Curry Laksa is one of my all time favourite dishes. Unfortunately Malaysian Restaurants can be hard to come by, especially in smaller cities like St John's and Victoria. Finding a plant friendly option for this soup is also challenging, given that it is typically made with chicken stock, chicken and often seafood. A few years ago, I tracked down a recipe in a book called Meals in a Bowl. The recipe was good, but I decided to play around with it a bit. I wanted to make it extra special, as I was making this as part of a belated birthday lunch for my Dad this week.
We lived in Malaysia when I was really little, and this was one of his staple lunch dishes while working in Kuala Lumpur. This probably explains why my comfort foods include spicy staples like Hot & Sour Soup, and Tom Yum, as I acquired a taste for spicy foods at a very young age. This curry paste recipe has a long list of ingredients, but including them all contributes to a very tasty final product!
Curry Paste Ingredients
4 stalks lemongrass, sliced and crushed
4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1 inch fresh turmeric, peeled and roughly chopped (or 1 tsp dried)
3 shallots, peeled and roughly chopped
1/4 cup almond meal
3 serrano chilies (can be subbed for jalapeno or thai chilies for more heat)
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1/4 tsp ground peppercorn
1/4 tsp ground star anise
1 tsp coriander seed
1 tsp coconut sugar
1/4 cup fresh cilantro stems and leaves
6 keffir lime leaves
2' piece burdock, peeled and roughly chopped
1/4 c avocado oil
2 tbsp water
2 Tbsp avocado oil
3 cups mixed mushrooms (I used shitake, oyster and king oyster)
6 cups Nourishing Vegetable Stock (or vegetable stock of choice)
2 cans organic coconut milk
1 block fried tofu (or protein of choice)
1/4 cup tamari
1 lime, juiced
2 packages udon (or for a gluten free option, rice and millet ramen)
1 package rice vermicelli
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, thinly sliced
1/4 cup fresh mint, thinly sliced
6 scallions, thinly sliced
1 lime, sliced into wedges
Handful mung bean sprouts, or sprouts of choice
1 tbsp avocado oil
3 thai chilies, thinly sliced
4 serrano chilies, thinly sliced
1 jalapeno, thinly sliced
If using whole spices, grind in a spice grinder until ground. Combine all paste ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth. I used a Nutribullet and found it worked really well. Warm avocado oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add mixed mushrooms and sauté until mushrooms are soft and moisture has evaporated.
Add Curry Laksa Curry paste and stir to combine. Sauté for couple of minutes, until fragrant. Add vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer, and let cook for 10 minutes. Add coconut milk, and bring to a low simmer. Add tofu, and let cook for another 10 minutes. Remove from heat and add tamari and lime juice. While the stock is cooking, prep the udon (or gluten free ramen) and rice noodles according to package directions.
Add equal amounts of the two types of noodles to large soup bowls. Thinly slice cilantro, mint and scallions, and mix to combine. Warm avocado oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Sauté thai, serrano & jalapeño chilies until soft. Ladle Curry Laksa over the noodles. Serve with the herb blend, a wedge of lime and some of the chili blend (optional) to taste. Mung bean sprouts (or other sprouts of choice) are also lovely with this, I didn't have any on hand so they didn't make it into the picture!
Are you a fan of Malaysian Cuisine, and if so, what is your favourite dish?