16 years ago I was living in Australia and attending University. I worked in downtown Sydney near the Queen Victoria Building. Around the corner from my work was a fantastic little Malaysian Restaurant on George Street. They made the most incredible Laksa in the whole city. People swooned over it. While I can’t pretend I’ve created an exact replica of their recipe, this comes pretty close and has the bonus of being veganized.
Note: Real Laksa contains lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, galangal, shrimp paste and candlenuts, none of which are easily available in my little community. Restaurants are also notorious for using dairy milk in the recipe to stretch it and cut the cost of the coconut milk. Obviously I’m not gonna use dairy milk or shrimp paste and I’ve improvised with the other ingredients to make a dish that most people can recreate at home with ingredients found at their local supermarket.
- 1 can full fat coconut milk
- 4 C. vegetable stock
- 1 carrot, julliened
- 1/4 head roughly chopped cabbage
- few leaves bok choy, torn into pieces
- 2 T. fresh ginger, shaved with a vegetable peeler
- 2 minced garlic cloves
- zest and juice of 1 lime
- 1 t. to 1 T. sriracha or red curry powder/paste (depending on heat preference)
- 1 oz. yellow noodles (can use udon or thin spaghetti)
- 1 oz. thin rice noodles
- 1 T. agave
- 2 C. water
- 1 C. raw cashews (replaces the candlenuts) soak these for a few hours if you don’t have a power blender
- 2 T. bragg’s liquid aminos, soy sauce or tamari
- sea salt, to taste
- 1 block tofu, pressed and cubed
- 4 diced scallions, for garnish
- basil/mint leaves for garnish
- hot chili oil or sambal olek chili paste for garnish
Method: Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place the cubed tofu on a baking sheet lined with a silpat or parchment paper. Sprinkle with a bit of salt if desired. Cook for 20-25 minutes until crispy, turning once. While tofu is baking, cook yellow noodles and rice noodles according to package directions, drain and set aside. Blend cashews, water and red curry powder/paste until completely smooth. Add coconut milk, spiced cashew liquid and vegetable stock to a large pot. Heat over medium high heat. Add all the vegetables, spices and seasonings, except those used for garnish. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, until veggies are just crisp/tender. Remove from heat. Divide noodles between 4-6 bowls. Ladle the soup over the noodles, garnish with pieces of the baked tofu, the basil/mint, scallions and the chili paste.