Vegetarian Curry Laksa

Curry Laksa - veganised!

Curry Laksa – veganised!

The craving was irrepressible.
But with the man travelling and child snubbing this divine curry noodles, I stalled the idea of dishing it up just for me. But then, it arose again… that insatiable appetite for one heavenly bowl of noodles, veggies, broth, herbs and tofu. I had to make it. Just had to.

Soul Food!

Soul Food!

Curry Laksa is a Chinese inspired Malay spicy noodle soup. Originally made the non vegetarian way with a lot of chicken or fish or shrimp. It is basically coconut based curry spiced with oriental flavours like turmeric, soy and chilies, thick or thin noodles and garnished with laksa leaves or curry leaves. Indians will totally relate to the flavours and taste, because many of the ingredients used in this are regularly used in Indian cooking too.

 Mushrooms and fried tofu in my Laksa

Mushrooms and fried tofu in my Laksa

Ideally thick Hokkien egg noodles are preferred to dunk in a spicy vegetable laden stew, but if you cannot get your hands on some, use the regular variety. I used traditional thin hakka noodles. Some recipes call for thin rice vermicelli too.
Bottomline – It’s the curry that calls, the carb can be of any kind 😉

Spicy Earthy noodles

Spicy Earthy noodles

There are many different types of laksa, but what is common to all is the broth, spice paste and noodles. The most well known varieties of laksa are the slightly sour fish soup based Assam Laksa and the Curry Laksa which has coconut milk.

Curry Laksa is a meal in itself. You don’t need any accompaniments with it. Lot of vegetables, noodles and a protein like tofu or paneer and you are so good to go! The vegetables can be anything you like, anything your refrigerator caters. So don’t go hunting for the specifics. I just pretty much threw in whatever I had.

An interesting twist to this dish was to top with sautéed mushrooms and red onions. Dust it off with sesame seeds and it was the most heavenly first bite I have had in a very long time 🙂

Soupy Slurrpyy

Soupy Slurrpyy

The Recipe –

Ingredients

  • 1 pack hokkein egg noodles, boiled as per instructions on the pack.
  • 1 cup thin sliced vegetables like bell peppers, broccoli, carrots, beans etc
  • 3-4 tbsp red curry paste or as per your liking
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 2 stalks lemon grass
  • a handful of curry leaves or if you can find laksa leaves
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp olive oil or sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp sugar or brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp pepper powder

Garnish: 5/6 basil leaves, few stalks of coriander leaves, 1/2 cup fried tofu or sautéed paneer pieces, 1/2 cup sautéed mushrooms and red onions. 2 tsp toasted sesame seeds, Lime wedges.

Method

In a wok, heat oil. Fry the red curry paste till the raw smells disappears. Now throw in the veggies, add a bit of salt. Cover and cook till almost done.
Add soy, turmeric, salt pepper, sugar. give a mix. Stir in the coconut milk. Once it has boiled. Stir in the vegetable stock. Simmer for 2/3 minutes or so. Throw in the curry leaves and lemon grass stalks Cover and boil for 5 minutes.

Delicious comfort food

Delicious comfort food

How to Serve:

Remove the lemon grass stalks from the broth before serving.

Take a deep bowl. Place a forkful or two of noodles. Pour the vegetable-coconut broth. Top with some sautéed mushrooms and onions, some fried tofu or paneer. A sprinkle of sesame seeds. A drizzle of lime juice. Torn basil and coriander leaves to garnish.
Serve.

A drizzle of lime and a sprinkle of sesame

A drizzle of lime and a sprinkle of sesame

Note: For sautéing the mushrooms, onions and tofu. I sliced them thinly, gently sautéed in a bit of oil. Sprinkled salt and pepper powder. Hardly takes 5 minutes.

Note: Laksa is usually soupy and the noodles float in a water like broth. Now to make the soup, vegetable stock is preferred rather than plain water. Since I did not have any, I made a thick vegetable stew in coconut milk. It tasted more intense and enveloped my noodles well in a spicy tangy gravy.

all season food, this is.

all season food, this is.

