Vegan laksa

Vegan laksa

vegan laksa

I am nearing the end of my stay in Krakow. I’ve completed a monumental amount of dental treatment whilst here (so it wasn’t all fun) and I am glad for it to be over and to be going back home. Having said that it was really nice to see my parents, to see the city covered in snow and to have a break from cooking (courtesy of my lovely mum and a few nearby eateries offering good vegan food).

I decided to get my teeth in tip-top shape, as lots of my old fillings needed replacing and I am planning to have adult braces put on soon. Duncan has blazed the trail for me (he is nearly done with his treatment) and he made me realise that once you get used to them, wearing them isn’t as big a deal as I had thought. Sure they are annoying to keep clean and you would not have them put on for the fun of it, but having crooked teeth is neither pretty nor easy to keep cavity-free, so I am going to bite the bullet. If you visit the blog at some point to find it awash with soups, smoothies and mashed potatoes, you’ll know why…And I apologise in advance… 😛

Even though, I’m still about a month away from having the braces put on, today’s recipe happens to be a soup. It’s not any old soup though, it’s an aromatic, spicy and creamy vegan laksa that’s really filling and comforting – perfect for these cold winter months. It’s warming and it won’t leave you hungry, thanks to a generous topping of flat rice noodles, steamed broccoli, pan-fried tofu cubes and sprouts.

In creating this recipe, I went against Duncan’s wisdom to keep things simple and I am hoping you’ll see that it’s worth it. We always have this tug of war going on in our kitchen when he is like ‘come up with something really simple’ and I always set out with this very intention, but then get side-tracked and before I know it the recipe can no longer be called simple. See, to my mind a tasty vegan recipe (or any recipe for that matter) relies on a careful layering of flavours and textures that play off each other. Sometimes simple pleasures like new potatoes with some vegan butter and a pinch of salt will do, but most of the time a bit more effort is required to create a dish you’ll want to have again and again.

With laksa, the devil is in the spicy and aromatic paste that needs to be slowly fried off for as long as possible for all its amazing flavours to develop. Then it’s about the creaminess of coconut versus the acidity of lime and the freshness of sprouts and herbs, versus the toothiness of noodles. Typically, laksa paste contains shrimp paste for umami (or 5th taste as it’s also known). To mimic that seafoody taste, I’ve ground up some nori sheets, which adds a subtle taste of the ocean to my paste and I am really pleased with the outcome. I really hope you’ll make it and love it as much as we did!

vegan laksa ingredients

vegan laksa soup ready

vegan laksa bowl

serves
4-6
PREP
20 min
COOKING
60 min
serves
4-6
PREPARATION
20 min
COOKING
60 min
INGREDIENTS
LAKSA PASTE*

  • 3 medium shallots, sliced roughly
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 lemongrass stalks, white part chopped (but keep the rest)
  • about 40 g / 1.5 oz ginger or galangal, sliced roughly
  • 4 fresh red chillis or dried Thai chillis soaked in boiling water (adjust to your level of heat tolerance)
  • 1 tbsp ground (approx. 1 sheet) nori (toasted seaweed used for sushi), torn into bits**
  • 2 tbsp neutral tasting oil (I used rice bran oil)
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground coriander or 2 tsp coriander seeds (toasted and ground)
  • ½ tsp ground cumin or 1 tsp cumin seeds (toasted and ground)
  • 1 tsp sweet ground paprika (optional, for colour)

BROTH

  • 1.2 L / 5 cups veggie stock or veggie stock powder / cube dissolved in water
  • 1¼ tsp fine salt, adjust to taste
  • 400 ml / 14 oz full fat coconut milk
  • juice of ½ lime (approx. 2-3 tbsp), adjust to taste
  • 1½ tsp sugar (I used coconut sugar), adjust to taste

