Malaysian Laksa

It’s cold around here! If you are looking for a big bowl of comfort, well here you go! Dress it up however you like, made it vegetarian if so inclined, whatever you do, give it a try. This is perfect for a chilly night.

Once you have tried this creamy coconut broth, laced with spicy chili and fresh crunchy vegetables you will be putting this on repeat!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 tbsp oil
  • 2 garlic cloves , minced
  • 2 cm (1 inch ish) ginger, grated
  • 1 lemongrass , white part grated
  •  2 birds eye chillis , finely chopped (optional)
  • 1/2 cup (175g) laksa paste 
  • 400g / 14 oz can coconut milk
  • 3 cups vegetable or chicken broth 
  • 2 tsp fish sauce (sub soy but fish sauce recommended)
  • 2 tsp chili sauce
  • cooked noodles, either rice vermicelli or Udon noodles
  • any cooked protein if you like ….. chicken, prawns, crispy tofu, the options are up to you
  • cilantro, roughly chopped
  • sliced green onions
  • bean sprouts

METHOD

  • Heat oil in a large saucepan or small pot over medium low heat. Add garlic and ginger, sauté for 20 seconds, then add lemongrass and chillis. Cook for 1 minute.
  • Add laksa paste. Turn heat up to medium and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly, or until fragrant.
  • Add chicken stock, coconut milk, fish sauce and 2 tsp of Chilli Sauce. Place lid on and simmer on for 10 minutes.
  • Adjust to taste using lime juice (for sour) and fish sauce (for saltiness). Leave on turned off stove with lid on for 5 minutes.

To assemble, place noodles in bowl, add in vegetables and bean sprouts – top with broth and then any of the fixings you like

Personal touches added to each bowl make all the difference. I used the “Umami Crisp” from Big Smoke in Whistler, BC to add in place of the chili paste.
I love to make this a one dish meal, so I saute or steam a bunch of fresh veg for color flavour and brightness. Use whatever you like. Cook separately from the laksa broth so you retain their color and brightness.

I’ve tried a number of laksa recipes, and they tend to disappoint. Part of the problem is a difficulty sourcing different pastes and sauces where we live. Laksa paste itself is a very complex flavour compound. This recipe came from Recipe Tin Eats, and it was her recommendation to use a paste that convinced me to try again. Nagi was right on with that suggestion, by the time you have enough of the right ingredients to make laksa paste, you would have to be making it frequently to keep all your supplies fresh. Hop on over to her blog for even more components to this dish, even recipes to make your own stock and chili paste.

We love this served with my green onion pancakes, perfect for dipping!

Dan Dan Mian Noodles

There is something so comforting about a bowl of noodles. I’ve got a fabulous recipe for Tan Tan noodles on here, but this is slightly different – and an entire meal in one bowl. Get as adventurous as you like with the add ins.

  • 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
  • 2 tbsp black bean sauce
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • 1 small white onion
  • 2 tbsp ginger, minced
  • 2 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 3 cups chicken broth (use veg broth if you want to make this vegetarian)
  • 8 ounces egg noodles (Chinese style), rice noodles or Udon noodles
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 3-4 baby bok choy
  • 2 cups fresh bean sprouts
  • 1/2 – 1 pound ground meat (I used pork but chicken would work well too)
  • 2 cups mushrooms, chopped (I used crimini but that is what was available, use whatever you can find)
  • black pepper
  • 1 medium shallot
  • 4 green onions, chopped

Garnish suggestions

  • sesame seeds, toasted
  • green onions, slivered
  • fresh bean sprouts

Typically, Dan Dan Mian is a spicy dish ….. however I’m not so good with extra spicy food. To make it more authentic, drizzle with chili oil when you are ready to serve. You can either buy one and have it to dress up many dishes, or make a quick, easy one that lives in the fridge for ages.

Chili Oil

Heat skillet over med heat – add:

  • 1/3 cup sesame oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 tbsp crushed red pepper flakes (depending on how spicy you like it)

Cook, stirring occasionally until garlic is fragrant – be careful not to burn it! Remove from heat and transfer to heat safe bowl or glass jar.

I got this recipe originally from http://www.halfbakedharvest.com – only tweaked it a bit for personal preferences. The chili oil is entirely hers.

Combine soy sauce, hoisin, black bean sauce, honey, vinegar, peanut butter & tahini. Stir well until smooth and creamy. (If the peanut butter and tahini are really cold it helps to heat up the mixture slightly). Add 1/3 cup water.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook whatever noodles you have decided to use. Drain well and set aside.

In the same pot, add a little neutral oil and saute the onion, green onion, garlic and ginger until soft and fragrant. Add in 1/2 of your soy sauce mixture. Stir to completely mix it all in and heat up the sauce slightly. Add broth and bring just to a simmer.

In a shallow fry or sauce pan heat up a little neutral oil and add the ground meat. Allow to sit without stirring for a few minutes to help with carmelizing the meat. When mostly cooked, add the mushrooms and shallot. Cook until the mushrooms give up their moisture, and the pan dries out again. Add in the remaining soy sauce mixture. Stir to coat well. Allow the mixture to continue cooking until crispy bits appear. This is an important step as it adds a lot of texture as well as flavour to the finished dish.

Bring the pot of broth back to a higher heat and add in whatever vegetables you have decided to use. Make sure to add them in the right order so your don’t end up with limp veg – nothing sadder. I used bok chow and as soon as they were wilted but still crisp, I turned the heat off and added the spinach and bean sprouts.

Ladle noodles into the bowl and add your broth with vegetables. Scoop a generous amount of the meat mixture over top and garnish with the suggestions listed.

Turning this dish into a vegetarian meal would be so easy – omit the ground meat and use extra mushrooms in that step. Make sure to add extra fresh veg to make it a full meal.

Absolutely delicious!

Make sure to simmer until the meat & mushrooms dry out a bit, getting those lovely little bits of caramelization that add so much flavour and texture.

Add vegetables – as many as you want.

I like to keep fresh vegetables FRESH. I only add the spinach and bean sprouts when I remove it from the heat.

Serve with scallion pancakes for a total win!