Saturday, June 2, 2012

The perfect Vegan Laksa. Paste and all. xx

I just found a fly in my laksa. I am trying really hard not to think about it so as to save myself from vomiting. It was stuck inside the bok choy. Moral of the story? Check and wash your bok choy, thoroughly!
I do love a good laksa. Nothing can beat the creaminess and the freshness of the soup along with the delicious noodles and fresh vegetables. And let's not forget how amazing that tofu is. It just sucks the flavours right up and melts them all over your tongue.
Don't let this long list of ingredients fool you. You probably have most of it in your cupboard.
Trust me. It's worth it.

Time: Ten minutes prep, ten minutes to cook.
Serves: The paste serves about eight. The recipe for the laksa serves two.

For the paste:

  • One bunch of coriander stalks and roots (save the leaves to go on top of the soup).
  • Three cloves of garlic.
  • Three red chillies.
  • One red onion.
  • One teaspoon of cumin, ground.
  • One teaspoon of ground turmeric.
  • Half a teaspoon of ground cardamom.
  • One teaspoon of ground fennel seed.
  • Half a teaspoon ground cloves. 
  • One stalk of lemongrass that has had the outer layers removed, so that you are left with the soft inside flesh of the stalk.
  • One Tablespoon of minced ginger. 
  • Half a teaspoon of salt.
  • Half a cup of water. 
  • Handful of Thai basil leaves.
  • One third of a cup of macadamias or quarter of a cup of cashews (optional for nut allergies).
  • Half a teaspoon of cinnamon.
  • Two Tablespoons of lime juice.

Blend all of these ingredients in a food processor, scraping the sides down often so as to form a paste. You may wish to hold off with the water. I added mine a little at a time to help encourage it to mix well. It probably won't be super smooth, but that's OK. Just get it as smooth as you can.
Place it in a container and keep in the fridge. Should last about a month, if you can stop yourself eating it. Seriously, I was at it with a spoon yesterday. 

For the soup itself:
  • Two Tablespoons of the above paste.
  • Two cups of vegetable stock.
  • 250 mls of coconut cream or milk. 
  • As much sliced fried tofu as you like (you know, the squishy one you can buy from Asian grocery stores?).
  • Two bunches of bok choy, cleaned and chopped into three or four parts.
  • Four mushrooms, sliced.
  • A handful of bean sprouts. 
  • 6 snow peas. 
  • Some egg-free hokkien noodles, or rice noodles if you can't find them. Prepare these to the packet instructions and set aside.
  • A few slices of cucumber, sliced length ways.
  • Fresh coriander.
  • Soy sauce (optional).

In a sauce pan, place the paste. Add the tofu and stock and simmer for about three minutes, until the tofu is looking a little on the cooked side. Add the coconut milk and heat through. Bring to the boil and simmer for about two minutes. You don't want to cook it too long because if you do, the fats in the coconut milk will break down and it won't be so creamy. 

Take two bowls. In each one, add half the bean sprouts, half of the noodles and then all the veggies on top of the noodles. Pour the soup mixture over the veggies. The heat from this soup will cook the veggies perfectly. Sprinkle with the coriander and add a splash of soy sauce. 

Delicious! I have been eating this for breakfast, lunch and dinner, I must confess. 


  1. I'm making a shopping list and buying what I need tomorrow morning. This sounds like it's just what I need to chase these Canberra chills away.
    Thank you Sally. :)

  2. This is a great recipe, and although I'm not vegan myself my girl friend is (I'm vege - still love me some eggs and cheese) and I love to cook for her. This is simple, fast and tastes as good as any I've eaten in Malaysia or Indonesia.

    1. Thanks, Dresdyn. That's so lovely to say. Hope your girl friend loves it, too. You're a star! :)

  3. I'm on the Go Veg Pledge for November and stumbled upon your site. I just tried this recipe tonight and it is fantastic! I couldn't find Thai Basil leaves at the farmer's market, but a fellow customer suggested basil would suit as well. Thank you SO much for sharing - it is absolutely delicious!

    1. Hi Anna. Great work on your pledge! So happy for you. I'm glad you liked this recipe. It's one of my favourites. Take care :) x

  4. So glad to have found your blog, and this recipe is awesome... Enjoying my dinner as I type;) Thank you

  5. Had high hopes for this one, my first home made laksa from scratch. It wasn't bad, but the flavour was narrow and bland, even after doubling the amount of spice paste. Maybe some of my spices weren't fresh enough, but I feel like there is an essential step of frying spice paste in oil to release their flavour which is missing from this recipe.

    1. That's such a bummer, Mark. I usually eat this paste straight from the bowl, it's so delicious. We must have very different taste. :)

    2. Just stumbled on this recipe. It is delightful! I used candlenuts instead of the macadamias/cashews, and didn't measure everything very exactly - and it has turned out absolutely wonderfully. I agree with Mark that it should be fried in some oil or a small amount of coconut fat first. This releases the flavours a lot more! Also, a tiny bit of palm sugar really balances out the dish.. although adds a few kilojoules.

  6. Thank you so much for this recipe. Sydney girl gone overseas and there's no vegan laksa to be had!!!!!!!! I have a suspicion next weekend I'll be shopping for fennel seeds and Thai basil

  7. This is the best recipe i ever found on the web. Had my vego sisterinlaw over for dinner and stumbled across this. Use vegan fish sauce to compliment and am now not allowed to ever use laksa paste again :) since more of my friends have gone vegan lately i will draw on your recipes for our next party.
    Thanks for sharing!

  8. Oh this is the best!! We make this laksa base often; and just portion out a 4tbs quantity (for 2 adult bowls) - we like it a bit more punchy than the 3tbs recommended per recipe..

    We freeze those potions in ziplock bags and they defrost in no time in the hot saucepan..

    Thank you thank you for uploading this!

    Before I go searching; would you have a red based curry version? (This is obviously more of a green based one)

    1. I'm so glad you like it! I don't think I do, but i should work on one. ;)