Laksa!


Perfect for a rainy day

I’d got this packet of Laksa paste from a friend who’d just returned from Singapore and I was dying to use it. Even though this paste was for a fried rice, I decided to give it some twist to make this dish that I’d fallen in love with during a trip to Singapore. 
Before we get on to making Laksa, here’s something about this dish: Laksa is originally a Malaysian dish, while some debate that it could be Thai as well, and it is found mostly in Malaysia and Singapore. There are two types of Laksa – one is a clear soup served with fish ball and the other is an aromatic, spicy soup with noodles, vegetables and seafood. Sometimes, boiled chicken or even eggs are added to this dish. This is often eaten for breakfast and washed down with a cup of sticky, sweet tea. 
200 gm of Laksa paste
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 cucumber, peeled and chopped, it isn’t necessary to use this but I had one ready so I just decided to toss it in as well
1 cup of sprouts
1/2 cup of coconut milk
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
100gms of tofu
250 gms of noodles, boiled as per instructions on the packed
Boiled chicken/ fish or prawns
1/2 cup of caramelised onions, I just did them in the oven
If you can’t get your hands on a Laksa paste, then grind the following together
5 small onions
5 garlic cloves, peeled
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled   
2 stalks of lemongrass
2 tsp of roasted peanuts
1 tsp of fish sauce or shrimp paste (vegetarians can leave this one out)
Some coriander leaves
3 dry red chillies, soaked in warm water for half an hour
Salt to taste
Oil 
To garnish: 4-5 fresh basil leaves or one chopped lemongrass stalk
In a pan heat some oil and saute the onions, when they begin changing colour add the garlic and stir well. Following this, add the vegetables one-by-one and then add the laksa paste, tofu and stir well. Add 1 cup water and stir in some of the coconut milk. When it begins to boil, add some more water and the rest of the coconut milk. Reduce the flame and continue stirring all the while. Allow this to simmer for about five minutes and add the chicken/fish. prawns that you want to use. Turn the heat off when everything is cooked. Add the shredded basil leaves and cover.
To serve, place some noodles in a soup bowl and spoon the Laksa gravy over it. Sprinkle the caramelised onion over this and serve hot. 

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