In some ways chicken laksa is a cousin of chicken noodle soup. They both rely on the classic combination of noodles, chicken and stock, and they both make you feel better when you’re a bit under the weather: a hug in a bowl (…that might be stretching it a bit far, but you know what I mean). To my mind both are pure comfort food, but the spice in the soup base of a laksa, gives it a kick that takes the experience to another level.
I feel guilty for not offering up a homemade laksa paste, but there’s nothing like the convenience of a store bought paste. As we all know, the variation in the quality of the bought product can cause all sorts of issues, but once you find the one you are happy to use, then its a great option for a quick dinner. I use the Simon Johnson laksa paste, which comes in a 110g jar. If you use a different brand make sure to read the label regarding the quantity of paste to use.
But a laksa paste alone does not make a laksa. The addition of fish sauce, lime juice, palm sugar and kaffir lime leaves, helps you ignore the store bought component and make it all your own. When you want something interesting to eat, and don’t have the time or energy to make it from scratch, this is a perfect option. Enjoy!
- 1 tablespoon peanut oil
- 100 g laksa paste (or quantity recommended on jar)
- 1 litre chicken stock
- 400 ml tin of coconut milk
- 4 fresh kaffir lime leaves
- 2½ tablespoons lime juice
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons grated palm sugar
- 1 large chicken breast (around 300 g), thinly sliced
- 1 carrot, cut into thin batons (julienned)
- 12 snow peas
- 250 g rice noodles
- 3 tablespoons roughly chopped vietnamese mint
- ½ cup fresh coriander leaves
- 1 cup bean sprouts
- 1 lime cut into wedges to serve
- Soak the rice noodles in boiling water until they have softened. (Check the instructions on the packet.) Drain.
- While they are soaking make the soup:
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan, over a low heat and cook the laksa paste for 2-3 minutes. You need to stir constantly and make sure it doesn't burn.
- Add the chicken stock and bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes so that the liquid is slightly reduced.
- Add the coconut milk, kaffir lime leaves, lime juice, fish sauce and palm sugar, and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add the thinly sliced chicken breast and simmer for a couple of minutes. Do not boil or cover.
- Add the carrot sticks and snow peas and simmer for a minute or 2. Check the chicken is cooked through and your ready to serve.
- Divide the noodles between 4 bowls.
- Ladle hot soup over the noodles. Top with the vietnamese mint, coriander leaves and bean sprouts. Serve with lime wedges