Penny Oliver has been writing recipes for New Zealanders for more than 25 years. In her latest cookbook, 'One-dish Dinners' she shows how simple fabulous meals can be. Here's her recipe for fresh and fragrant laksa.
1 small red chilli, seeded
1 stalk lemongrass, centre only
6 coriander stalks
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2.5cm piece ginger, peeled and chopped
1 ½ tablespoons shrimp paste
½ teaspoon turmeric
2 tablespoons peanut oil
4–6 button or oyster mushrooms
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 ½ cups good-quality fish stock
2 kaffir lime leaves, thinly sliced
1 × 400ml can coconut milk
2 teaspoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
sea salt and ground black pepper
115g rice noodles
12 large raw prawns, peeled
100g monkfish or similar, cut into bite-sized pieces
½ cup bean sprouts
fresh coriander sprigs to garnish
½ red chilli, thinly sliced (optional)
Light, fresh, fragrant and nourishing. I adore laksa and could eat it almost every night.
Preparation and Cooking Time: 25 minutes
To make the paste, chop chilli and lemongrass. Place all the paste ingredients except the oil in a food processor and pulse to break it up. With the motor running, pour in oil to form a paste. It’s worth taking the time to make extra; store in the refrigerator for up to 2 months or keep frozen. Alternatively, store-bought laksa pastes are available from Asian stores.
To make the laksa, thinly slice mushrooms. In a medium saucepan over a low heat, cook mushrooms in oil for 1 minute. Stir in laksa paste and cook for a minute or so until it smells fragrant.
Add stock, kaffir lime leaves, coconut milk, fish sauce, lime juice and ginger. Gently simmer for 7–10 minutes, then taste and season with sea salt and ground black pepper to taste.
While it cooks, soak noodles in hot water until soft as per packet instructions. Drain well.
Add prawns and fish to the soup and cook for 2 minutes or until the fish is opaque. Drop in the sprouts and remove from the heat.
Divide the noodles between serving bowls. Ladle the soup over noodles and garnish with coriander sprigs and red chilli slices, if using.