Two blog posts in one day - woo! I had already written this recipe out for friends, so I thought I'd share it as it's really delicious (even if I say so myself) - I hope you enjoy it!
This is by no means a traditional Laksa recipe, it's my own version using commercially prepared curry & laksa paste & whatever vegetables I happen to have handy. I like to make Laksa when I'm feeling a little under the weather or if I haven't been eating properly, as it's loaded with lovely fresh vegetables. It's very spicy & warming (fantastic if you have a cold because it really helps clear your head & chest) yet because it's also really zingy & zesty, I find it's just as nice in the hot weather too. It's very filling, most definitely a meal in itself.
Just a word about the yellow curry & laksa pastes... A lot of supermarket brands have shrimp paste in them, so make sure you read the ingredients! I used to buy a readily available brand of laksa paste that was vegan, but I just finished my last jar & it doesn't seem to be around anymore. Next time I'll try Lamyong brand. Also, if you're concerned about the fat content, just use one can of coconut cream & make up the rest of the liquid with water or stock.
makes 6-8 serves
2 medium or 1 large brown onions
1 Tbsp olive oil (or ricebran or canola oil - whatever you like)
6-8 cloves garlic
2 red Thai chilies
1 green Thai chili
2 Tbsp sugar
1 heaped Tbsp Laksa Paste (about 60g/2oz)
1 heaped Tbsp Yellow Curry Paste (about 60g/2oz)
1 flat Tbsp Sambal Oelek (about half as much as the Laksa and Curry pastes unless you like your Laksa turbo-hot!)
2 heaped tsp vegan stock powder
1-2 litres boiling water
2 cans organic coconut cream
Ketjap Manis (Indonesian sweet soy sauce)
2 limes (or 1 lemon if limes aren't available)
1 bunch fresh coriander cornflour (cornstarch) to thicken slightly
4 med-lg ripe tomatoes
2 med-lg carrots
3 med potatoes (waxy, such as desiree)
2 cups roughly chopped savoy cabbage
1-2 medium zucchini
1 cup sliced snow peas
1 bag of baby spinach
1 cup roughly chopped bean sprouts
Alternative vegetables you might like to try: sweet potato pumpkin baby corn cauliflower green beans broccoli bok choy mushrooms (sauté with the tofu)
Other Yummy Bits
1-2 packets fresh hokkien or singapore noodles (dried noodles I'm sure are okay if fresh ones aren't available - egg free of course)
350g or 500g block organic firm tofu (or a packet of fried bean curd puffs)
To make the soup:
Mince garlic and chop onion. Half chilies lengthwise and remove seeds from one of them (leave all the seeds in if you want the laksa to be superturbo-hot) – slice finely. Sauté in a little oil until they start to soften. Add sugar, Laksa and Yellow Curry pastes, Sambal Olek, & sauté a bit longer to release the flavours.
Add boiling water (start with 1 litre and add to it later if you want), stock powder & coconut cream. Add a few generous shakes of Ketjap Manis to taste. Heat gently & simmer for about 20 minutes - not too vigorous or the coconut cream might separate.
(Meanwhile, you can prepare the tofu & vegetables...)
Soup will be quite watery and thin, so if you like, thicken a little with some cornflour or plain flour mixed with cold water.
Add roughly chopped coriander (you can also finely chop the stalks and add those along with the leaves) and the lime juice to soup just before serving.
The bits & pieces for the bowl:
Lightly steam a selection of chopped vegetables. You can do this ahead of time if you like, & reheat just before serving. In the batch of Laksa I've photographed here, I steamed sliced carrots, savoy cabbage & broccoli, & boiled the potatoes.
Peel the tomatoes by scoring the bottoms with a cross and pouring boiling water over them in a bowl (leave them for about 1-2 minutes before removing them). The skin will peel right off. Quarter them and remove the core, seeds and pulp. Chop the flesh roughly.
Greens such as beansprouts & baby spinach are left raw. Just wash them & pat dry on paper towels.
Meanwhile, cut tofu into little cubes and sauté them in oil in a hot pan with a generous amount of Ketjap Manis. Season with salt and black pepper. Fry until evenly browned and the Ketjap Manis has thickened and coated the tofu cubes (add sliced mushrooms too if you like). Try not to eat them all, they're yummy!!
Chop noodles into shorter lengths. Separate strands a little and pour boiling water over the top – leave for 2-3 minutes or as per instructions on packet, then drain.
Spoon vegetables, tofu & noodles into serving bowls. Ladle the hot soup over the top. Garnish with extra bean sprouts. For an extra-fancy flourish, also garnish with sliced cucumber, chopped peanuts, sprigs of coriander & lime wedges.