Sometimes the best recipes are accidents. I went to a spring roll party the other night and planned on bringing my pressed tofu satay with a dipping sauce. The sauce you see was supposed to be my spicy sunflower seed sauce, but I was missing ingredients, so I did some substituting (and forgot to read my own instructions!), and I ended up with this light, fluffy, creamy, limey goodness.
The sauce was such a hit that I thinned it out the next day and used it to dress a version of my Asian rice salad. Kaffir lime leaves can be found in Asian supermarkets and some specialty markets. If you find them fresh, you can store them in the freezer (clean and dry in a ziplock bag), as you only need one leaf for this recipe. They are an intensely scented, perfumey citrus leaf used in Thai and southeast Asian cooking. While the fruit and juice are not eaten, the zest and rind have many uses in cooking and traditional medicines throughout southeast Asia.
We have a small tree in the yard which hasn’t fruited yet; I’m enjoying using the leaves in a variety of dishes, including this Thai green curry paste. Kaffir lime leaves are one of the signature flavors in tom yum soup, my go-to soup when I have a cold. If you can’t find them, add the zest from your lime before peeling it, or order the powdered leaves I found below. Enjoy!
Thai rice bowl salad
Makes 12 servings
8 oz. (450 g) tofu satay or prepared teriyaki tofu
1-1⁄4 C. (240 g) short-grain brown rice
1 medium carrot or 10-12 baby carrots
1 large broccoli floret
2 celery stalks
1⁄2 red bell pepper
Make the pressed tofu satay following this recipe, or purchase pre-baked teriyaki tofu. Cut into cubes.
Rinse and drain the rice. Add 2-1/2 C. (590 ml) filtered water and bring to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat with the lid on. Once it comes to a boil, turn down to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes. Turn off the heat and let it sit 15 minutes with the lid on. Don’t lift the lid until it’s completely done.
Wash the veggies. You’re going to cut everything into bite-sized pieces. I like to cut the carrots lengthwise into matchsticks (a.k.a. julienned).
Separate the broccoli into bite-sized florets and steam it for several minutes until bright green, then rinse in cold water and drain well. You can also microwave the broccoli in a glass container with a small amount of water for 1-2 minutes until emerald green but still crisp. Rinse with cold water and drain well.
Cut the pepper into thin strips. I usually take one side off the pepper with my chef’s knife and remove the rib and any seeds. Then I can cut it crosswise into thin sticks.
Remove both ends of the scallion (green onion) and slice it thinly.
Fluff the cooked rice with a fork and add the dressing (recipe below). Toss the rice with the dressing, adding just enough extra dressing as needed to lightly coat it. Add the veggies and tofu and toss well to coat. Taste again and add just a little more dressing. I usually have enough dressing left over to use on salad.
Kaffir Lime Cream Sauce
Makes about 1 1/2 cups
1 T. (15 ml) grapeseed oil
2 t. (10 g) Thai red curry paste or other curry paste
1/2 C. (115 ml) raw cashews
1 C. (230 ml) light coconut milk
1/2 C. (115 ml) filtered water
1 T. (15 ml) agave syrup
2 t. (10 ml) vegan fish sauce or regular fish sauce
1 large kaffir lime leaf
hot sauce to taste
Wash the lime leaf and fold in half, removing the rib with a knife or kitchen shears. Cut up into pieces and add to your blender.
Peel the lime by hand or using a paring knife. Add to the blender.
Add all the other ingredients and blend several minutes until completely smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. Taste and add hot sauce (either thin hot sauce or Sriracha) if desired.
Notes: I used my Vitamix for this recipe. With a regular blender I would finely mince the leaves and chop up the lime before adding. You might have to run it on high for as long as five minutes to get a really smooth sauce. You can use any combination of veggies that suits you and are in season. You could also add papaya, jicama, or unripe mango. You can find pre-baked marinated tofu at specialty grocery stores. If you don’t like tofu, you can make this salad without, or add cooked chicken if you eat poultry.
All of our recipes are gluten-free, sugar-free, and made with plant-based ingredients to help you build a healthy life. Suitable for Meatless Monday. Look for midweek posts on meditation, service, and life lessons, helping you create inner balance.
If you cannot find Kaffir lime leaves, you can buy them as a powder. I would add a pinch at a time and let the flavor sit for a while so you don’t overpower the sauce: