I’d never even heard of laksa until a year ago when dining out at a vegetarian restaurant. Now I can’t believe what I’ve been missing out on! Of Malaysian origin, this coconutty noodle soup strikes the perfect balance of sweetness and spice. This vegan-friendly recipe below is taken from the renowned chef, Yottam Ottolenghi and was featured on The Guardian website.
Due to personal taste and availability of ingredients, I made some amendments to this recipe. I also decided to use whole wheat noodles to keep the dish healthy and nutritious.
INGREDIENTS (4 large portions)
100g peeled baby shallots
8 garlic cloves
25g peeled ginger, sliced
15g lemongrass (soft white stem only), sliced
2 tsp ground coriander
3 red chillies, de-seeded
4 tbsp vegetable oil
50g fresh coriander
1¼ litres vegetable stock
3 branches laksa leaves (aka kesum leaves), or curry leaves, or both
2 tsp curry powder
1½ tsp salt
2 tbsp caster sugar
400ml coconut milk
100g whole wheat noodles
300g bean sprouts
150g french beans, trimmed and halved
250g tofu, drained and grilled for 10 minutes
4 limes, halved
1) Put the first seven ingredients in a small food processor bowl. Add half the oil, and the roots and stems of the fresh coriander, and process to a semi-smooth paste.
2) Heat the remaining oil in a saucepan and fry the spice paste on medium heat for 20 minutes, stirring all the time – you want to cook it slowly without burning. Add the stock, laksa branches, curry powder, salt, sugar and coconut milk, simmer gently for 30 minutes, then taste and add more salt if necessary.
3) Once the broth is done, steep the rice noodles in boiling water for three minutes and drain. Throw the bean sprouts into a pan of boiling water, drain at once and refresh. Cook the beans in boiling water for three minutes, drain and refresh.
4) Just before serving, remove and discard the laksa branches (the leaves can stay in the soup). Add the beans, noodles and half the sprouts, ladle into large bowls and top with the remaining sprouts, tofu and shredded coriander leaves. Squeeze lime juice on top and throw one half of squeezed lime into each bowl.
This did require a lot of ingredients and was rather time consuming for a Monday night but it was definitely worth it, I feel like it’s one of the tastiest things I’ve made!