I consider myself a relatively adventurous eater (thanks Mom!). Growing up, I had to take at least one bite of everything, every single time it was put in front of me. I didn’t have to like it, and I definitely didn’t have to eat it if I hated it, but I had to try everything. To this day, I will try almost anything that’s put in front of me, although I’ve learned through trial and error that some things are never going to taste good (mayonnaise, pickled eggs).
Despite my adventurous palate, I rarely go seeking out new things to try. I’ll taste them if put in front of me, but left to my own devices I’ll happily eat the same things over and over. My definition of “the same things” changed radically when my college thesis advisor took all of her advisees out to an Indian restaurant. I ordered Chicken Tikka, moderately hot, and instantly fell in love. I can’t believe it took me 30 years to find Indian food! All things Indian and curry are now part of my regular rotation. In my search for new dishes, I came across this delightful (and delightfully easy!) soup. It’s hard to believe that it’s gluten and dairy free, relatively healthy, and amazingly flavorful!
Laksa is a spicy coconut-based soup originating from Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia.
I absolutely loved this dish, but Boyfriend only gave it 2 stars. He had a cold at the time and couldn’t taste anything though, so I may try it again and ask for a new rating.
**To make this vegetarian, omit the chicken broth and use 2 cups of boiling water.
2/3 package Rice noodles (about 4.5 oz)
2 Tbsp peanut oil (other vegetable oil may be substituted)
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into thin strips (optional)
2oz Thai red curry paste (store bought or homemade)
1 can Coconut milk
1 Cup chicken broth
1 Cup boiling water
2-3 Cups mixed vegetables, cut into thin strips (I used carrots, zucchini, and red/green bell pepper)
handful fresh basil leaves
Soften noodles as directed on package. Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile heat oil in a large saucepan over high heat. If you are using chicken, add it to the oil and cook until it is just browned. Add curry paste and stir fry for 30 seconds. Quickly add coconut milk, chicken broth, and boiling water. Bring to a boil and add vegetables. Simmer for 2 minutes or until vegetables are cooked to your liking.
To serve, add noodles to each serving bowl. Pour soup and vegetables over noodles and top with basil leaves.
NOTES: I love garlic and heat, so I added a minced garlic clove and a bit of ground red pepper to mine. This would also be wonderful made with shrimp instead of chicken.
STORAGE: If you have leftovers, place the noodles in a container, lay a wet paper towel over the top, and cover with a lid. Moisten the paper towel when it dries out (once every 1-2 days). Store the soup in a separate container.
REHEATING: Put soup in a microwave safe bowl and heat on high for 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Add the noodles and heat for 30-45 seconds more.
Adapted from Veggie Laksa by Zen Family Habits.