A list of things I crave at this time of year:
- Bold flavours
- Fresh vegetables
- Warming spice
We’ll fix that last one another day, because today is about my perfect January recipe for prawn laksa.
Punchy prawn laksa
Laksa is popular in Indonesia but can be found in various forms across Thailand, Malaysia and even, it would seem, Derbyshire. For my version of the spicy-yet-creamy coconut soup, you can use your favourite vegetables – anything young and tender works well.
Feel free to chop and change the ingredients to suit your taste. Don’t like baby corn? Leave it out. Can’t get enough of tenderstem broccoli? Throw it in.
This is one of those meals that’s all in the prep work, but once all the ingredients are ready, it cooks in minutes. The layers of flavour are fabulous and strangely addictive.
We like to share our laksa from one great big bowl, fighting for the best bits with chopsticks then taking it in turns to slurp at the tangy broth.
Tip: Not so keen on prawns? You can use chopped chicken breast too, or even sliced leftover chicken – just warm it through in the broth.
Serves two (double up the quantities for four)
200g raw king prawns (defrost if frozen)
Baby vegetables – try pak choi, sugar snap peas, baby corn, asparagus (handful of each)
150g rice noodles
3-4 tsp red curry paste (depending how spicy you want it)
1 tbsp cooking oil
1 tbsp finely sliced fresh ginger
2 shallots, sliced
1 clove of garlic, sliced
300ml chicken stock
300ml canned coconut milk
1 red chilli, chopped
1 stick of lemongrass, crushed with the side of a knife
2 tsp palm or brown sugar
4 tsp fish sauce
Juice of half a lime
Fresh basil, coriander and mint leaves
Sliced spring onions and half a lime to serve
1. Chop all your vegetables into bite sized pieces or slices.
2. Soften your noodles in boiling water as per the instructions on the packet, rinse with cold water, drain and set aside.
3. In a large, wide pan, heat the curry paste in the oil for one minute.
4. Add the ginger, garlic and shallots and fry gently until soft.
5. Add the chicken stock, coconut milk, sugar, fish sauce, half the chopped chilli and lime juice.
6. Stir and bring to a gentle simmer.
7. Add the prawns and simmer for around five minutes until the prawns are pink and cooked through.
8. Add your vegetables and lemongrass to the top of the broth, cover with a lid (if your pan doesn’t have a lid, you can cover with a large plate or even a couple of layers of tin foil), and leave to steam for two to three minutes until the vegetables are tender.
9. Remove the lemongrass.
10. Place the noodles in your serving bowl or bowls, spoon the laksa over the noodles.
11. Top with the fresh herbs, spring onion and rest of the chilli, and serve with half a lime.
Liked that? Try these:
- Slow cooked sausages and beautiful borlotti beans
- The new Pancake House menu
- Easy peasy frangipane fruit tarts