You’ll only need one pan to cook this laksa, which is one of the many reasons why I love it. It’s easy and doesn’t involve much work, yet so flavoursome and satisfying that it’s right at the top of my list of recipes for dinner invitations. Unless your children are into spicy food it’s perhaps more of a ‘grown-ups only’ dish, although I believe that it’s good to introduce kids to all types of flavours and spices from a young age as all it often takes is for them to recognise them as a familiar taste, something they know and trust.
What you need:
For the crispy fried tofu:
400g tofu (I find it works with both firm and slightly softer tofu) – cut into medium sized squares
5-6tbsp gram flour
¼ tsp turmeric
4-5tbsp rapeseed oil (for that lovely golden crust)
For the laksa:
400g brown rice noodles – 1-2 nests per person
3 spring onions – chopped
2 garlic cloves – chopped
¾ tbsp ginger – peeled and chopped
3tbsp red curry paste
400ml coconut milk – there are big differences in the quality of coconut milk so read the fine print on the back and chose an organic, coconut and water only option whenever possible
600ml boiling water
3-4 kaffir lime leaves – fresh or dried
2tbsp peanut butter – again try and opt for a 100% peanuts only brand if possible
1 lime – juice only
3-4tbsp coriander – roughly chopped
Salt to taste
200g mange tout – washed
How you do it:
In a bowl mix gram flour and turmeric, then add the tofu cubes and gently shake or stir until they are all evenly coated.
Fry the marinated tofu cubes on medium heat until they are lightly browned and crispy on all sides.
Transfer them into a bowl and keep aside for later, I like to keep them hot by putting them on a baking tray and in the oven at low heat (around 80C), but you can also reheat them when you mix them into the laksa before serving up.
Bring 1l of water to the boil in a kettle.
Chop the spring onions into small discs, peel and finely chop ginger and garlic.
Reheat the same frying pan adding a little more oil if necessary, then add the spring onions (keep a tbsp of the green bits for decoration), the garlic and the ginger.
After about 1min add the curry paste (you can use less if you don’t like it too spicy).
Stir everything well and after another minute add in the coconut milk, stir until smooth, then pour in 600ml of the hot water and bring to a simmer.
Pour the remaining boiling water over the mange tout to blanche them – either just pour it over them using a colander or if you like them a little softer you can ‘soak’ them in the boiling water for a couple of minutes, then drain well and put aside for later.
Add the peanut butter, the lime juice and the kaffir lime leaves to the laksa, stir and simmer gently for 10mins.
After 10mins add the rice noodles to the soup, cover with liquid and cook for around 5mins or until they are soft.
Gently stir in the crispy tofu bites and the mange tout, give it a minute until everything is piping hot then serve in big bowls with a topping of chopped coriander and spring onions.