TOPPINGS

  • steamed green veggies: broccoli, bok choi, spinach
  • 200 g flat rice noodles, cooked
  • 250 g of shop-bought tofu puffs or fried / baked tofu
  • 200 g fresh bean sprouts, cleaned and blanched
  • fresh coriander, chopped
METHOD
  1. Place all the paste ingredients apart from the dry spices in a food processor or chopper and process until finely shredded. You could also use a blender, but you will need to add water and the paste will splatter a lot when being fried off in the next step.
  2. Heat up 2 tbsp of oil in a heavy bottomed pot. Add the laksa paste and fry it off very slowly (on a low heat) for at least 15 minutes, stirring the whole time.
  3. With 5 minutes left to go, add dry spices and continue to fry the mixture off gently, stirring regularly.
  4. Next, add in stock, 1 tsp of salt and all the lemongrass leftovers that did not go into the paste, apart from the very outer leaves. Cover the pot and bring the soup to a gentle simmer. Simmer for about 30 minutes.
  5. Fish out the lemongrass bits with a slotted spoon and discard. Slowly stir in coconut milk.
  6. Taste the soup and season to taste with more salt (if needed), lime juice and a touch of sugar.
  7. Divide the greens, noodles and tofu puffs between 4 bowls. Top with blanched sprouts and fresh coriander.

NOTES
*As a cheat, you could use 3-4 tbsp of shop-bought vegan Thai red curry paste instead. It won’t be quite authentic, but also delicious and way faster.

**I pregrind it in my spice grinder and keep it in a sealed jar as it’s a perfect, rich in iodine, seasoning to sprinkle on rice / sushi and it makes an excellent replacement for the fishy umami flavour that so many South-East Asian dishes feature.

