Roasted Cauliflower Larb


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes salad for


Appears in

Set a Table

Set a Table

By Karen Dudley

Published 2018

  • About

This recipe comes from Bon Appétit magazine. When I was in New York with my family we made a pilgrimage to One World Trade Centre, where their offices are based. We stared up at the magnificent glittering high-rise pinnacle piercing the blue sky and I thought about pressing the doorbell and saying, “Hey, can I come up for a visit? I’m a big fan!” It was the fourth of July holiday weekend and everyone was away. (We ended up having the best party on a riverside rooftop, dancing to a live Latin band and watching fireworks over the Hudson River.) This Southeast Asian favourite, usually made with minced pork, is an inspiration!


  • 3 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 large head cauliflower, thoroughly washed and cut into large florets with stalk and tender cauliflower leaves attached
  • 1–2 green chillies, finely chopped (start small and add more to taste)
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, tough outer layers removed, very finely chopped
  • ¼ cup fish sauce
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • ¼ cup glutinous (sticky) rice (we have done this with fragrant rice and it does not seem to harm the dish)
  • 5 spring onions, very finely sliced
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • 1 cup pea shoots (tendrils)
  • ½ cup watercress
  • 1 cup coriander
  • 1 cup mint
  • flaked sea salt and white pepper to taste
  • 4 Israeli cucumbers, sliced on the diagonal
  • 3 baby gem lettuces, leaves pulled from stalk, larger leaves trimmed (so as to be manageable eating devices)


Crank your oven to 220°C. Line a baking sheet with baking paper. Pour the oil onto the baking sheet and toss the cauliflower florets with the oil using your fingers. Spread the cauliflower over the whole baking sheet in a single layer. Roast for 35–45 minutes tossing occasionally so that the cauliflower is beautifully coloured all over. Set aside on the baking sheet and allow to cool slightly.

Chop the cauliflower (with leaves and stalks) into pea-sized pieces. Add to a large mixing bowl with the chillies, lemongrass, fish sauce and lime juice. Toss well.

In a pan set over medium heat, toast the rice, shaking the pan constantly to keep the rice moving, until evenly browned, 10–15 minutes. Transfer to a plate and allow to cool.

Grind in a spice mill or coffee grinder to a semi-fine powder. There will be gritty bits. Strangely, this will give great texture to the mixture.

Add the sliced spring onions, bean sprouts, pea shoots, watercress, coriander, mint and 2 teaspoons of the rice powder to the cauliflower. Season with the flaked sea salt and white pepper.

When you are ready to serve add the sliced cucumber and the remaining rice powder. Lay out the baby gem lettuce leaves on a serving platter and spoon a dessertspoon of the Roasted Cauliflower Larb onto each lettuce cup.