Chatting to my good friend Lizard recently, she told me she’d made a chicken Laksa for dinner. This gave me the inspiration to reach for that jar of Laksa paste whilst browsing the gourmet food aisle at Knights Meats last week.
This prawn Laksa is the quickest and easiest soup you can make and although I hardly ever have fresh coriander and bean sprouts in the fridge, you can buy all of the ingredients at the supermarket. I often keep frozen prawns in the freezer for dishes such as this and you can make it as mild or as spicy as you like.
The one thing that bugs me though is that I hate throwing away the leftover bean sprouts. They’re sold in such large packs and although not expensive, they go off so quickly and I never seem to find ways to use them up. So I’m throwing it out there. If you’ve got some clever ideas for using bean sprouts – please do share.
And when cheating and using store bought curry paste, I always add some fresh ingredients to help it along a bit (think garlic, ginger and chilli). I make a habit too of checking what the ingredients are in the paste; I find it helps me to understand the dish better if I know whats in it. If that makes sense?
So thanks for the inspo Liz. Just wish you were here to eat it with us. Nothing goes down better with a steaming hot bowl of spicy Laksa than a cold beer.
And I know how fond you are of those.
cheats prawn laksa (serves 2ish)
100 grams of vermicelli noodles
2 x tablespoons of Laksa paste*
1 x small brown onion, finely chopped
2 x garlic cloves, crushed
1 x small piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
3 x cups of chicken stock (I use chicken stock powder diluted in boiling water)
1 x 400 gram tin of coconut milk
A dash of fish sauce
Juice of half a lemon, plus extra wedges to serve
1 x teaspoon of brown sugar (use palm sugar if you have it)
200 grams of frozen peeled green prawns**
Handful of snow peas, finely sliced
Bean sprouts, to garnish
Fresh coriander, to garnish
Fresh chilli, to garnish
A dash of olive oil
- Place the vermicelli noodles in a large mixing bowl and cover with boiling water from the kettle. Pop a plate over the top and let the noodles cook for about 5-8 minutes or until soft. Strain the noodles and place in the bottom of the serving bowls.
- Meanwhile, add a dash of oil to a saucepan and sauté the onion until softened. Add the garlic and ginger and continue to cook for another minute or so.
- Next, add the curry paste and stir, cooking it until the smell of the Laksa paste fills the kitchen.
- Carefully, add the stock to the saucepan (standing back as it will spit) and stir.
- Add the coconut milk, fish sauce, lemon juice and brown sugar.
- Bring this to the boil and then back it off and let it simmer for about 10 minutes. (Taste the soup to see if it needs more lemon juice or some salt).
- Now, simply add the prawns and snow peas and poach them in the liquid until cooked. (You know the prawns are cooked when they’ve turned pink and have plumped up nicely – taste one! The snow peas don’t need long either – you don’t want them to become all mushy.)
- Using a soup ladle, spoon the soup over the noodles in the serving bowls and garnish with a generous amount of bean sprouts, coriander and chilli.
- Serve with extra lemon wedges too if you like.
- *Obviously use less if you don’t have a very high tolerance to chilli.
- **If you can get fresh prawns – then go for it. Buying prawns fresh where you peel them yourself is always better.
- You could also add cooked chicken breast or some tofu puffs to this Laksa.
- Fried shallots also make for a nice garnish and add a lovely little crunch to the dish.
- It’s a bit random adding a chopped onion to a Laksa soup but I really like the flavour it brings. And it’s much easier than blitzing it in a food processor to add to the paste.
- Similarly it’s not authentic to add snow peas to a Laksa soup, but I like to bulk up the vege and find them so easy as they take the same amount of time to cook as the prawns.
This is just a guide. Be as creative as you like and please share in the comments below with any variations you make. Enjoy.
If you make this laksa, please leave your comments below. xx