Vegetarian Larb Recipe: A dish from Laos

Larb is a dish traditionally made with minced pork or chicken, very similar to the Thai Minced Basil Chicken that we have all grown accustomed to. I made a vegetarian Larb with tofu instead of meat!

Before I go further into this recipe, I must state that I have never really been to Laos, and neither am I a vegetarian. However, I do have a very large penchant for Asian recipe and a substantial number of vegetarian friends. This recipe was created to honour both these aspects in my life.

If you’re a meat eater like me, you can substitute the tofu here for minced chicken or pork. Do not use red meat for this recipe, as red meat requires other more complex ingredients to complement its flavour. Everything else remains the same. The sugar here is essential, it helps to balance the intense saltiness from the fish sauce and sourness from the lime juice. If you’re concerned about the fish sauce not being vegetarian, you can substitute it with soy sauce.

Happy cooking!

Vegetarian Larb Recipe: A dish from Laos

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Yield: Serves 2


  • 2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • 1 Onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, peeled & chopped
  • 2cm Ginger, peeled & chopped
  • 2 Thai Bird Eye Chillies, chopped finely
  • 400g Tofu, mashed
  • 2 Tbsp Fish Sauce
  • 1 Lime, juiced
  • 2 Tsp Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Five Spice Powder
  • 50g Parsley or Coriander, torn up


  1. On a wok, heat up the oil and add the onions. Saute until translucent and soft. Add the garlic, ginger and chillies and saute until fragrant. About 4 mins in total.
  2. Add the tofu and fry lightly in the oil until it turns golden, about 5 mins. The water from the tofu will evaporate in the heat, this is what you want.
  3. Add the fish sauce, sugar, lime juice, spice powder and coriander to the tofu and stir to mix well. Continue to cook for another 5 minutes before serving warm with rice.
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