Laksa is a spicy noodle soup that is popular in Singapore and Malaysia. There are a gabillion different variations of it. Some have a curry-coconut broth while others have a sour fish broth or tamarind-based broth. Laksa can be made with seafood, chicken, beef, and/or tofu. This particular Laksa recipe is one I came up with after scanning about 20 other Laksa recipes online. It’s not all that authentic, but it is quick, tasty, easy to prepare, and the ingredients can be found in most American grocery stores.
1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
1 medium onion, quartered and thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely minced (or about 1 tablespoon of ginger paste)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 tablespoon (or to taste) sambal olek (sriracha can be substituted)
4 cups broth (vegetable, chicken, shrimp, etc…)
1 13.5 ounce can coconut milk
1 pound shrimp, shelled and deveined
1 package rice vermicelli, cooked according to package directions
fish sauce, to taste
fresh lime wedges
chopped fresh chiles (optional)
Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium heat and sauté the onion softened. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for another minute. Add the cumin, coriander, turmeric, and sambal olek (or sriracha). Add the broth and bring to a boil.
As soon as the soup comes to a boil, reduce the heat and add the shrimp and coconut milk. Let cook until shrimp is pink and cooked through, about 3 – 4 minutes. Season to taste with the fish sauce, about 1 tablespoon.
Divide the cooked rice noodles in bowls and ladle the soup over the noodles. Sprinkle with fresh cilantro and serve with lime wedges and chiles (optional).
Chicken and eggplant is a classic Thai combination. When stir-fried with a curry paste, it makes for an easy meal. This recipe took me less than 20 minutes from start to finish. I served it with some Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice (Brown Basmati). So easy.
I used Maesri brand Prik Khing curry paste, which I bought at an Asian market, when I made this. I’m a huge fan of Maesri curry pastes.
You can use your favorite Thai curry paste. Thai Kitchen makes red and green curry pastes and they are easily found in the ethnic section of some grocery stores. If using Thai Kitchen curry paste, you probably want to reduce the amount of curry paste. I would suggest with starting with 2 teaspoons and going from there if you want it spicier.
I don’t always have access to fresh Thai basil. When I do get Thai basil, I chop what I don’t use immediately in a food processor and freeze it. I just break off a piece of the frozen Thai basil and add it to my dish while I’m cooking it.
Thai Chicken and Eggplant Curry
2 tablespoons oil (I used canola, but coconut would be good too)
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced into bite-size pieces
2 tablespoons Thai curry paste (I used Prik Khing curry paste)
1 large unpeeled Japanese eggplant (or 2 small), sliced (about 1/4-inch) diagonally
1 green bell pepper, cored and sliced
1 tablespoon fish sauce (or to taste)
1 teaspoon sugar
fresh Thai basil, torn (about a handful)
Heat the oil in a wok (or skillet) over high heat. Add the chicken and cook until it is just starting to lose it’s pink color. Add the curry paste and stir-fry until the chicken is coated. Add the eggplant and bell pepper. Season with fish sauce and sugar. Stir-fry until the chicken is cooked through, and the eggplant is cooked to your preference. I like mine tender, but not mushy. Add the Thai basil and take off the heat. Serve with hot rice.
Earlier this year, I revamped one of my favorite Thai soups to make it vegetarian, as well as acceptable for the low iodine diet I was on at the time. I was super happy with the way the soup turned out. It was delicious! So flavorful.
I replaced the traditional fish sauce with a Umami Sauce I made. I typically use my favorite Madras curry powder in this recipe, but I included a recipe for a Madras-style curry powder at the bottom of the recipe anyway. I have a big collection of spices, but I realize not everyone does, so feel free to replace the Madras curry powder with any store-bought Indian curry powder. For the noodles you can use linguine (or spaghetti) or rice noodles.
I contacted Thai Kitchen via their Facebook page and asked about the type of salt they use in their products. Turns out they do not use iodized salt. This opens a world of possibilities for those on a low iodine diet. The Thai Kitchen red curry paste should not be hard to find. Look in the ethnic section of your grocery store. I actually bought a jar at Target.
