Laksa

Back when I first shared this recipe I was really proud of trying something new that, for so many years, was completely off my taste radar. I had no idea that it would become such a popular and frequently made meal, possibly the go-to dish when we want something hearty and full of flavour.  I decided it was time to re-visit the original recipe, update it, and share some of my tips:

I sometimes leave out the chicken altogether and use just prawns, and use a prepared chicken stock for the soup. But taking the time to simmer the chicken then cook the prawn heads in the stick does give a depth of flavour. I used to use chicken thigh fillets but on the bone is so much better as it doesn’t dry out and stays moist. I have also removed the candle-nuts from the recipe because, to be honest, I have never ever used them. For a while I was substituting macadamias but I don’t bother any more. And while I do prefer to roast and grid my own spices I don’t always have the time, and the bought ground spices in a jar work perfectly. I have also left out the tofu puffs on occasion, and unless you particularly love them they won’t be missed.

I will say once again that I really encourage you to make your own laksa paste at home. All it takes is a few minutes in a food processor, and while I’ve never tried a bought paste there seem to be some good ones around. Check the ingredients label.

Ingredients:

For the laksa paste:

  • 7 dried red chillies, soaked in boiling water for ten minutes
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 brown onion, peeled and quartered
  • 2 stalks of lemongrass, white part only, sliced
  • 5 cm piece ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 1 tbsp coriander roots and stems
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint
  • 2 to 3 tsp shrimp paste {the Thai variety rather than belacan}
  • 60 ml vegetable stock or water

For the rest of the soup:

  • 500 g chicken thighs on the bone
  • 5 cm piece of ginger
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed and unpeeled
  • 1 brown onion, unpeeled and cut in half
  • 1 litre water for stock
  • 250 g green prawns, peeled (keep the heads for the stock)
  • rind of one lime
  • 125 ml vegetable oil
  • 800 ml coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp palm sugar, grated
  •  juice of one lime
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • one packet of dried laksa noodles
  • tofu puffs, cut into quarters
  • bean sprouts
  • fresh coriander and mint, coarsely chopped
  • one fresh red chilli, sliced
  • dried shallots

1. Begin by making the laksa paste. If you are grinding your own cumin and coriander begin by toasting them in a hot pan until they become fragrant, then grind them in a pestle and mortar. Put all the ingredients for the paste in a food processor and pulse until you have a smooth paste. Set aside.

2. Pour the water into a large pot and season with a little salt and pepper, and add the chicken, onion, garlic, and ginger. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about twenty minutes. Remove the chicken, and when it has cooled slice or shred the meat into bite size pieces. To the cooking water add the prawn heads and lime rind. Simmer for about half an hour, then strain the liquid into a large jug or bowl. This will be the stock for the laksa.

3. In a large wok or pot, heat the vegetable oil over a medium high heat. Fry the laksa paste for five to ten minutes, until it has become very fragrant and has darkened in colour. Pour in the stock and coconut milk and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about thirty minutes.

4. When you are almost ready to serve prepare the noodles according to packet directions. Return the chicken, prawns, and tofu puffs to the soup and simmer for another five minutes. Add some (not all) of the palm sugar, lime juice, and fish sauce to the laksa and taste for seasoning. You may not need all of the amount stated, or you may need a little more. Season to taste.

5. To serve, put some noodles in a deep soup bowl. Pour over the laksa, and finish with some bean sprouts, fresh coriander, mint, chilli, and dried shallots.

  1. I haven’t actually made my own laksa before but I love it, so totally should! Thanks for your recipe, this will be a perfect way to start! Good on you for dry roasting your seeds… that is dedication! Thanks for joining us at our Fabulous Foodie Fridays party! xx

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    1. Even if you use ground spices to make your own paste the results are amazing. You should definitely give it a go. And thank YOU for the link up, I am loving finding not only recipes but such great food blogs. X.

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