The above is a not a perfect authentic recipe. I changed and customised it according to our likes and the ingredients available. So this recipe might just serve as a rough inspiration to cook the dish. So feel free to play around!

Happy Cooking dear readers 🙂

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Spicy Sesame Orange Vegetables, Chinese Style

It’s the middle of a busy week. Middle of yet another usual routine day and it is unusually quiet. Lethargy reigns the room. She sits beside me doing her homework, while I struggle to stay alert to answer her random queries which usually require superlative performance by my lackadaisical intellect. Then all of a sudden I just wanna let go. I shut the books, my abstractive answers and my mind and simply let go. I fall asleep.

The 20 minute power nap did it. It nudged my languorous senses and my long forgotten inactive taste buds to work. A little bit of sweet, a little bit of tang, a whole lot of spice and a slight crunch of vegetables… mmmm. Oh God! Have I started dreaming of food now?!
Now, that I will never be able to really tell, the only thing huge and apparent was my sudden irresistible urge to eat Chinese. Sigh…

With a wonderful recipe tucked away, patiently waiting to be tried and tested, I decided to satiate my scrumptious cravings. Vegetables coated in a spicy sweet tangy sesame orange sauce along with some burnt garlic fried rice was on the cards.

Spicy Sesame Orange Vegetables, made Chinese Style

Spicy Sesame Orange Vegetables, made Chinese Style

Burnt garlic fried rice is a fool proof dish that has never failed me till date. You can add any minced veggies of your choice, but a whole lot of garlic is mandatory. Since I like pretty lookin food, along with onion greens I decided to throw in minced red peppers. So the red and green beautifully compliment the white, and tiny minuscule dust of pepper powder adds the finishing touch!

Simple, flavorful and so light!

Simple, flavorful and so light!

Dinner that night –

Perfect meal

Perfect meal

The surprise ingredient: An orange. Its milder and sweeter than a lemon, which adds such amazing depth to the sauce, you will be stunned.

Sweet and sour

Sweet and sour

The recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 cup vegetables, like broccoli, babycorn, colored peppers, mushrooms.. whatever you fancy
  • 1 big onion, diced
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp warm water
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp maple syrup or honey
  • 1 tsp red chili flakes or as desired
  • 1+ Tbsp Chings Schezuan Chutney or Asian Hot Chili paste or 2 tsp of Sriracha
  • Zest of 1 small orange
  • Juice of 1 orange (1/3+ cup)
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp chopped spring onion greens to garnish.

Method

In a bowl, add cornstarch, water, soy sauce, vinegar, maple syrup, red chili flakes, sriracha and orange juice and zest. Whisk everything. Keep aside.

Now heat oil in a wok, saute garlic and onions till the onions turn pink. Now add peppers and veggies along with salt. Stir fry till 3/4th done. You want a bit of crunch in your vegetables not a soggy mass. To this vegetable mix, stir in your sauce. Keep mixing till you get a boil and the sauce turns translucent and glossy. Stir in more water or orange juice if very thick. Check the seasoning. Add extra honey or salt if required. Garnish with spring onion greens and toasted sesame seeds.

Best when served warm.

Maple syrup and orange juice add so much flavor and texture

Maple syrup and orange juice add so much flavor and texture

Note: Sesame oil produces the best results, but you can make this with regular oil too.

Note: the original recipe calls for asian hot sauce or sriracha sauce, since I did not have any I used Chings Schezwan chutney(easily available in super markets). It worked very well.

Tempting Bite

Tempting Bite

Note: This sauce works very well with only tofu or paneer or mushrooms.

Note: Simple plain sticky white rice and this aromatic vegetable seals your dinner deal. 🙂

My favorite food

My favorite food

Well.. here I wake up dreaming of food in the middle of day and incorrigible hunger does nothing but fire my will to satisfy my random food fancies. Now does it happen to you too?