This month I bought Cook Vegetarian for the first time, I had never noticed it before but, boy am I happy I bought it. There are so many yummy things in there that I want to try. I'm strictly omnivorous, but it seem to enjoy having all-veggie dishes on some days and then totally feast on meat on others. I'm not the type to just have a little bit of meat with everything every day.
But I have a friend who's a vegetarian and she came over for a late dinner one night, so I was looking for something quick to make for her. I didn't remember if she ate cheese and dairy or was strictly vegan, so I opted for a safe dish from the magazine that I had my eye on anyway. And that's how I made my first ever Laksa. It's one of Rachel Allen's recipes and I stuck with it pretty much, just made some substitutions where I couldn't find the ingredients, for example hers was all green as she used sugar snap peas, but I couldn't find any so I ended up buying a frozen Asian mix that had some in it.
~75 g thin rice noodles
1 red chilli, deseeded, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
a knob of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1 stick of lemongrass ( I couldn't get my hands on any, so I had to leave that out)
a large bunch of fresh coriander
juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp of sesame seed oil
~200 ml coconut milk
~400 ml vegetable stock
1 tbsp of soy sauce
~150 g pack of frozen julienned veggies (mine had mushrooms, sugar snap peas, carrot and leek in it I think)
~70 g bean sprouts
a small bunch of green onions, chopped
Place the chopped chillies, garlic, ginger and coriander (save some leaves) and the juice of one lime in a food processor and grind to a paste.
Heat the sesame oil in a large pan or a pot and fry the paste on medium heat for a couple of minutes. Add the coconut milk, stock and the soy sauce. Bring to a boil, then quickly reduce the heat and simmer for ~10 minutes.
Place the noodles in a large bowl and pour over some boiling water to cover so that the water comes up about 2 cm above the noodles. Leave to soak for about 3-4 minutes, drain.
Add the veggies and the bean sprouts to the simmering stock and simmer for 2-3 more minutes, until the veggies are almost done, but still a little crunchy.
Check the taste and add more lime juice or soy sauce if necessary.
Divide the noodles between bowls and ladle the how soup over.
Scatter with some coriander leaves.
I absolutely loved it, I'll definitely be making it again, it's so fresh and fragrant and the kitchen smells lovely while you're cooking it. It's a bit tricky to handle the chillies and your baby (if you have one) at the same time, but if you plan the diversions ahead, it's doable :D
I was afraid it might be too spicy in the beginning when I got a whiff of the ground fresh chilly paste, but it reduced in spiciness considerably with the frying and the cooking. Actually I maybe would even have wished it was a tad bit spicier. A note to self for the future.
Anywhoo, good good good it was :D. Trust me on that one.