Laksa

Wow it’s been busy! For those of you who don’t know, I work in public health. I specifically do preparedness. When disease outbreaks happen, we go into action. This means very intense work. Emergency preparedness is not for the faint of heart. However, it is rewarding work. We will figure out this current coronavirus outbreak, but until then, it will be busy. This means when I go home to cook this week, I don’t want anything overly complicated to make. The recipe this week is for Laksa, which is a Malaysian soup. I was inspired by Marion’s Kitchen on YouTube. She is half Thai and half Austrailian. She does a lot of asian-inspired dishes. For this dish there are a lot of ingredients, but they all go together quickly. I took a recipe from [website] and was ready to give it a makeover. Plenty of salty ingredients, but also lots of fresh ones too. The recipe also says at the bottom how you can add and delete many of the ingrediants. Sounds good to me. I’m looking to also make this vegetarian as well. Here are the original stats:

Here’s what I changed:

  • I deleted the added salt to reduce the sodium
  • I replaced the chicken broth with a low sodium vegetable broth.
  • I removed the shrimp, shrimp paste, dried shrimp and chicken breast and replaced with tofu to make the dish vegetarian.
  • I reduced the amount of oil to save calories
  • I reduced the noodles by half to reduce the calories.
  • I replaced the full fat coconut milk with a light variety to reduce the calories.
  • I added red bell pepper to increase the vitamin C.
  • I added carrots to increase the vitamin A.
  • I added snow peas for more texture and bulk

Here are the final stats:

Here is the final recipe:

20200209_164322[1]

Laksa

Serves 11

  • 1 tablespoons vegetable oil 
  • 1 recipe for Laksa Paste (see below)
  • 6 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 8 kefir lime leaves or zest of one lime
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 14 ounce packages of extra-firm tofu, pressed and cubed
  • 2 cans of light coconut milk
  • Juice from 1–2 limes
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 3–4 cups fresh bean sprouts
  • 1/2 pound dry rice noodles
  • 1 pound snow peas
  • 4 red bell peppers, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  1. Cook rice noodles according to directions. Set aside.
  2. In a large heavy bottom soup pot or dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add the vegetables and saute until soft.  Add all the homemade Laksa Paste  and saute, stirring constantly until it becomes very fragrant and deep in color about 2-3 minutes. (Turn stove fan on). Add the broth scraping up all the brown bits.  Add the lime leaves and sugar and bring to a simmer.
  3. Add the tofu and simmer for 10 minutes, add coconut milk. Simmer until heated through. Do not boil this too long or you will loose the lovely sweetness from the coconut milk– just gently warm.
  4. Add lime juice, starting with a 1 lime, and more to taste. Add fish sauce to taste, adding a teaspoon at a time. The broth should taste rich and deep, and slightly salty (the noodles will mellow the salt out) and just a little limey. If it tastes, too “fishy” add more lime juice. Guests can squeeze more lime to taste. If you want more heat, add chili flakes or chili paste.
  5. Divide the cooked rice noodles among bowls. Ladle flavorful soup over top of noodles. Top bowls with a handful of fresh bean sprouts, fresh cilantro and/or mint.  Serve with chili sauce and lime wedges.

Laksa Paste

  • 3–5 dried red chilies, ( 3 is medium spicy)
  • 3–5 shallots (about 1 cup) roughly chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 3 tablespoons galanga – finely chopped
  • 2 large lemongrass stocks – finely chopped (1/2 cup chopped) – feel free to use frozen chopped lemongrass at the Asian market.
  • 2 teaspoons fresh turmeric (optional, and ground is OK, too)
  • 6 candlenuts or substitute 12 soaked cashews, brazil nuts or macadamia nuts (soak in hot water 15 mins- optional- you can leave the nuts out)
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

To make Laksa Paste: Steep dried chilies in a bowl of boiling water for 20 minutes.  Prep and place all the other ingredients, except the oil in a food processor. Chop well. Drain chilies and add to food processor. Blend until very finely chopped, scraping down sides as needed. The finer, the better. Add oil and continue blending until it becomes a fine paste. 

3 thoughts on “Laksa

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