Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Vegetarian Laksa~! ^^

My boyfriend loves Laksa so much, and I thought, as a good girlfriend, I should try and learn how to make it! How difficult could it be right?

As I've sort of made a promise to be a vegan for a month, this recipe is vegan/vegetarian. For all you meat-eaters roaring displeasure, I'm sorry! The vegetarian version is delicious still! It may not be as fragrant as I've omitted dried shrimps, but I substituted chopped mushrooms instead. Stir-fried mushrooms are really fragrant too, right? Haha!

Don't let the amount of ingredients scare you. Most of them are easily found!

Warning: Wear gloves when handling chilli. The seeds burn into your hands and your hands will feel like it's constantly on fire. It's a miserable feeling. If you have chilli burn, prepare a bowl and some salt. Rub your burning hands or finger with salt. Rub THOROUGHLY, until burning sensation is gone. Wash with water. I've tried all other methods: alcohol, mayonnaise, milk, cucumber...goodness gracious. Salt is the only one that worked.

Ingredients (serves 3~4):

- you can choose any noodles you like. I chose beehoon (rice noodles). You can even serve it with rice if you want to.

Laksa Paste:
- 50g garlic, chopped
- 50g shallots, chopped
- 1 slice ginger, coarsely chopped
- 50g dried chilli, sliced, seeds removed, soaked in hot water
- 1 tablespoon vegetarian belachan chilli
- 1 tablespoon coriander powder (optional)
- 2 tablespoons of water/ 1 tablespoon of sesame oil, for easy blending

- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 1 cup coconut milk/coconut cream
- Laksa paste (see above)
- Lemongrass stem, crushed (optional)
- 4 tablespoons salt
- 4 tablespoons sugar

- Shiitake Mushrooms
- Tau Pok (Tofu Puffs)
- Beansprouts
- Laksa Leaves or Basil Leaves, ground finely
- anything else you like. :) For non-vegetarians, you can try fishcake, egg, etc. :)

1. Soak Beehoon in water to soften it.

2. Put all the ingredients in Laksa Paste into the blender and blend it to a nice consistency.

3. In a nonstick pan, fry Laksa paste over medium heat.

4. In a pot, bring vegetable stock to a boil. You can use chicken stock if you are not a vegan/vegetarian.

5. Turn to medium heat. Add in Laksa Paste and Lemongrass stem. Stir the broth.

6. Add coconut milk/cream. Add salt and sugar to taste.

7. Add all the toppings you want into your broth (except beansprouts and Laksa/basil leaves). Let broth simmer for 5 minutes under low heat.

If using mushrooms, fry the first before adding into the soup.

8. Pour away soaking water for Beehoon. In another pot, cook beehoon.

9. Drain beehoon. Serve in a bowl and put some beansprouts on it.

10. Pour broth over your noodles with toppings on top. Sprinkle Laksa leaves/ Basil leaves on top as a beautiful garnish.

Verdict: My boyfriend insisted that once I'm off my vegan diet, we should try to make the Laksa Paste with fried haebee (tiny dried shrimps) to make it really fragrant. This was super spicy because of the belachan chilli I bought... -__-" It was just a sweating good time eating this, but yea, I do agree with my boyfriend that the broth could be more fragrant. For anyone who has made Vegetarian Laksa before, any suggestions to make my recipe better??

Special thanks to my friend, Evelyn, who helped me a lot in my Laksa-cooking adventure. She gave me her grandmother's recipe and I modified it to make it vegan-friendly.

Will you try this???  Hehe! It's impressive, don't you think? The ingredients are easily found in vegetarian stores and markets.

Where to Buy:

- Vegetarian Belachan Chilli

This is what I used. I bought it in a Chinese vegetarian shop downstairs where I live. Most of these ingredients (beehoon, tofu puffs, dried chilli, coconut milk etc) can be bought in Chinese vegetarian shops. This little jar of spice is only S$3.40.

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