Recipe by Pete Evans
Laksa is a dish that keeps you coming back for more as it is so fragrant and delicious. One of its key ingredients is turmeric, a spice that has been used for millennia for both culinary and medicinal purposes, and that packs a real nutritional punch.
Serves: 4. Preparation: 25 minutes. Cooking time: 20 minutes.
Course: Main. Contains: Fish
“It has amazing anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, and adds an earthy, warming flavour to dishes. I like to add fresh or powdered turmeric to a variety of recipes, from simple citrus juices to desserts such as coconut ice cream with manuka honey. But the most obvious use of turmeric is in aromatic curries, like this laksa. I have used kelp noodles instead of rice or egg noodles, however you can always omit them completely and just use more vegetables.” – Pete Evans
- 250 g kelp noodles
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 3 × 400 ml cans coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons honey (optional)
- ½ teaspoon tamarind paste
- 12 raw king prawns, peeled and deveined with tails intact
- 2 ½ tablespoons fish sauce
- 2 ½ tablespoons lime juice
- ¼ Chinese cabbage (wong bok), finely shredded
- 1 handful of bean sprouts
- 1 small handful of Thai basil leaves
- 1 small handful of coriander leaves
- fried shallots (to make your own, see recipe below)
- 2 limes, quartered
- 6 garlic cloves, peeled
- 200 g long red chillies, roughly chopped
- 2 lemongrass stems, white part only, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 5 kaffir lime leaves, finely shredded
Fried Shallots or Garlic
- 250 ml coconut oil
- 4 French shallots or garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- Soak the noodles in a bowl of cold water for 10 minutes to soften slightly. Meanwhile, to make the spice paste, process the garlic, chilli, lemongrass, turmeric and lime leaves in a food processor or pound using a mortar and pestle until smooth.
- Place the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the spice paste and fry for 2 minutes until fragrant. Add the coconut milk, honey (if using) and tamarind paste and bring to the boil. Add the prawns and bring back to the boil. Turn off the heat and allow to sit for 5 minutes until the prawns are just cooked through. Add the fish sauce, lime juice and cabbage. Return the pan to medium heat and cook for 1 minute.
- Divide the noodles among four serving bowls and spoon on the laksa, making sure the prawns are divided evenly between the bowls. Garnish with the bean sprouts, basil, coriander and fried shallots. Serve with the lime quarters.
- Fried shallots or garlic
To make your own fried shallots or garlic, melt the oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallots or garlic and cook for 2–3 minutes until golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel. (You can re-use the oil for sautéing vegetables or cooking meat, chicken or fish.)