A Terrific Vegan Take on a Beloved Dish
This week's dinner roundup features a little bit of everything
For this week’s recipes, I cooked solely from Mark’s book Dinner for Everyone — he and Kerri developed so many gems while they were writing this one. I’ve picked four of them that couldn’t be more different from each other.
Want something cheesy, with a good amount of one of my favorite cheeses, Gruyère? Check. Want a hearty vegan soup? Check. Want to make use of that good salmon you’ve got sitting in the freezer? We got you.
I want to give special gratitude to a recipe for one of my all-time favorite dishes: larb. Though it’s from Laos, it’s probably most often eaten in Thai restaurants. (Shout out to the amazing Thai Market on NYC’s Upper West Side, which was introduced to me by my friend Earlene — if you can get there, do.) The salad is typically made from an irresistible combo of ground meat, chiles, lime juice, fish sauce, and herbs: Please note that we’d never call what we have here authentic, but rather an homage to a more traditional majestic larb — in big part because there’s no meat in it. I like to think that the flavors here honor the original while allowing vegans to partake.
Makes: 4 to 8 servings
Time: 30 minutes
2 tablespoons sticky (glutinous) rice kernels
1 pound pressed or extra-firm tofu
2 garlic cloves
1⁄4 cup good-quality vegetable oil
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon turbinado sugar
2 cups loosely packed mixed fresh herbs (like cilantro, basil, mint, or Thai basil), chopped
2 shallots, peeled and sliced
4 fresh red chiles (like Thai bird or Fresno), seeded if you like, and chopped
2 tablespoons soy sauce, or more to taste
4 limes, quartered
16 to 20 leaves Bibb or iceberg lettuce
1. Put the rice in a large skillet over medium heat and cook, stirring often, until deeply golden and fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a spice grinder (or use a mortar and pestle) and grind to a powder.
2. Pulse the tofu and garlic in a food processor until crumbly. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When it’s hot, add the tofu mixture. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and sugar, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has browned in places, 8 to 12 minutes.
3. Transfer the tofu mixture to a large bowl and add the herbs, shallots, chiles, and soy sauce. Squeeze in the juice from 2 limes and toss to combine. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
4. Put the lettuce on a platter with the tofu mixture and remaining lime wedges. To eat, spoon some tofu-herb salad into a lettuce cup, sprinkle with the ground toasted rice, and squeeze over additional juice from the remaining 2 limes.
Read on for Fried Eggs Rarebit, Orecchiette with Salmon and Leeks, and Chickpea Noodle Soup.
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