Meal-in-a-bowl Laksa - Malaysian inspired curried noodle soup
We love noodle soups, which is why we make Burmese Khao suey so regularly at home. And when we go out to eat at an Asian restaurant, we always order Laksa. We’ve made this twice since the lockdown since we couldn’t go out to eat. I used whatever I had at hand, but if you plan for it, you can make a great restaurant-style laksa at home. And you can make it Vegetarian and Vegan too. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do. Do try it and leave me a message in the comments section. Thank you.
Ingredients for spice paste
1 cup roughly chopped onions
2 tablespoons dried shrimp (authentic) or cashew nuts (for veg/vegan)
4 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon ginger
2 teaspoons zest of lime
4-5 roasted dry red chilies to be ground with the paste or 1-2 teaspoons red chili powder (the roasted chilies gave me the nice red colour)
Coriander stems, if you have some
2 teaspoons coriander powder
1 teaspoon jeera powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
Ingredients for curry soup
1 cup chopped veggies (I used carrot, peas but mushrooms or broccoli, bean sprouts would have been better)
2 - 3 tablespoons besan/chickpea flour
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
250 grams prawns or chicken or paneer or tofu or more firm veggies (can add potato/sweet potato)
100 grams tofu slices (if available)
3 cups soup stock/water or more if needed
1 tablespoon light soya sauce
2 cups coconut milk (from 1 small coconut or 1 can)
1 tablespoon palm sugar or brown sugar
400g or 2 packets rice/wheat noodles (200g serves 3 persons, usually)
2-3 boiled eggs (I use half egg per person)
Soya sauce/Fish sauce
Crushed roasted peanuts
Coriander leaves, chopped
Deep fried onions
Crunchies (ribbon pakodas, thick sev, flat puris/thattai)
Prepare the spice paste first. Roast the dried prawns if tiny or soften them in warm water if needed, which makes for easier grinding. Soak the cashew nuts in advance, if using. Starting with the prawns or cashew nuts (if vegetarian), grind the onions, ginger, garlic, red chillies, lime zest, etc. to a paste, using a little water if needed. Add in the dry spices and blend to a fine paste.
In oil, sauté the spice paste until you feel it is cooked, then add in the cup or more of veggies, salt, and a little water/stock in which you have blended the 2 tablespoons of besan, and let the veggies cook, covered. Add the prawns or boneless chicken, if using and sauté.
Add in the stock, the soya sauce, let it cook and taste for salt, spice, etc. If too thin, add an additional tablespoon of besan dissolved in cold water/stock.
Add in the tofu, if using.
Lastly add in the coconut milk, a little at a time, and the palm sugar/ jaggery. Let it come to a simmer and turn off the heat.
Cook the noodles, following the instructions on the packet.
Serve hot. To serve, place noodles in individual bowls, drown them in the curry, and add garnishes and toppings of your choice.