Quick Chicken Laksa
This popular South-East Asian noodle soup is very versatile; you can make it using chicken, tofu, mixed seafood or a combination of all three. Laksa paste is sold in jars in specialist grocery stores, larger supermarkets and online — it can vary a little in heat, so adjust the quantity to suit your taste.
- 150 g packet rice vermicelli noodles
- 1 tablespoon peanut oil
- 3 tablespoons ready-made laksa paste
- 3 cups (750 ml) salt-reduced chicken stock
- 400 ml can coconut milk
- 500 g boneless skinless chicken breasts, thinly sliced
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- 1 heaped cup (100 g) bean sprouts, tails trimmed
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh Vietnamese mint or regular mint
- 2⁄3 cup (20 g) fresh coriander leaves
- 1 small red chilli, seeded and sliced
- lime wedges, to serve
- Place noodles in a heatproof bowl and pour enough boiling water over to cover.
- Leave to soak for 5 minutes, or according to the packet instructions.
- Meanwhile, in a wok or large heavy-based saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add laksa paste and fry until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Stir in stock and bring to a boil.
- Add coconut milk and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add chicken and simmer for 5 minutes, or until chicken is just cooked through. Add the salt.
- Drain noodles and divide among serving bowls.
- Top each with bean sprouts, Vietnamese mint and coriander.
- Ladle soup over the noodles, dividing chicken evenly.
- Garnish with chilli and serve immediately, with lime wedges.
- To make your own laksa paste, chop 1 red onion, 4 cloves garlic, 3 red birdseye chillies, 1 bunch (150 g) washed coriander roots and stems, 2 lemongrass stems (white part only) and a 2 1/2 cm piece of peeled fresh ginger or galangal.
- Place in a food processor with 1 teaspoon ground turmeric, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1/2 teaspoon prawn or anchovy paste, 5 chopped macadamia nuts and 3 tablespoons chopped fresh Vietnamese mint or regular mint.
- Blend to a smooth paste, adding some mild vegetable oil if needed to loosen the mixture.
- Transfer any unused paste to a clean airtight container, cover with a thin layer of mild vegetable oil and refrigerate for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.