden all over, being careful not to burn it. Pour the rice into a pestle and mortar, grind it into a rough powder, and set aside.
  4. Heat the oil in a large, non-stick frying pan over a low heat, and add the shallots, garlic, ginger and lemongrass. Cook gently, until soft and fragrant.
  5. Turn up the heat a little, then add the tofu to the pan and cook, stirring often, for a few minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and add the ground rice, lime leaves, herbs and dressing. Stir to combine, and season with a little sea salt.
  6. Spoon the tofu mixture into the gem lettuce leaf cups, and serve with the sticky rice, herbs, lime and chilli.

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