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NUTRITIONAL INFO
calories
409
20%
sugars
9 g
10%
fats
25 g
35%
saturates
16 g
78%
proteins
14 g
29%
carbs
36 g
14%
*per serving
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4.9
33 reviews, 52 comments
REVIEWS & QUESTIONS
Jos:
Fantastic! We added an extra chili and it was perfect.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks Jos, I am delighted to hear that you enjoyed it! x Ania
charlotte:
looks delicious! do you not cook the vegetables at all before serving?
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Charlotte,
    Thank you. Yes, they are cooked (steamed & blanched). Hope that helps! Ania
Chaanah Crichton:
Made this tonight for dinner. Was yummy with great flavours, but took me over an hour to make the soup and prep the veggies and tofu etc. My blender didn’t make a smooth paste initially so I scooped out all of the chunky bits after simmering for 30 mins, re-blended them once soft and added back in before adding the coconut milk. Seemed to work fine!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Chaanah,
    Good to hear that you enjoyed the flavours and yes, homemade laksa isn't quick to make - it takes time to coax flavours out. The paste is on the dry side so a food processor or a mini chopper are much more suitable than a blender, which is why I think yours struggled a bit. I'm glad you worked out a way and enjoyed the meal overall. x Ania
Angelina:
Just need to clarify, is it 2 tbsp oil for the paste, and another 2 tbsp oil for frying the paste?
And also it's the white part of the lemongrass that is for blending into paste?
Thanks! Looking forward to trying it out! :)~
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Angelina,
    Not necessarily, if you are looking to use less oil you don't need to add it to the paste at all. The oil is needed to fry the paste off though to cook & caramelise the paste's ingredients. Hope this helps! Ania
Julia:
I don't usually leave comments on blogs like this, but I just have to say that this is phenomenal. Possibly one of the best things I've ever made. Thank you so much for taking all the time to make this recipe both vegan and perfect!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thank you so much for your kind words, Julia! I am so touched that you thought so highly of this recipe and thank you for taking the time to leave this review. x Ania
Melissa:
I've never made a laksa before, let alone a vegan one, so I went into this with low expectations which were totally blown away! I think this recipe does a really good job at hitting very close to that authentic laksa soup flavour. It's a bit of a process to put together if you've never made it before (I'm sure I'll do better next time), but it turned out way better than I was expecting and was really enjoyable.
Thanks so much for the recipe. xx
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks so much, Melissa! I'm so happy to hear that you enjoyed this vegan laksa so much and thank you for returning to write up this lovely review – I really appreciate it. x Ania
Ann:
I made this last week and couldn’t stop thinking about it ever since - hands down the best meal I’ve ever made so thank you!!! The flavours are jsut so perfectly balanced. I was so in love with it I decided to make it again tonight but it lacked the same creamy velvety consistency and after much head scratching I realised it had to be the brand of coconut milk - so word of caution: not all coconut milks are created equal. Here in Aus you can get ‘lite’ or ‘premium’ coconut milk and between the brands of the ‘premium’ variety the fat content varies from 12-23%/100 grams and 40-90% pure coconut content - so be sure to get the fattiest , most coconut filled version you can find otherwise it ends up far too liquidy and spicy. Also here we call green/spring onions shallots so that’s what I’ve been using for the paste (which has still turned out great!!) 😂 but excited to go buy some actual ‘shallots’ next time.
Aside from my now thorough education on the discrepancies of coconut milk - I love using vermicelli in place of thicker rice noodles!!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Ann,
    Thank you for your kind words, I'm so pleased to hear that you enjoyed this meal. And thank you so much for taking the time to leave this review - I really appreciate it. Yes, definitely - full fat coconut milk is far superior when it comes to mouthfeel. Did not know that about spring onions being called shallots down under (and my husband is an Aussie!) but as they are from the same family, that's no biggie. Hope you'll enjoy the shallot version just as much. x Ania
Merlyn Morrison:
We had this laksa at the weekend and it was genuinely delicious!!
Definitely adding this to our regular rotation of meals :) so yum xxx
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thank you, Merlyn! I'm delighted to hear that you enjoyed it so much! x Ania
What an amazing recipe! Easy to find ingredients and easy to follow. I messed up by putting the dried spices in with the food processor blend but it still came out full of flavour. I can’t wait to make this again, thank you :)
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thank you for your kind words, TJ! I'm delighted that you enjoyed this dish so much and thank you for taking the time to review. x Ania
Tash:
This is my favourite vegan laksa recipe and I use it a lot! It's the closest recipe I've found to the bowls of laksa I had in Malaysia. I often add kafir lime leaves, crunchy noodles and Thai pickled greens and also eat this as a laksa/Khao soi hybrid and it's great.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thank you, Tash. Delighted I could approximate your travel food memories with my recipe and your additions sound really great. x Ania
Georgie:
This was SO good!!!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks, Georgie! I'm so pleased to hear that! x Ania
Aleksandra @Fitalicious Nutrition:
I absolutely loved this recipe! I followed it to the letter and it was just perfect! The spices really came through. The recipe was very easy to follow, so no stress in the kitchen. And I finally had an excuse to try pak choi for the first time! Thank you for sharing x
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks so much for your kind feedback, Aleksandra! So happy to hear that you enjoyed my take on laksa and that you had no issues with the recipe. x Ania
