Keen to know what I’ve been eating all weekend? Well, this. No kidding, three days in a row! I am known to do this, once I stumble upon a recipe that ticks all my boxes and brings immense joy to the tummy, I just go full out and eat it until…well, until hubs insists I change it up. And when that doesn’t work (it rarely does, because tummy trumps reason), he kindly reminds me I have a blog to keep and for that I must absolutely continue to play in the kitchen and create other recipes. That almost always works.
Temperatures are taking a dive in Perth these days. Mornings are brrrr. Evenings are even colder. And with these changes, my body is beginning to ask for more and more warming foods in the evening. Tis the season for soups (hot or raw but still warm), stews, warm noodles bowls (raw or cooked), spicy porridge and roasted chestnuts. Oh, and spiced milky chai drinks. Yuuum.
Last Friday, a dire craving for laksa struck me and struck me bad. And because every time I dine out for laksa it almost always ends up with a tummy ache, I took it upon myself to make some for the very first time. You must understand the magnitude of this endeavour: I am not familiar with Malaysian cuisine, with its ingredients, methods of preparation nor flavour combinations. I was so out of my comfort zone that I actually had to do few hours of proper research! And yet, I was very much in my comfort zone because I was doing something I love: cooking and having fun while cooking.
Some of you might ask why I didn’t simply go for an already made laksa paste that I would just simply spice up a bit, mix with veggie stock and coconut milk and call it dinner. Well, after 40 minutes spent in the store, reading each single laksa paste ingredient list, let me tell you that there isn’t any I would eagerly spend my money on. None is vegan and to boot they all have additives or preservatives of some sorts. To be expected. But please don’t be put off by the idea of making your own laksa paste from scratch. I was scared at the beginning too, but only to realise how easy and fun it can be, and rewarding beyond expectations! The tastiest, the most nutritious and 100% wholesome and homemade. Nothing beats that!
If you have some extra minutes, try making the paste in a mortar and pestle, it is far better than using a blender, as the recipe calls for. By slowly grinding the ingredients in a mortar, all the oils will be released and I imagine you’d get an even richer, full bodied taste.
Now enough chit chat. This is one gorgeous recipe that I hope will become a staple in your homes as well. xx
My awesome vegan laksa
- 5 chilies of your choice (as hot as you want them), stemmed and seeded if you want
- 4 red shallots (small onions), peeled and quartered
- 2 TBSP roughly chopped ginger
- 3 big garlic cloves
- 3 coriander roots, cleaned really well
- 2 large lemongrass stalks (white part only), trimmed and chopped
- handful of cashews (or macadamia if allergic to cashews)
- 1 TBSP coriander seeds (whole)
- 1 TBSP cumin seeds (whole)
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 TBSP turmeric (fresh or powder)
- 4 TBSP tomato paste (totally not traditional, but I love it in this recipe)
- Laksa paste
- 4 TBSP coconut oil
- 1.5 L veggie stock
- 1 TBSP raw sugar
- 400 ml coconut milk (1 tin)
- 5 Kaffir lime leaves
- 1 TBSP soy sauce or tamari
- Bean sprouts
- For 1 serving, a handful each: rice laksa noodles, zucchini noodles, carrot noodles
- coriander leaves
- lime wedges
- toasted sesame seeds
- Add coriander and cumin seeds in a small pan on low heat and slightly toast them for 1-2 minutes, careful not to burn them.
- Set aside and allow to cool.
- Once cooled, add them to a mortar and pestle and grind them finely.
- Add all ingredients for the laksa paste to a blender and process until you get a fine paste. Should take around a minute. Scoop into a bowl.
- Heat your pot and add the laksa paste with the coconut oil. Stir through and cook for 2-3 minutes until hot and fragrant.
- Add the veggie stock, sugar, coconut milk, lime leaves and soy sauce, give it a good stir, cover and bring to a boil.
- Lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes, covered.
- Meanwhile, bring another pot of water to a boil and cook your rice noodles per package instructions. When ready, drain and rinse with cold water. Place in the serving bowl.
- Make your zucchini and carrot noodles and place in the serving bowl too.
- Top with bean sprouts and when laksa is ready, pour 3-4 ladles on top of the noodles in the serving dish.
- Top with coriander and sesame, squeeze fresh lime and enjoy hot.
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All plant based whole foods.