Laksa

Laksa 4

The second recipe under Vegetarian Asian food is Laksa. A yummy, spicy coconut base soup served with noodles and many other toppings. You can find Laksa in Malaysian, Singaporean and Indonesian cuisine and in a lot of ways it is very similar to a Burmese khao suey.

This recipe is a for a curry based Laksa and is quick to prepare and is very delicious. Its hearty and a complete meal in itself – great for chilly winters. The key ingredient in this recipe is the laksa paste which is basically a combination of a few ingredients like chilies, garlic, galangal, onion, lemongrass and fresh turmeric in a particular ratio. I have put down the measurements for it below but feel free to experiment with it and adjust the flavor as per your liking. The style for cooking this is similar to how you would make an India curry. The basic curry making method of first making pure/paste of various ingredients, frying it in a little oil and then adding the liquid which in this case is coconut milk. I used canned milk, which I think works much better than the fresh coconut milk in this case…not to mention that making fresh coconut milk is a tedious process.

A more authentic Laksa recipe calls for deep fried tofu but to cut down on the calories I just used the tofu straight out of the package….no pan frying or sauteing. When you add deep fried tofu, it  basically soaks up the liquid and tastes juicy when you bite into it – it obviously tastes very yummy but I was looking to make this dish a bit healthier. If you don’t care about that too much then please do add deep fried tofu to the soup.

You serve the laksa over two type of noodles – rice vermicelli and egg noodles. Replace or skip egg noodles to make this recipe vegan. Boil the noodles till they are almost done, place them in a large soup bowl, pour the hot soup with tofu over the noodles and top the laksa with bean sprouts, cilantro, scallions, fried onions and a dash of lemon juice.

Laksa 1

Laksa 2

Laksa 3

Laksa5

Serving for 2 people

Cooking time 20 to 30 minutes

For Laksa Paste

1 medium red onion, roughly diced

2 to 3 cloves garlic

2 tsp galangal or ginger, grated

1/2 tsp fresh turmeric, can be substituted with equal amount of ground turmeric

1 stalk lemongrass, chopped

2 large fresh red chilies, pith and seeds removed

4 to 6 dried red chilies, soaked in hot water for an hour

salt

Place all the ingredients in a blender and make a smooth puree. Add a bout a tablespoon of water if the mixture is too thick.

For Laksa

1 can  (400 ml ) coconut milk

1/2 can (200 ml) water

laksa paste (the entire quantity from the recipe above)

1 cup Tofu, cubed

4 to 5 oyster or button mushrooms

1/2 cup rice vermicelli, cooked

1/2 cup egg noodles, cooked

1 green onion, chopped

2 tbsp vegetable oil

handful of sprouts

handful of cilantro

2 to 4 lemon wedges

fried shallots or small onions

  1. Heat oil in a large wok.
  2. Add laksa paste to it and cook for about 5 to 8 minutes or till you start seeing oil being separated from the paste.
  3. Pour in coconut milk and water. Stir to mix well.
  4. Add tofu and simmer for about 8 to 10 minutes.
  5. While the soup simmers, stir fry the mushrooms in little oil.
  6. In a soup bowl place both type of noodles. Top it with stir fried mushrooms.
  7. Pour the soup with some tofu pieces int eh bowl.
  8. Top the laksa with cilantro leaves, sprouts, green onion, fried onions and  a squeeze of lemon.
  9. Enjoy the soup while its hot.