The beauty of laksa is that the teenage boy asks for it and happily eats any compatible vegetable I can add in: broccoli, carrot, bok choy, you name it. If it’s in laksa, he’ll eat it.
The laksa itself is easy to make: coconut cream, some coconut milk or evaporated milk, some veggies and other bits and, of course, laksa paste.
It’s taken a year or so, but we’ve finally managed to come up with our perfect laksa paste. By perfect, we mean it had to meet the taste standard set by various restaurants around town. I couldn’t tell you how authentic it is (I would be interested to hear from the Fiesta Friday crowd), but it meets the requirements of this family.
Is it worth showing a jar of paste? Well, it’s not really very beautiful looking, but I guess I should show off the result to prove I really did it.
For the paste
- 1 stalk of lemon grass
- 1 small onion
- 2 centimeters of ginger (galangal would be better, but it;s hard to find)
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 4 chillies
- 1 tablespoon of coriander stalks
- ½ to 1 teaspoon of turmeric
- ½ teaspoon of ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon of paprika
- a little oil (we use olive oil for various food tolerance reasons)
- ½ tablespoon of shrimp paste
For the soup
- 1 tin of coconut cream (we use the Ayam cream because all it has in it is coconut)
- some milk: coconut milk, evaporated milk, or even full cream dairy milk if that’s all we have
- vegetables: broccoli, carrot and bok choy are favourites
- bean sprouts (an essential ingredient in our house)
- coriander (and lots of it when it’s about to bolt in the veggie garden)
Make the paste
- Roughly chop some of the larger stalks into a size your blender can handle.
- Pop everything together in the blender and blend it into a fine paste, adding a little oil only if you need to.
- Store the result in a jar in the fridge and use as required.
Assemble the soup
- Chop all your veggies.
- Read the instructions on the noodle packet and follow them so your noodles are ready by the time the soup is done.
- In a large saucepan or wok, stir a good dollop of laksa paste with the entire tin of coconut milk. Stir this around to mix it, then add the veggies. Don’t add the leaves of bok choy just yet. You don’t want to overcook them.
- Add enough of the other milk for the veggies to cook in. Simmer very slowly until the carrot is just tender. Stir in the leaves of the bok choy and simmer for just long enough to cook it through.
- Assemble the laksa: Put the noodles in the bottom, pour over the soup and veggies, top with bean sprouts and coriander.
- Enjoy as your boy happily eats his veggies.