Beansprouts add crunch to Laksa
A couple of months ago one of my food magazines featured a photo on the cover of Laksa, a Malaysian soup popular in Singapore. And then, as so often happens, I came across a couple more recipes, and by Saturday, when I visited Borough Market, I was convinced I had to try a vegetarian version of Laksa.
I found most of the ingredients at the market, except for rice noodles. Luckily my local shop carries those, and I had red curry paste and coconut milk. I used water-packed, Chinese-style tofu, but didn’t deep fry it as some recipes call for. Although I could see where the taste and texture of fried tofu might be nice, I didn’t want to go to the trouble, or waste the calories on deep frying tofu. (Isn’t there something a bit incongruous about the words “deep fry” and “tofu”?)
Next time, I’ll try adding another vegetable for variety. Maybe eggplant (aubergine) or butternut squash (pre-cooked), or zucchini (courgette). I would also use low-fat coconut milk, as the full fat variety didn’t seem necessary in this full flavoured soup.
Laksa would also make a nice starter for an Asian meal, especially if you leave out the tofu and serve it in smaller bowls. It took about a half hour to make, including the time for prepping the ingredients and making the stock. (I made this stock with a goodly amount of mint leaves, which are also used as garnish.)
I served this in wide, flat bowls, because I wanted plenty of room on the top for the garnishes. We filled our bowls more than once, though, and still had a bit leftover for lunch.
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons red curry paste
1 can coconut milk
4 cups vegetable stock (made with mint leaves)
1 teaspoon tamari (unless you’re using salted vegetable stock)
8 ounces firm tofu, cubed in ½ inch pieces
1 bunch green onions, chopped into 1-inch long pieces
1 cup mangetout (snow peas), sliced lengthwise
Juice of 1 lime
Rice noodles (half a package was enough)
1 cup bean sprouts
In a large deep skillet or wok, heat olive oil. Add curry paste and stir. Whisk in coconut milk and stock, simmer for 5 minutes.
Add tofu, simmer another 5 minutes.
Now is a good time to prepare the rice noodles: Place noodles in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Let sit for five minutes and drain, or if ready to serve, lift noodles directly into serving bowls.
To the soup, add green onions, mangetout, and lime juice, and simmer for 5 minutes.
Remove from heat.
Pour laksa over the rice noodles, and top with bean sprouts, chopped coriander, mint, and a few whole basil leaves. Serve with additional lime wedges.