Eating vegetarian might seem limiting to some but I’ve found that’s actually not the case at all. In fact it wasn’t until I gave up eating meat that I started to incorporate a wide variety of foods into my diet.
Having to think of a meal beyond something based around meat, a vegetable and a starch opened my eyes to so many different cuisines. Asian food was one was of the first I branched out to start experimenting with and the more I tried, the deeper I fell in love. Each dish is constructed with complex flavors that appeal to all of your senses while occasionally offering a spicy edge. Most of them can also easily be made vegetarian with just a few modifications.
Larb originates from the Southeast Asian country of Laos, bordering Thailand to the east. Although it can also be found in a region of northern Thailand where a large part of the community is of Lao ethnicity, they tend to make it slightly different than the original version, leaving out any kind of souring agent such as fish sauce or lime juice.
I based this recipe off of the original Lao version which uses a combination of both sweet and sour flavors. Fresh lime and lemon juice plus a touch of tamari (in place of fish sauce) gives the dish it’s sourness while coconut sugar (or brown sugar) offers a hint of sweetness. The finely chopped mushrooms and tofu replace the meat with a hearty flavor that still packs enough protein to leave you feeling satisfied.
Then there’s the spice. You can use Thai chili peppers for a stronger kick of heat but if you prefer a medium-to-mild level of spiciness, feel free to substitute serrano or jalapeño peppers. Just don’t forget the fresh mint and lemongrass. They give it a deliciously refreshing flavor, perfect for balancing out the spiciness.Print
A vegan version of larb, made with crumbled tofu and mushrooms.
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