Fragrant, warming laksa


From the Peranakan culture, laksa fuses Chinese and Malay influences. Found in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore this beautifully aromatic dish with its rich layers of punchy flavour is a family favourite. You can buy premade laksa paste from most supermarkets, but nothing beats making your own from scratch. Once made, the paste can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to a week and the finished soup can be frozen. I opted for a healthy, nutritious laksa using tofu and plenty of vegetables, but the beauty of laksa is its versatility – you can add whatever you like. I also used rapeseed oil because not only is it rich in vitamin E and omega 2 and 6 fatty acids, but it also has the lowest saturated fat content of any cooking oil. I chose a smoked oil for this recipe to add to the flavour. Traditionally, thicker rice noodles are used in laksa but I went for vermicelli noodles as I love their delicate structure and it feels in keeping with the subtle mesh of flavours that you get from this dish. For a more authentic flavour you can use turmeric root. This time I went for the powdered variety for convenience, but I love to use fresh turmeric when I can.


You will need:

For the laksa paste:

4 shallots

5 garlic cloves

a thumb of ginger

2 stalks of lemongrass

2 red chillis

2 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp tumeric

1 tsp paprika

2 tbsp galangal

2 tbsp peanut butter

1 tbsp sesame oil

1 tbsp rapeseed oil

½ bunch of fresh coriander

For the soup:

A few glugs of rapeseed oil

1 ¼ litres of vegetable stock

2 tsp curry powder

1 tbsp soft brown sugar

1 (400ml) tin of coconut milk

150g of vermicelli

1 pack of tofu

1 red pepper

100g baby corn

100g mange tout

2 generous handfuls of spinach

2 large handfuls of beansprouts

For the topping:

A couple of spring onions

½ a bunch of fresh coriander

A few sprigs of fresh mint

2 limes

1 red chilli

  • Add shallots, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, chillis, spices, fresh coriander, peanut butter and oil to your blender – whizz up until they form a paste.
  • Fry the paste in a little oil for 20 minutes.
  • Add stock, sugar, curry powder and coconut milk
  • Simmer for 25 minutes
  • Blanch the noodles, after 3 minutes (when softened) add to the broth.
  • Cube the tofu and red pepper, add to the pan. Add the beansprouts, mange tout and baby corn.
  • After 5 minutes stir in the spinach.
  • Slice up your chilli and spring onions for the topping
  • Serve up your laksa
  • Top with spring onions, sliced chilli, roughly chopped mint leaves and fresh coriander. Finish with plenty of fresh lime juice.
IMG_0858 IMG_0902

And there you have it, a dish that smells incredible, tastes fantastic and is brimming with nutrients.

This recipe originally appeared in the November 2017 edition of Natural Mumma Magazine and was devised by Holly Daffurn. Film and photography by Gerard Hughes.


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