Lindsay Harrod:
Love this, made it tonight and so yummy! Added some fish sauce as I'm not vegan which was really nice.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thank you, Lindsay! I'm so happy to hear that you enjoyed it! Ania
JustEat Singh:
Wow! I made this exactly as set out here and I have to say it came out beautifully!!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks so much! I am delighted you enjoyed it and I saw it on your Instagram - it made me feel hungry immediately! Ania
Amy Geeves:
Hi :) love this recipe
How long can the paste be kept in the fridge xx
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thank you, Amy. As it doesn't contain oil, not that long, I'm afraid. I would say 2-3 days to be on the safe side. You can freeze it though. Ania
Kiara:
I made this with store bought curry paste and added fresh lemon grass, chili flakes, garlic and some frozen lime leaves to the broth. And topped it with steamed broccoli, cilantro, spring onion and pan fried tofu, it was so delicious!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Glad to hear you enjoyed it, Kiara!
Hailey.P:
I hope I can use the mandarine zest instead of lemongrass stalks.
And happy to see your page since I've been desparating to seek vegan laksa recipe!
Thanks for sharing your idea Ania :)
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Hailey,
    Sure, you can if you want, but it isn't really anything like the aroma and flavour of lemongrass. I've seen some people use lime zest, but again, not quite the same but I totally understand if you cannot find it. I hope you'll enjoy it regardless. Ania
Mia:
Amazing and fresh with punch! Made this tonight and it was my favourite laksa recipe.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thank you so much, Mia. I'm delighted to hear that you enjoyed it and thank you so much for taking the time to review the recipe - much appreciated. Ania
Hayleigh:
This recipe is amazing! The broth is so flavourful. Highly recommend to everyone! Would omit some of the chillies though if your not keen on food being quite spicy 😊
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks so much for your kind words, Hayleigh! I'm delighted you enjoyed this dish and thank you for taking the time to let me and my other readers know - I appreciate it. Ania
Haeli:
This recipe was so yummy! I made it the “lazy” way with store bought vegan red curry paste, so I can’t wait to make the laksa paste as per the recipe next time. Such a great recipe to use up some fridge veg - I added some mushrooms, julienned peppers and carrot ribbons as well as the greens!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks so much, Haeli! I'm delighted to hear that you enjoyed my take on this dish. Ania
Amy Elworthy:
Oh no I accidently put the dry spices into the paste when I blitzed it up, do you think this will matter too much?? Or should I start over? Thanks : )
    Ania
    Ania:
    That's okay, just dry the paste off really gently (on low heat) so that the spices toast gently and not burn. Hope this helps and that you'll enjoy this dish. Ania
Julian:
yes thanks for the quick reply
Julian:
hello im confused about the paste do i blend the white or non-white parts of the lemongrass? this looks delicously and I cant wait to make it.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Julian,
    What goes into the paste is the soft, inner, white part of each stalk as the rest is super hard and fibrous - horrible to eat. It can be used to flavour the stock however and then discarded at the end. Hope that helps! Ania
Jasmine Sapolu:
I made this for dinner tonight and it was very delicious! Thank you for your recipe.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Glad to hear, thanks Jasmine! Ania
Regina La:
Absolutely phenomenal recipe! Just made it for my boyfriend and his parents for dinner and they all said it tasted amazing!
    Ania
    Ania:
    I am delighted to hear that it went down so well. And thank you so much for letting me know. x Ania
Timo:
Very nice
    Ania
    Ania:
    thanks!
Chloe Smith:
Hi there! This recipe sounds so delicious! I cannot wait to give it a try!
I know this may sound a bit weird but Is there a way to make the sauce a bit thicker? I really like a thick sauce/ broth lol!
Thank you!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Chloe,
    You can just add less water/stock, more coconut milk (although that would affect the over flavour) or thicken it with a little cornflour or flour (making a roux). Hope that helps! Ania
Gia:
Really tasty and satisfying to make and eat!
I’m very grateful for this recipe, it’s my go to when I’m feeling run down!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thank you, Gia! I'm so glad to hear that! Stay well! Ania
Amy:
Made this tonight and it was a family favourite. I read another comment on the recipe about not adding the nori and I agree, it isnt really needed but I also did try it with nori and it was still lovely.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks, Amy! I am glad to hear that it went down so well with you and your family. I guess it's a matter of personal preference - I like a bit of 'fishiness'/umami nori imparts but like you say there is so many other things that impart flavour here that it's that essential if someone isn't a fan/has none on hand. x Ania
Chris:
I just made this last night and it was amazing.
Thanks so much for the recipe!!
    Ania
    Ania:
    My pleasure, Chris! I am glad you liked it! x Ania
Amy:
Wow. Just made this and wow!
No lemongrass or lime on hand but still yum!!
Sadly nothing interesting to put in it other than ramen and tofu.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Glad you enjoyed it, Amy. x Ania
Sophie:
My paste ended up being really bitter; any thoughts on why that would be? I ended up diluting it by adding more sugar, salt, and water, but I would've loved to have kept more of the original flavor.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Sophie,
    It sounds like the paste got burnt - that's what gives it a bitter flavour. It is key to use low heat and stir the whole time. Ania
keith:
Looks gorge! Can you freeze it with all its toppings?
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Keith,
    I would freeze the soup, sure, but I think the toppings may not be very nice after thawing. That's my hunch anyway. Ania
