Happy Friday everyone! And to all our friends over in the USA, Happy Fourth of July! I hope you’re having a fantastic extended weekend ♥
Today, I thought I’d share one of our all-time favourite noodle soups. It’s my family-friendly vegan take on Malaysian Laksa Lemak. This dish usually contains a fair amount of spice, but I’ve toned down the heat to make it suitable for youngsters (and lightweights like me!) It makes a great weekend lunch or light weekday meal.
While you wouldn’t normally expect to see smoked tofu in this dish, I find the flavour works beautifully with the fragrant spiced gravy. I use Cauldron’s Organic Smoked Tofu (which you’ll find in the chiller cabinets in most of the UK’s major supermarkets). Its smoky flavour is very mild which suits Lil’ L (other brands have been ‘too smoky’ for him). If the smoky flavour isn’t your thing, feel free to substitute with sesame tofu or your own marinated tofu.
If you want to keep the dish gluten-free, go for a brown rice noodle rather than wholewheat. One of my current favourite organic noodle brands is King Soba, which is currently available in the UK from independent health food shops and online. They cost £1.89 for 250g, which is a good price for organic noodles. If you can’t find them locally, you can buy them directly from King Soba, and they offer free delivery when you order six packs.
Malaysian Coconut Noodle Soup with Smoked Tofu
Here’s a family-friendly plant-based version of the traditional Malaysian soup Laksa Lemak. It’s beautifully fragrant, light, yet filling enough to be served as a main meal. I’ve chosen to use carrots and broccoli florets in this dish for added texture, colour and nutrients, but feel free to substitute with your favourite Asian vegetables.
Ready in: 35 minutes
5cm / 2 inch piece of root ginger, peeled and finely grated
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped or crushed
2 lemon grass stalks, trimmed and finely sliced
1 red chilli (or more if you like it hot), deseeded and finely chopped*
2 shallots or 1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 tsp ground coriander
½ tsp ground cumin
Juice of half a lime
400ml / 14 oz can coconut milk
½ tsp ground turmeric
2 dried kaffir lime leaves
720ml / 24 fl oz / 3 cups hot vegetable stock (broth)
1 TBSP reduced salt soy sauce (or tamari for a GF option)
2 tsp unrefined sugar
2 medium carrots, sliced into thin disks
1 small-medium head of broccoli (about 300g / 10½ oz) sliced into 16 small florets
90g / 3 oz / 1 cup mushrooms, chopped (oyster or chestnut mushrooms work great in this dish)
200g / 7oz smoked tofu, cubed (e.g. Cauldron)
250g / 9oz wholewheat or brown rice noodles
Suggested garnish (adults only)
Fresh coriander (cilantro), chopped
Red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
* If serving to small children, remove both the seeds and the white membrane from the chilli as this is where the heat is concentrated. Alternatively, omit the chilli from the paste and add it to the soup once the children’s portions have been served.
Place the spice paste ingredients in a mini food processor along with 2-3 TBSP coconut milk and blend into a smooth paste (I use the bowl attachment that comes with my hand blender for this job).
Gently cook the paste in a large, heavy-bottomed pan for a couple of minutes. Stir in the remaining coconut milk, turmeric and kaffir lime leaves, and gently simmer uncovered for five minutes or so. Add the stock, soy sauce and sugar to the pan, along with the carrots. Simmer for five minutes. Add the broccoli florets, mushrooms and tofu cubes, and simmer for a further ten minutes or so, until the broccoli is tender but retains a bite. Remove the kaffir lime leaves.
Meanwhile, cook the noodles as per the instructions on the packet. Divide the noodles between four warm bowls and spoon the soup on top. Sprinkle on the garnish, and serve immediately with chopsticks/fork and a spoon for the gravy.
Lemon grass can be found in the fresh herb section of major supermarkets and in Asian grocery stores.
Dried Kaffir lime leaves are found on the world food aisle of major supermarkets (on the Malaysian or Thai shelves). You can also find them in Asian grocery stores and health food shops.
This recipe was featured in the latest issue of Fresh Vegan. Launched just a few months ago, this digital magazine has already gathered a huge following. It was recently nominated in the VegfestUK’s best publication awards, alongside well established magazines such as Vegetarian Living, so a huge well done to the FV team ♥
What I love about Fresh Vegan (and what sets it apart from other food magazines) is the diversity of its features. It includes restaurant and product reviews, travel features, interviews and much, much more. If you’re interested in hearing the ethos behind the magazine, there’s a great interview with its creators over at HappyCow.net.
Have you got any plans for the weekend? I’m really excited about the Tour de France, which starts tomorrow in Leeds (UK) no less! It’s my favourite sporting event of the year. And of course we still have the World Cup and Wimbledon. In between watching all this sport, I’m looking forward to heading out on my bike. A little bit of tennis (or ‘bat and ball’ in my case) might be in order too. Whatever you’re up to, enjoy! xx