In my early twenties, I managed a bar and restaurant in Perth and was lucky enough to work with some Malaysian chefs. They introduced me to a whole new world of food – laksa, beef rendang, nasi lemak and more. Delicious!
I make my own laksa these days and while it’s never quite as delicious as one cooked by a Malaysian chef brought up on the stuff, it still tastes good!
What is a laksa?
A laksa is a coconut curry based soup with noodles, fish, seafood or chicken. There are many regional variations.
My version is kid-friendly, not too spicy and easy for busy mums to make. I load it up with immune-boosting super foods ( garlic, ginger, turmeric and bone broth) so it’s perfect in winter time to warm you up and help you avoid the lurgies.
Nourishing Chicken Laksa
Vital Stats: gluten free, egg free, dairy free, nut free (depending on your paste)
This is what you need:
1 tablespoon organic coconut oil
1 onion, finely diced
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 small knob turmeric, finely grated
1 small knob ginger, finely grated
500g organic chicken thigh fillets, thinly sliced
200 packet dry rice noodles (or noodles of your choice)
2-3 tablespoons laksa paste
1 small carrot, julienned
1 small red capsicum, julienned
3 green shallots, julienned
2 litres chicken bone broth
100g fresh bean sprouts
4 tablespoons fresh coriander
Choose organic produce where you can.
You can use any vegetables you like – asian greens work well too, but add them right at the end to just wilt. Traditional laksa doesn’t have loads of veggies, but I add them to everything to boost our nutrition!
If you need a vegetarian laksa, simply use strips of tofu instead of chicken and vegetable stock instead of broth. If you need a paleo or grain-free laksa, simply use zucchini noodles instead of rice noodles.
Choose a laksa paste that has no nasty additives or vegetable oils or make your own if you have time. Irena at Eat Drink Paleo has an awesome laksa paste recipe – make up a double batch and freeze it until you need it! I have sourced a locally-made paste with no nasties, Garnisha that is absolutely delicious. You can get it online here.
You can use coconut milk but I like the slightly thick, decadent texture the coconut cream brings to the soup! Just remember to source a BPA free can of coconut cream or milk.
This is how you do it:
In a large stock pot, heat the coconut oil and over a medium heat, fry off the onion, garlic, ginger and turmeric for a few minutes until translucent.
Add the laksa paste and chicken strips and cook for one minute, stirring frequently.
Add the vegetables (except bean sprouts and coriander) and broth and simmer gently for about five minutes.
Add the coconut cream and noodles and simmer again for five-ten minutes until the noodles and chicken are cooked through. The timing will depend on how deep your stock pot is, how thick your chicken is and what sort of noodles you use.
Serve into some noodle bowls and top with bean sprouts and chopped coriander. Use chopsticks and an asian spoon if you want to be authentic!
This recipe serves four large portions. It reheats the next day on the stove really well, just be gentle not to break up the noodles too much.
You can add some freshly cut chillies if you like it really spicy. It is sometimes hard to know how spicy a curry paste is until you cook with it, so I always add a bit more than I think and then later it is easy to calm it down simply by adding more coconut cream. Or take out the adult servings and then add some more coconut cream for the kids’ servings. Taste and season before you serve. You may need a little salt.
My kids have eaten this since they were little and love it.
I would love to hear your feedback, let me know what you think!