Chiang Mai Curry Noodle Soup with Vegetables
1/2 lb. linguine, cooked
1 tsp. vegetable oil
1 – 3 tsp. Thai Kitchen red curry paste (to taste)
1 T. Madras curry powder (recipe follows)
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 can (13.5 oz.) unsweetened coconut milk
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock (unsalted or homemade for LID)
3 tablespoons Umami Sauce
1 tsp. sugar
1/8 head green cabbage, cored and shredded
4 ounces sugar snap peas, strings removed and halved (you can use snow peas instead)
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced (or use the mushrooms left over from making the Umami Sauce)
1/2 to 1 12 ounce (approximately) can baby corn, drained
1 cup fresh spinach, torn
Kosher salt, to taste
fresh cilantro leaves
unsalted peanuts, crushed
limes, cut into wedges
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add shredded cabbage and cook until just tender. Add the red curry paste, curry powder, and cumin and cook, stirring, until fragrant (about 40 seconds). Whisk in coconut milk and stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, add Umami Sauce and sugar, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Stir in sugar snap peas, mushrooms, and baby corn and simmer until all the veggies are tender, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with kosher salt. Stir in torn spinach and take off the heat.
Divide noodles in soup bowls, ladle soup into bowls, and top with fresh cilantro leaves and crushed unsalted peanuts. Serve with a wedge of lime.
Quick and Easy Salt-Free Madras Curry Powder
3 tablespoons ground turmeric
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground cardamom
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
Combine all of the spices and store in a glass Mason jar.
I have been getting some beautiful eggplants in my Pinckney’s Produce CSA box the past couple of weeks. I love making Thai curries and eggplant is one of my favorite curry ingredients. Using canned Thai curry paste and canned coconut milk, this eggplant curry couldn’t be easier.
I keep a variety of Thai curry pastes and canned coconut milk in the pantry for quick meals. The Maesri curry pastes are so amazing and functional. There are many different flavors available. My favorites are the red curry, green curry, prik khing, and masaman varieties. You can find Maesri curry pastes at Asian markets. I have even seen them on amazon.com at triple the price (or more) than what they sell for at Asian markets. If you have never been in an Asian market, you should go. They are fascinating places with all kinds of ingredients you have never seen before at really good prices. I have left Asian markets with 6 bags of groceries that cost me less than $40. Many of the ingredients in this recipe are easily found at an Asian market, but may be harder to find at the grocery store. So, use this recipe as an excuse to explore an Asian market.
Here is a picture of the Maesri green curry paste:
My favorite coconut milk is Chaokoh brand. Here’s a picture:
Thai Green Curry with Eggplant
.1 tablespoon coconut oil (or vegetable oil)
.1 4 ounce can Maesri green curry (This amount will make a very hot curry. You may want to start with 1/4 or 1/2 of the can and then add more if you like. It’s easier to add heat than take it away.)
.1 13.5 ounce can of coconut milk (shake the can before opening)
.1 large Italian eggplant (or 2 smaller ones), ends removed and cut into bite-size chunks (you can use any kind of eggplant, really)
.1 green or red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
.1 8 ounce can of bamboo shoots (sliced), rinsed and drained (you can also use fresh slice bamboo shoots that can be found in the produce section at Asian markets)
.1 tablespoon brown sugar (white sugar or coconut palm sugar is fine too) or to taste
.1 tablespoon of fish sauce (also found at an Asian market – my favorite brand is 3 Crabs, but other brands can sometimes be found in the Asian section at the grocery store) – leave this ingredient out to make this a vegetarian dish
.1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped (or 1/4 cup chopped Thai basil and 1/4 cup chopped cilantro)
In a wok (or skillet), over medium-high heat, heat the oil and then add the curry paste. Saute until fragrant and then stir in the coconut milk. Once combined, reduce the heat to medium and add the chopped eggplant, bell pepper, and bamboo shoots. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the eggplant is tender. Season the curry with the sugar and fish sauce. Add the chopped cilantro (and Thai basil, if using) and serve with rice.