Thai Seitan Larb in Lettuce Cups

A wonderful contrast of hot and cold, spicy and crunchy, this seitan version of a traditional Thai dish of spicy minced meat and veggies tucked into large edible leaves (or lettuce) is lovely to behold and fun to eat.

Adapted from "Salad Samurai" by Terry Hope Romero. Copyright Da Capo Press (division of Perseus Books Group) 2014. Provided courtesy of Terry Hope Romero. All rights reserved.
TOTAL TIME: 25 min
Prep: 15 min
Inactive Prep: --
Cook: 10 min
YIELD: 3 to 4 servings


  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped shallots
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced lemongrass
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves, thinly sliced, or 1 teaspoon unpacked grated lime zest
  • 1 to 3 small red Thai chiles, seeded and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons Thai light soy sauce or regular soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons peanut oil or mild vegetable oil
  • One 18-ounce package "chicken-style" seitan, such as WestSoy, roughly diced
  • 10 or more large, crisp lettuce leaves (cupped, rounded iceberg or butter lettuce leaves are best), hearts of romaine leaves, or 4 to 6 cups of mixed spring greens
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons Thai light soy sauce or regular soy sauce
  • 1 cup lightly packed cilantro sprigs (use tender stems with the leaves)
recipe tools


In a food processor, pulse together the shallots, lemongrass, lime, chiles, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, and salt. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat and add the pulsed mixture. Saute for 3 to 4 minutes, until the shallots are translucent. Meanwhile, chop the seitan in the food processor. Add the seitan to the skillet and continue to fry for another 4 minutes, or until seitan is heated through. If the seitan starts to stick, deglaze the pan with a few tablespoons of water or vegetable broth.

Make the dressing: whisk together all of the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and set aside until ready to serve.

Serve the larb! Scoop the hot seitan larb into lettuce leaves and arrange on a serving dish. Or for a nontraditional, casual meal, pile it on top of salad greens arranged in serving bowls. Drizzle with a little dressing, garnish with cilantro and chopped peanuts, and eat immediately, passing around any leftover dressing.


Look for fresh or frozen whole kaffir lime leaves where Southeast Asian produce is sold, or substitute 1 teaspoon unpacked grated lime zest in place of the leaves. You can use regular soy sauce or tamari, but mellow Thai soy sauce tastes rich and nuanced here. Look for Thai soy sauce and fiery little red Thai chiles in Thai grocery stores.

Explore More On

All Topics



Get Cooking Channel on your TV.