I've been wanting to make laksa for some time now, but 'exotic' ingredients, like rice noodles, are often hard to come by in this neck of the woods. Let alone, laksa paste or lemongrass. So most of the time improvising is on the agenda. But that is okay, because I'm an improvisatrice extraordinaire, even if I do say so myself.
I can't think of a time that I have ever had the honour of eating laksa, but looking at recipes on the web, I could 'imagine' the flavours. A choice had to be made though, last Monday, whether it was going to be a fish based, chicken or vegetarian laksa. I opted for this recipe from BBC GoodFood .
While I had foraged the not-too-far shops over the last month or so, I had most ingredients in the house, except for laksa paste or Thai red curry paste, but in the freezer was a small (very small) plastic container with homemade Malaysian curry paste
Here is how I set to work.
Ingredients - serves 3 as a main course
- sunflower oil, 2 to 3 tbsp
- butternut squash, the neck only, peeled and cut into 1.5 to 2 cm cubes
- courgette, one that has been laying around the kitchen for a while (but you can use a fresh and firm one too), de-seeded and cut into similar size cubes as squash
- laksa, Thai red or homemade Malaysian curry paste, 2 to 3 tbsp.
- lemongrass stir-in paste, a squirt
- 1 tin of coconut milk, 400 ml
- chicken stock, 600 ml, more or less ( can be made from a stock cube)
- rice noodles, 150 gr, soaked in boiling water and drained (according to the BBC Good Food website). Don't use this cr*p, because they become too mushy :
- fresh beansprouts, 300 gr
- salmon, 300 gr, sliced or cut into chunks
- king prawns, the frozen kind, but defrosted. 1 handful (a shovel sized hand)
- fish sauce, a splash
- juice of half a lime
- chilli, red or green or yellow, as many as you like and as hot as you can stand, sliced into rings
- a small bunch of coriander, roughly chopped.
- 3 spring onions, sliced on the diagonal.
- Heat the oil in a pan and sautee the butternut squash for 5 minutes
- Add courgettes and cook for another 5 minutes while regularly stirring.
- Spoon in the paste of your choice, together with the lemongrass squirt and coat the vegetables, cook for a few minutes.
- Pour in the coconut milk and stock, simmer for 10 minutes
- Add noodles, beansprouts and fish, simmer for another 2 minutes or till the salmon has lost its translucency.
- A splash of fish sauce.
- Turn off the heat and add the prawns. If you use the kind I used they are already cooked and just need heating through.
- Stir in the lime juice, some of the coriander, chilli and spring onions, keeping some behind to sprinkle over the served dish.
And there you have it. It tasted just as heavenly as I imagined.
If by any chance my recipe scares you, I won't be offended if you use the one from the Good Food website. Well, maybe just a little bit.