Chicken Laksa – Malaysian style noodle soup2013-04-06
- Servings : 3-4
- Prep Time : 10m
- Cook Time : 10m
- Ready In : 25m
On a rather fruitful visit to the Chinese supermarket with my friends, I bought some of the most curious looking noodles. They were bunched up like a small yarn of soft wool. The noodles were in water, and promised to be low carb and high fiber, so I thought- lets give it a try. But deep down in my heart, I had no clue, absolutely no clue about what to do with them.
So there they sat, happily, undisturbed in my kitchen larder with my other beloved possessions for a couple of months, before my dear husband (who is always concerned about the rising graph of my kitchen possessions) reminded me about them.
Well, I didn’t say just then that I really didn’t know what to do with them. And of course, I can never truly admit that I sometimes buy things just for the pleasure of buying.. the pure unadulterated pleasure of possessing; of hoarding. Cannot say it. That is admittedly, defeat.
So now, I had to figure out a way of making something. The constraints were many. Time, as always, was a challenge. The snowy weather not helping at all. If anything it was making me even more inert.
So I started ransacking the drawer that was full of the other things that I had bought from the lovely Chinese supermarket, just for some inspiration (not just frustration).
I found a jar of Sambal Oelek (Malaysian Chilli paste) that I had bought there, and a ton of memories came rushing back. The same memories that had made me buy the jar in the first place. Memories of our holidays in the Far East, of the different Thai, Malaysian and Singaporean food that we had tasted there. And then I remembered, I had some roast turkey sitting in my fridge.
Voila! I knew what I had to do, the decision was made. Those beautiful little noodles who were so serenely sitting in their packet – happy, undisturbed – had to be cooked. NOW.
I decided to make a nice soup, complete with chicken or turkey (protein), veggies (healthy) and the beautiful noodles (with their low-carb promise), Sambal Oelek and some more spice to dispel that biting cold weather and to bring in some hope of spring.
- 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
- Black peppercorns-1 teaspoon
- Cumin seeds- 1 teaspoon
- Fennel seeds- 1 teaspoon
- Cloves- 4
- Turmeric- 1/4 tsp
- Dried red chillies- 3to 4
- Lemon grass-stems- 2 ( optional)
- Chicken / turkey or any other meat of your choice- 1 cup
- Onions or shallots, sliced thinly- 1/4 cup
- Coconut milk- 1 cup( about a tin full)
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- Chicken or vegetable stock or water or just 1 stock cube ( optional)- 1 cup
- 1 teaspoon shrimp paste (optional)
- Sugar- 2 tsp
- Noodles- - 1 cup
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves
- Lime juice- 1 tsp
- Salt- to taste
- Sambal oelek chili paste ( optional) very hot.. use only if you like extra spicy
- OPTIONAL VEGETABLES
- Carrots- 1/4 thickly grated
- Beans- thinly sliced ( blanced)
- Mangetout ( optional)
- Spring Onions - 2
- Mung sprouts- optional 1/4 cup
This recipe is basically a noodle soup, with lots of veggies and any meat or prawns that you can care to add. Don’t let the lack of a few ingredients stop you from trying this out. It is an all encompassing recipe. just toss in whatever you like.. as much spice as you can handle.. and that will be the perfect recipe for you. Here’s what I did – worked very well for me, though was quite spicy for my son.
For the spice powder
1. Grind the whole spices -the coriander, peppercorns, cumin, fennel, cloves, turmeric, and chillies coarsely in a spice grinder. Peel the tough outer layers from lemongrass, then bash with a meat mallet to release flavours. Again, if you do not have lemongrass, please don’t stop yourself from making this.
2. Heat oil in a wok over medium heat.
If using raw meat, add it now. It is best to use thinly shredded meat. I used leftover turkey from the previous night’s roast, so I used it at the end.
Fry the chicken with onion, cinnamon stick, salt and the spice powder.
Stir fry continuously. The mixture will be very fragrant, but you need to be careful not to let the spice powder burn at the bottom.
3. Pour in the coconut milk, stock, sugar and bashed lemongrass.
Add the Sambal Oelek paste. Remember, this is a very hot chilli paste, so use carefully.
Bring the mixture to a boil. Cover and simmer for 5-7 minutes.
4. Blanch bean sprouts in boiling water until soft for 2 minutes.
Blanch or microwave the other vegetables except spring onions for 1-2 minutes, so that everything is semi cooked and crunchy.
A good idea is to use whatever vegetables you have at hand, upto one cup chopped, and 2 spring onions.
5. Cook the noodles according to instructions. Use any noodles that you have, it is perfect.
6. Remove the lemongrass from the wok.
7. Add in the noodles and vegetables.
8. If using pre-cooked meat, add it in now, let soak in the flavours for 1-2 minutes.
9. Add the lemon juice.
10. Garnish with coriander and ladle into bowls.
11. Serve hot.