Amongst the many emails from my favourite bloggers that arrive in my inbox, there are also a few online food magazine newsletters that inundate it (ok, there are more than a few). Most of the time I just give the email newsletter a once over and bin it. Sometimes, there are features and dishes that catch my eye and I actually log on and read.
Food 52, Saveur and BBC Good Food are the emails I find myself opening on a regular basis. They always have such an interesting take on a classic recipe or sometimes, a genius new one.
One such email from BBC Good Food had me perusing their site and reading an article on autumn recipes and so on. Amongst the many pages I flicked through, I happened upon a recipe for a pumpkin laksa. I didn’t pay much attention to it (probably because it said PUMPKIN 🙂 ) doing an once over and moving on.
A few days later, I was pondering about dinner and rummaging the fridge and store cupboard for inspiration. I had all the makings for a pad Thai and/or a Thai curry and as wonderful as both these dishes are, it was very cold outside and instinctively, my body was wanting a soothing and warming soup or something with noodles. For some reason when the temperatures fall, I crave noodles.
From the deep, dark abyss that is my brain, memory of the laksa recipe I had glanced upon, came rushing back. I had a vague idea of the ingredients and I just decided to make it my way with the flavours I wanted.
The Chicken Laksa turned out perfectly. It was warming and refreshing at the same time. It had the comforting, warm chicken broth and noodles and the freshness of crisp bean sprouts, zucchini squash and herbs.
After dinner, I did research laksa to see if my version was authentic enough to be a laksa or if it was just a Thai inspired pho. I had a lot of Vietnamese and Thai flavours running through a soup that is traditionally Malaysian, Indonesian and Singaporean. But upon further studying, I found out that there are basically 2 types of laksa:
“There are two basic types of laksa: curry laksa and asam laksa. Curry laksa is a coconut curry soup with noodles, while asam laksa is a sour fish soup with noodles. Thick rice noodles also known as laksa noodles are most commonly used, although thin rice vermicelli are also common.” (Wikipedia)
Since variations to the traditional are quite common, I decided mine could be called a laksa and since it does take flavours from a lot of South East Asia, it is also very much, a fusion dish.
The Chicken Laksa hit the spot that cold evening and has secured a spot in my “food for a chilly night” repertoire.
Serving size: 4
- 1 Lb/500g chicken, sliced thin
- ½ Lb/250g thick rice noodles
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 3 shallots, sliced thin
- 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon ginger, minced
- 5 tablespoons Thai red curry paste, separated
- 4 cups chicken broth, homemade or a good organic one
- 1 15oz tin organic coconut milk
- ¼ cup creamy organic peanut butter, optional
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar, optional
- 1-2 zucchini squash, julienned
- carrots, julienned
- bean sprouts
- kale or spinach, shredded
- handful of mint
- handful of cilantro
- lime, cut in wedges or halves
- water, one measure of the coconut tin
- soy sauce or fish sauce for seasoning
- hot sauce, optional
- First, in a bowl, add the chicken slices and 2 tablespoons of the Thai red curry paste and mix together.
- Set aside to marinade for a few minutes (can do this ahead of time)
- Add boiling water to the noodles and allow to soak until soft, or follow your package directions.
- In the meantime, in a large pot, heat the coconut oil on medium heat and add the shallots.
- As the shallots begin to take on some colour, add in the chicken and begin to brown slightly.
- Add the garlic and ginger paste and the rest of the Thai red curry paste, cook for a minute.
- Pour in the tin of coconut milk and one tin full of water.
- Add the chicken broth and bring up to a simmer.
- Let simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add the peanut butter and sugar if using.
- Check for seasonings, add soy or fish sauce if you need to add salt.
- Adjust the sweetness, if you like it sweeter add more.
- If you like it spicier add more curry paste or hot sauce.
- To serve you can drop the noodles into the pot of soup and heat up in there or you can scoop the noodles into individual bowls, add the garnishes and then pour over the soup.
- Also, if you like your squash cooked a little, drop them into the soup to soften
- Have a plate of the garnishes ready and everyone can add what they want to their noodle bowl.
What does your body crave on cold nights? Do you spend any time reading online magazines or email newsletters for inspiration?
Wishing you all a happy Saturday! I am having a tremendous time with my brother, it has been nice to hang out with him and just chill.