Laksa is a spicy, coconutty, noodle soup. We travelled in Malaysia shortly after becoming vegan. Laksa was the best of Malaysian food and we were lucky to find a tiny vegan café in Malacca where they sold it in huge steaming bowls for less than a euro. It was some of the best vegan food we had eaten. Like many Asian soups, the secret is in the garnish which introduces bags of freshness to compliment the rich spiciness of the broth.
If you have pre-made curry paste as I did or you use shop bought, this takes only minutes to prepare. It is very messy to eat and you need a fork or chopsticks for the noodles and a spoon for the broth. Asian people are very adept at doing this without making a mess. I, on the other hand, usually end up wearing the noodles but it is fun to eat.
Preparation time 15 minutes
Cooking time 10 minutes
A tablespoon of homemade Malaysian or Thai curry paste or shop bought curry or laksa paste (see the recipe for Tempeh Penang for a good curry paste that would work well in this dish).
400ml of water
200ml of coconut milk
Two thumb size pieces of fresh ginger or galangal
A dessert spoonful of soya sauce
A teaspoon of sugar
A stick of lemon grass cut into three
300g tofu cut into cubes or slices
300g of brown rice noodles
Two large handfuls of fresh spinach roughly chopped
Two handfuls of fresh bean sprouts
A handful of fresh coriander chopped
A handful of toasted peanuts crushed roughly
4 spring onions chopped
Chopped fresh chilli for garnish
Place the water in a large pan and bring to the boil. Add the curry paste with the coconut milk, soya sauce, sugar, lemon grass and ginger/galangal. Simmer for a few minutes before adding the noodles. Cook until the noodles are al dente. Add the spinach, tofu and half of the coriander, onions and beansprouts. Ladle into large bowls and garnish with more coriander, beansprouts, onions, peanuts and chilli.