If you haven’t guessed by now I’m a big fan of soup. Nothing tastes better on a cold winters night than a bowl of home made soup. Another one of my favorite foods is curry. Thai, Indian, it doesn’t matter! Hit me with some heat and fragrant spices and I’m like butter in your hand. So what happens when 2 of my favorite foods show up in one dish??? Laksa!
Laksa is a popular dish in Malaysia and Singapore. My husband, who loves laksa, refers to it as the messy soup. It’s true that you may not want to order it on a first date. It’s a soup. But it’s also noodles. Long noodles. So you can imagine that the chin sees a bit of drip and dribble every now and then. But that’s why God invented napkins.
This recipe calls for chicken but you can easily replace it with shrimp or a firm fish or just load up on the veggies. Like so many Asian dishes you can be quite versatile with what you add to it. This is a great, healthy mid-week fix for dinner and you can satisfy the whole family by omitting the chile during the cooking process and just sprinkling the adult bowls with it while serving for a bit of extra punch.
- ½ red chili, seeds removed
- 2 stalks of lemongrass, roughly chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled
- 3 cm/1 inch piece of ginger, peeled
- 240 g/8 oz pad thai noodles
- 1 teaspoon olive or groundnut oil
- ½ large onion, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 12 oz/350g boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
- 400 ml/14 oz can of coconut milk
- 2 kaffir lime leaves
- 400 ml/ 14 oz vegetable stock
- 1 Tablespoon Fish Sauce
- Juice of 1 lime (about 2 tablespoons)
- 1 red pepper, cut in julienne
- 120 g/4 oz bean sprouts
- 100 g/ 3 oz snow peas or sugar snaps, thinly sliced on the diagonal
- 1 spring onion/scallion, thinly sliced
1 large handful of coriander/cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
- 1 small handful of cashews or peanuts roughly chopped (optional)
- Place the chili, lemongrass, garlic and ginger in a food processor and blend until a paste forms.
- Place the Pad Thai noodles in a large bowl and pour boiling water over the noodles. Allow to sit until pliable but still a bit firm to bite. This takes about 10 minutes. Drain the noodles.
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan and gently fry the paste along with the onion for about 4 minutes until the onion is soft. Add the coriander, turmeric, cumin and chicken and sauté another minute or so, until fragrant and the chicken is coated in the spices and slightly sealed.
- Add the coconut milk, lime leaves and vegetable stock and bring to a simmer and allow to simmer for a few minutes to allow flavors to develop and chicken to cook through.
- Finish off the broth with the fish sauce and lime juice.
- Add the drained rice noodles to the laksa broth along with the pepper, bean sprouts, snow peas, and spring onion.
- Immediately before serving stir in the coriander/cilantro and top each serving with a small sprinkling of nuts (optional).