Monsoons for me means sitting by the window and enjoying the crisp cool air, the fragrance of “gilli mitti”, reading a book and relishing a bowl of piping hot and comfort food! I am already hoping that it rains again today and I can relive these moments again. And when you get a bowl full of goodness – piping hot curry noodle soup, your day can’t get any better! Laksa is a Malaysian curry noodle soup which is hearty and perfect for monsoon lunches and dinner.
This recipe here might not be the most authentic Laksa recipe, but it’s modified to what my family enjoys and the flavors we can relate too. Spicy, sweet, zing and lots of goodness. I must admit that cooking Asian food is not my forte, but I wanted to try my hands on this dish particularly. I tried, retried and re-retried and almost perfected myself in making Laksa. While the coconut milk lends the creaminess and sweetness to the dish, the “made from scratch” Laksa paste adds the much needed fieriness to the whole dish. The colorful medley of veggies provide the necessary nutrients. All this with a dash of lemon is sublime!
This soup reminded me of my mum’s tomato soup which she would load with noodles and veggies to make our meals more exciting. So just when you were pondering about what to cook next, my version of Laksa is here to spark up your weeknight dinners and a comfort laden weekend meal!
INGREDIENTS: (For 2 people)
For Laksa Paste:
- 4 garlic cloves
- 6 dried red chili, soaked in hot water for atleast 30 minutes (you can add more if you like the paste to be spicier)
- 1 fresh red chili
- 1 lemongrass stalk, chopped
- 1/2 tsp fresh turmeric root, roughly chopped (you can use ground turmeric instead)
- 1 medium red onion, roughly diced
- thumb of ginger or galangal, roughly chopped
- salt, to taste
- 400 ml coconut milk
- 150 – 200 ml water
- 1 cup broccoli florets, par boiled
- 1 medium sized red bell pepper, julinned
- 1 cup carrot, peeled and cut into circles and par boiled
- 6 – 7 pak choy leaves, cut into threads.
- 1 green onion, chopped
- 200 grams tofu, cut into cubes
- 100 grams button mushroom, cut into thick slices
- 1.5 cup cooked rice vermicelli, cooked according to packet instructions
- 1/2 cup cilantro
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tsp chili flakes
- 1 lemon, cut into wedges
- salt, to taste
- 2 tbsp roasted peanuts, for garnish
- 1/2 cup bean sprouts (optional)
- 1/3 cup french beans, cut into long pieces and slightly boiled (optional)
- 2 tbsp fresh thai basil leaves (optional)
- In a mixer grinder take all the ingredients for the Laksa paste along with 2 tbsp of water and make a smooth puree out of it. Do not use the water in which the dried red chilis were soaked.
- Once the paste is made, keep it aside.
- Take a saucepan and put 1 tbsp of oil in it and put it on medium heat. Add the entire Laksa paste and let the paste cook completely. You will know the paste is properly cooked once it starts to leave slight oil. This would take 8 – 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile take another pan on medium heat. Put the remaining oil. Add chili flakes and the white part of green onion and saute for a few seconds. Now add broccoli, carrots, french beans, bell pepper and mushrooms and saute until it starts to get slightly charred. Add salt and give it a good stir. Once cooked keep aside.
- Once the Laksa paste is cooked, add coconut milk and water and let the gravy simmer for 3 – 4 minutes.
- Add the diced tofu so that it soaks up some flavor of the curry. Let the curry simmer for atleast 5 minutes.
- To serve, first take a bowl and add some cooked rice vermicelli. Add some veggies and then pour the tofu and the coconut curry. Add some more veggies on the top.
- Garnish with lemon wedge, roasted peanuts, coriander leaves, spring onions and thai basil.