Sunday, June 18, 2017

My Recipe Box - A Malaysian Coconut Curry Soup

June 2017 - Toronto ON

I am obsessed with Asian food these days. I just love the flavours and the freshness of the ingredients. This coconut curry soup was absolutely delicious and we forgot to get a photo of it plated.
For this recipe I made a trip to Chinatown, always an adventure. We have several Chinatowns in Toronto but my favourite is on Spadina in downtown.
Wikipedia decribes laksa as:
Laksa is a popular spicy noodle soup in the Peranakan cuisine. Laksa consists of rice noodles or rice vermicelli with chicken, prawn or fish, served in spicy soup; either based on rich and spicy curry coconut milk, or based on sour asam (tamarind or gelugur). It can be found in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, and Southern Thailand.

The paste is the heart of this dish and I enjoyed making it from scratch! Laksa paste is basically lemongrass, chilies, shallots, galanga, turmeric, spices and dried shrimp all blended up in the food processor, then sauteed in a pot with a little oil to deepen the flavor.
I did come across the jarred version in Chinatown so it is easy to find.

I have marked any adjustments/changes in red below. I used what I had on hand.
I did find lemongrass powder at the Bulk Barn on the same trip to Chinatown which will be handy.

Laksa Soup - A Malaysian Coconut Curry Soup

Serves: 4-6


3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 recipe for Laksa Paste (see below) or 1 Jar of Prepared Laksa Paste
6 cups chicken stock or broth
1 tablespoon palm or brown sugar
1½ pounds chicken (breast or thigh meat) cut into bite-sized pieces
1 pound raw large shrimp (peeled )
2 cups thick coconut milk (do not use “lite”)
12 fish balls (optional - available in the frozen section of the Asian Market) I didn't use as I wasn't sure if they were gluten free
1-2 cups fried tofu- (optional- available in the refrigerated section at the Asian market) sliced didn't use because we don't like it.
3-4 cups fresh bean sprouts
1- 1½ pounds fresh thin rice noodles (refrigerated section at the Asian market) I bought dried at the grocery store on another day prior to going to Chinatown.
Lime Juice to taste ( 1-2 limes)
Fish Sauce to taste

Garnishes: lime wedges, cilantro, Vietnamese mint, sambal chili paste, fried shallots (available in jars at Asian market) I used lime wedges, cliantro and fresh scallions. 

Homemade Laksa Paste
4-5 dried red chilies I used 3 fresh red Thai chilies
2 tablespoons dried shrimp (available at Asian Markets) bought in Chinatown
5 shallots (about 1 cup) roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons galanga - finely chopped I used ginger
2 large lemongrass stocks - finely chopped (1/2 cup chopped) - find frozen chopped lemongrass at the Asian market. I used fresh 
1 teaspoon fresh turmeric (or ground is OK, too)
6 candle nuts or substitute cashews, brazil nuts or macadamia (optional- you can leave the nuts out) I used cashews
1 tablespoon shrimp paste (or shrimp sauce)
2 teaspoons coriander
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
3 tablespoons vegetable oil

To make Laksa Paste: Seep dried chilies and dried shrimp in boiling water for 20 minutes. Prep and place all the other ingredients, except oil in a food processor. Drain shrimp and chilies and add to food processor. Blend until finely chopped, scraping down sides as needed. Add oil and continue blending until it becomes a fine paste. Don’t let the smell or taste scare you. It will all balance out in the end.
I was glad that she noted not to worry about the smell or taste as it was true!


Make the Laksa paste (or use store-bought). See notes below.
In a large heavy bottom soup pot or dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium high heat. 
Add all the Laksa Paste, and saute, stirring constantly until it becomes very fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. (turn stove fan on).
Add chicken broth and sugar.
Bring to a boil. Add chicken, lower heat to aS simmer, and cook for 4 minutes. Add shrimp. Cook for 1-2 minutes, add coconut milk, fish balls and tofu. Simmer until heated through.
Squeeze lime juice, starting with a ½ a lime, and more to taste.
Add fish sauce to taste, adding a teaspoon at a time.
In a separate pot, heat enough water to cover the fresh rice noodles. Once water is boiling add the rice noodles, turn heat off, and let rice noodles stand, heating up for 2 minutes, drain. Since I had dried, I did some research and found that I could simply drop them into the soup.
Divide noodles among bowls. Ladle soup over top of noodles. Top bowls with an handful of fresh bean sprouts, fresh cilantro and mint and a sprinkling of crispy shallots. Serve with chili sauce and lime wedges. 

1 comment:

  1. I tend to find that places in our Chinatown will often have a mural on part of the building too.


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