Saturday, December 6, 2014

Laksa Soup

Laksa is a spicy Noodle Soup from Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia.  It is a part of Peranakan cuisine which is a combination of Chinese and Malay cuisine. The variants of Laksa include Curry Laksa , Asam Laksa, Nyonya Laksa, Thai Laksa, etc.  (Source: Wikipedia) 

The original Laksa being completely non-vegetarian, I have derived this Laksa recipe on my own out of the multiple recipes read on various websites. In this recipe, I have substituted the 'Shrimp Paste' with Black Bean Sauce, 'Candle-nuts' with Cashew Nuts etc. to make an Indian Vegetarian version of Laksa. Also, I have also added few ingredients like Spring Onions, Mushrooms which are not used in the original recipes, but goes well with the Laksa Soup. 

Servings : Approx. 4-6 servings
Approx. Time : 1 hour (including pre-preparation)

For the Laksa paste:
2 sliced Onions (large)
1 tbspn chopped Garlic 
1 tbspn Galangal paste or Ginger paste
2 tspns lemongrass white stem
10-15 Fresh Coriander Stems
4-5 Basil leaves
4-5 dried red chillies (soaked in water)
10-15 Cashew Nuts (soaked in water)
1/2 tspn Turmeric Powder
1 tspn Black Bean Sauce
Water, if required.

For Laksa Soup:
4 tbspns vegetable oil
spice paste (as prepared) 
4 cups Vegetable stock
7-8 Basil leaves (or Mint leaves)
1 tspn Gram Masala powder (Or Curry Powder)
1 tbspn Sugar
salt to taste
1 tbspn Black Bean Sauce
5-6 Button Mushrooms (chopped)
5-6 Fried Tofu 
2 cups thick coconut milk 
2 tbspns Spring Onion Greens
1 lemon Juice

To Serve with
Boiled noodles 
Parboiled Bean sprouts
Deep fried Tofu

For Garnishing:
Lemon wedges
Finely chopped Spring Onion Greens

Deep frying of Tofu Slices  
Take 200 gms Tofu and slice it into small cubes. Toss the sliced tofu in a mixture of Soy Sauce, Vinegar, and Sesame oil and rest it for few minutes. Then sprinkle some Corn flour over it. Ensure that the Tofu slices are coated with the Corn flour. Deep fry the Tofu slices in hot Oil till it is golden brown in colour. Remove and drain on paper towels.

Cooking of Noodles:
Cook the noodles in salted water as per the instructions given on the packet. Drain and pour a teaspoon of Oil so that the Noodles do not stick to each other. 

Parboiling Bean Sprouts:
To cook the Bean sprouts, add the Bean Sprouts in salted boiling water for about a minute. Then drain it and  immediately pour cold water over it. 

To make the Laksa paste:
Take all the ingredients for Laksa paste in a grinder and grind it into a coarse paste. Add some water if required for grinding.

To make Laksa:
Take Oil in a pan and saute the ground paste till the raw flavor of the paste goes away. Ensure continuous stirring to avoid burning of the paste. 

Once the paste is cooked, add the Vegetable stock and simmer. Thereafter, add the Basil leaves, Garam Masala or Curry Powder, Sugar, Black Bean Sauce, Salt, Mushrooms, Fried Tofu and cook for 2 more minutes. Add the coconut milk and simmer for 2 more minutes on medium flame. Also add some Spring Onion Greens and turn off the flame.  Finally add the lemon juice to the Laksa. 

To assemble Laksa:
To assemble Laksa, take a Serving Bowl and place the noodles in it. Then arrange some Bean sprouts and Fried Tofu and ladle the Laksa Soup into the bowl. Garnish it with Spring Onion Greens and lemon wedges. Serve hot.

1. In the Vegetable Stock, along with the other vegetables you may add Lemon Grass and Basil to enhance the flavor of Laksa.
2. You may also use the raw Bean Sprouts instead of boiling it.
3. Do not overheat the Soup once the Coconut milk is added as the Soup may curdle.
4. Parboiled Baby Corns, Carrots, French Beans etc. may also be added as per the choice.
5. I have used Hakka Noodles, however you may use Rice Noodles in place of Hakka Noodles.
6. The consistency of the Soup may be altered by increasing or reducing the quantity of Vegetable stock.

Step-wise Pictorial:

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