Recipe: Tofu Larb Salad – easy, tasty vegetarian »

From Special Guest by Annabel Crabb and Wendy Sharpe

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<i>Special Guest</i> by Annabel Crabb and Wendy Sharpe

Special Guest by Annabel Crabb and Wendy Sharpe [©Murdoch Books]

Tofu Larb from Special Guest


Special Guest by Annabel Crabb and Wendy Sharpe is all about sharing recipes that ease the stress of finding something great to serve dining guests.

Turning basic fare into something of a celebration and doing one thing well is the name of the game in Special Guest so with these recipes and tips on hand, you can issue those hasty lunch or dinner invitations without the instant regrets!

This recipe based on a Thai salad is for the herbivores but can be adapted for the meat-eater.

Tofu Larb

Annabel writes:

The idea of the Thai larb salad (minced pork, chicken or prawns cooked with spices and served in a lettuce leaf) is a super-attractive one. But it’s never been much fun for the herbivores. This no-cook tofu larb, though, is popular even with meat-eaters.

I first met tofu larb when my friend Kate brought some around to my place; it’s a staple at hers, and even her husband – a dirty great chop gobbler and general carnivore – loves it.

Larb is a perfect dish to make ahead, as sitting around in its juices only enhances its character. I like to serve this on frazzled rice paper, with some fresh herbs and toasted peanuts added at the last minute for extra zing and crunch. But it would be equally at home in an old-school lettuce leaf. I would happily eat this as a main dish, though it’s especially good as a substantial salad in a buffet-style lunch.

Ingredients (serves 6 as a side or starter)

  • 2 tablespoons white rice
  • 500 g firm tofu, coarsely grated [Ed: I've not found firm tofu that's grateable, I chopped mine to mince size instead]
  • 1 carrot, finely grated
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 spring onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 stalk lemongrass (tender whitepart only), finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 2 small red chillies, thinly sliced
  • 3 juicy limes
  • 2 tablespoons tamari sauce [Ed: you can use soy sauce but it will not taste as good]
  • 1 tablespoon caster sugar
  • large handful of coriander leaves
  • large handful of mint leaves
  • 70 g (½ cup) peanuts, toasted in a dry frying pan until golden then chopped

Rice paper crisps

  • 250 ml (1 cup) rice bran oil
  • 8 small rice paper wrappers 


Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan). Place the rice on a piece of foil, turning up the edges to hold it in place, then roast in the oven for about 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Transfer to a mortar and pestle and grind to a powder.

Put the ground rice into a large, shallow serving bowl, add the tofu, carrot, red onion, spring onions, lemongrass, garlic and chillies and combine well. Add the zest of one of the limes.

In another bowl, whisk the juice of all the limes with the tamari sauce and caster sugar. Pour over the larb and toss everything together. The larb can now be refrigerated until you want to serve it; indeed, it will improve if left for at least an hour. But it’s not the end of the world if you eat it straightaway.

Right before you serve the larb, coarsely chop the herbs and gently toss them through, then scatter with the peanuts.

For the rice paper crisps, heat the oil in a wok until a test fragment of rice paper dropped into the oil frazzles instantly. Fry each wrapper individually: they should puff up within seconds. Just use a metal implement to keep it immersed in the oil so it puffs up evenly. Drain on paper towel and serve immediately, in a stack next to the larb.

This recipe is from Special Guest by Annabel Crabb and Wendy Sharpe and is reproduced here with the kind permission of the publisher.

Read more in the media release here »

Special Guest: Recipes for the happily imperfect host by Annabel Crabb and Wendy Sharpe is published by Murdoch Books (Syd, NSW; Oct 2018; HC; 240pp; RRP A$39.99)

It  is available at good bookshops and can be purchased online via »

 See lnks below for further recipes.

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May 27th, 2019
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