Dyarni:
Sounds delicious! Do you know how money calories per serving this has? :)
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Dyarni,
    I am sorry but I am unable to provide calorie count for my recipes. Ania
Loreen:
If you’re looking for the best Laska recipe, just stop and make this one. This was SO GOOD! The flavor was exactly what I wanted- I was not expecting this to be as amazing as it was ( in a good way!) Awesome recipe. I’ve been making curries for years, and this one is the best by far.
My small changes-
I used spaghetti squash instead of noodles ( I cooked it separately, I didn’t want them getting soggy)
I used kombu instead of nori, added it with the extra lemongrass pieces and took them out at the same time, too.
Next time I’ll roast some cashews to add to the toppings.
This recipe is bookmarked! Thanks Ania! Excited to see what other recipes you have on here!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks Loreen! I am delighted to hear that you enjoyed it so much! x Ania
Katherine:
This looks delicious. Here in Australia I have been using vegan fish sauce which would be perfect to supply that flavour you’re looking for. I found it in the local Asian food store. You should surely be able to find it in the UK.
Anyway lovely recipes and always beautifully styles
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks, Katherine! I'm pleased to hear that you appreciate my recipes and styling. Yes, I have heard of a vegan fish sauce (and seen it on amazon) but I have not come across it in the UK yet. I tend to make my own, but I am reluctant to include it in the recipe as it has quite a few ingredients and a bit of a process and I don't want to produce an overly complicated recipe as it puts many people off. I might publish it as a recipe soon, actually. x Ania
Basia:
Just wanted to say that I'm also up for a record breaking amount of dental treatments in Krakow in February which I’m not looking forward to :(
This recipe looks lovely - I might make it today!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Aw, good luck! I know exactly what you are going through! Even though my dentist was super nice, I am so mentally scarred from my past experience that I dreaded every visit. xx
Anne:
Hi Satya and Ania
Have you considered putting the ingredients into some app such as MyfitnessPal as this will often give you the breakdown. I manually add into Recipes, putting in the number of portions I expect to get
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks for the suggestion, Anne! I am hoping that will help Satya to get the breakdown she needs! Ania
Satya St. George:
Hello Ania,
I love your recipe's simple or elaborate doesn't bother me, you are amazing and give us such amazing concoctions.
I was wondering if you would consider breaking down some of the nutritional values in your creations, I have a problem in that I am diabetic and need to count for instance both calories and carbs, in order to dose my meds with. Otherwise I have to just shoot from the hip and guess. The laska soup looks amazing and I have to be careful to get a reasonable amount of carbs because my body uses this for energy, and takes energy from my muscles, while I have this challenge.
I count my calories because I am gradually cutting them to a healthy level for weight loss which helps me eventually overcome the diabetes, as I am type 2.
I do understand it could be hard to do this and I would do it, only I don't know how to begin getting the nutritional values, maybe if you know you could direct me to finding out how to do that, if this would not suit your schedule, I know I am asking a lot, and it's time consuming.
Thank you for your consideration xoxox
Satya
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Satya,
    Many thanks for your kind words about my recipes - so nice to hear!
    As for your request, I would love to able to provide these values, but as you say it's a very time consuming job as I don't know of a reliable plugin that calculates all these values automatically. Additionally, I would have to do that for all my past recipes, which I have more over 400 at the moment. Here is an explanation on how to calculate your macros, which is what I think you are after. I know that there are phone applications that can help you do that, but I cannot recommend any as I have never attempted to do that myself. Sorry I cannot be of any more help right now. Ania
Sheri:
OMG, outstanding!!!! We served it with lime wedges as well as all the other suggested toppings, and also offered chili garlic sauce :-) completely, amazingly perfect! PS, we left out the nori, we felt it really wasn't needed but would probably also be great with it!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thank you for your feedback, Sheri! I am glad you enjoyed it. As for nori, it was intended as a substitute for shrimp paste that is key to the original laksa taste, but I am glad you enjoyed the version without it too! X Ania
Sally:
Hi Ania, 💉hope they're giving you plenty of local anaesthetic! Is the Polish NHS better than Britains's?
    Ania
    Ania:
    Aw, thanks, Sally. I doubt Polish NHS is any better, to be honest, plus I am not entitled to it as I have not lived in Poland for the last 15 years. I went privately and the level of care was outstanding. Ania
Julie:
Hi Ania
Me again lol. I made your wellington at Christmas. Very good
I fancy making this creamy laksa but I don’t like coconut. Could I replace the coconut milk with yoghurt do you think?
Many thanks
Julie
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thank you, Julie! I am delighted to hear that the wellington turned out to be such a success! As for your question regarding laksa, that's a tough one. I worry that yoghurt will curdle in the hot soup. Perhaps cashew cream would work. To make it, simply soak raw (not toasted) cashews in boiling water for 30 minutes and then blend in a blender with enough water to obtain a thick, smooth cream. Hope that helps!
Jacquie Gariano:
I ove your blog. It has so many interesting recipes and ideas. It isn't always easy to fine tasty vegan recipes to fit many tastes and diet restrictions. This helps so much to have such a variety. Thanks.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thank you, I'm really happy to hear that, Jacquie! Ania
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