Simple Laksa Noodle Soup with Tofu
Simple to prepare evening meals are my mainstay, even more so whilst I’m cooking for one. It’s good to have some variation though and this simple laksa noodle soup with tofu, red peppers and green cabbage is a filling and delicious addition to my repertoire. It has the added advantage of being vegan, so it makes a perfect dairy free meal.
Laksa soup is spicy coconut noodle broth popular in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. Traditionally, it’s made with rice noodles with the addition of chicken, prawns, fish or tofu puffs and finally topped with laksa leaf otherwise known as Vietnamese coriander. Spices include, but are not limited to, garlic, coriander, turmeric, lemongrass and chilli and there is usually a dash of something sour, such as lime or tamerind. Although the word laksa may originate from the Persian for noodle ‘laksha’, noodles were introduced to the region by Chinese immigrants.
Backpacking In New Zealand
I have very fond memories of laksa soup. When CT and I were backpacking around the Antipodes many years ago, we found an Indonesian restaurant that served bowls of laksa broth. It didn’t contain noodles but was accompanied by a large stack of flatbreads to go with it. It was the cheapest thing on the menu and we ate it every day for the entire week we were in Wellington. It was delicious. I’m not sure what we did for protein as there was no tofu in it, but we survived to tell the tale.
Simple Laksa Noodle Soup
If you want to go all out, you can make up your own laksa paste. Keep it in the fridge to use whenever needed. However, in this instance I take the more simple route. Steenbergs do a wonderful organic laksa spice mix which I’m very happy with and I top it up regularly. It’s not a paste, so I do add copious amounts of fresh ginger and garlic along with some extra turmeric. The rest is easy, it’s just a case of frying up some shallots (or onions) in coconut oil, adding the spices then whatever vegetables you fancy along with some water, coconut milk and tamari for extra depth of flavour. The tofu goes in last so it doesn’t break up, but has time to absorb some of the flavour.
You can use whatever noodles you like. For this dish all I had in was some spaghetti, so I used that instead. It worked perfectly. If you’re gluten intolerant, rice or even buckwheat noodles are easy to get hold of these days and are just as tasty. In fact buckwheat noodles are my absolute favourite.
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Simple Laksa Noodle Soup – The Recipe
- 2 tsp coconut oil
- 1 shallot or half a small onion - finely chopped
- 2 plump cloves garlic - finely grated
- 1 thumb size chunk of root ginger - finely grated
- 1 heaped tsp of laksa spice mix I use Steenbergs
- ½ tsp turmeric
- 750 ml water
- ½ can coconut milk well shaken
- 2 tsp tamari or other good quality soy sauce
- 3 large green cabbage leaves - shredded
- 1 large red bell pepper - deseeded and sliced
- 200 g tofu - cut into 1 cm squares
- a squeeze of lime juice I used 1 tsp of coriander, chilli & lime vinegar instead
- A few sprigs of coriander leaves - chopped.
- 100g Dried noodles of your choice
- Fry the shallot in the coconut oil until soft.
- Add the garlic and ginger and fry for a further minute.
- Add the laksa spice mix and turmeric and fry for a further minute.
- Add the water, coconut milk and tamari and bring to a gentle simmer.
- Add the cabbage and pepper and simmer for 10 minutes or until the vegetables are nearly soft, but still retain a bit of a bite. Add the tofu after the first five minutes.
- Stir in the lime juice just before serving.
- Meanwhile, cook the noodles as per instructions. Divide between two large bowls, then ladle on the laksa. Sprinkle the coriander leaves over the top and tuck in.
Add a pinch or two of chilli flakes if you like things extra spicy.
Other South-East Asian recipes you might like
- Anti-inflammatory Malaysian vegetable curry via Eat Cook Explore
- Asian kale, noodle & coconut broth via Foodie Quine
- Thai green curry with jasmine rice – via Tin and Thyme