I’ve been making chicken laksa for many years now and I suppose one ingredient I don’t tend to use in it anymore are bean shoots. Why? Firstly they are very hard to find fresh and secondly if you are a paleo purist then you should avoid them. If the sprouts are from mung beans and your body can tolerate it than having it is alright. If the bean shoots or sprouts are from soy, then avoid them. Soy is the worst of the legumes and has high amounts of anti-nutrients like phytic acid as well as being high in polyunsaturated fat, omega 6, which is highly inflammatory and therefore for many people can result in digestive issues.
To me they are not a necessary addition and living with or without them isn’t going to ruin a recipe.
Now as for the chicken laksa, I love it hot, and I love it sour. Since being diagnosed with IBD hot and spicy doesn’t sit well with me. Now that doesn’t mean I won’t push the boundaries, because I always do. Must be the stubbornness that defines me. Hahaha!
My son Jarryd was complaining that he couldn’t find a nice chicken laksa recipe so I thought it’s about time I revealed my version. Now if you don’t like chilli hot but don’t mind a little spice then you can remove the seeds from the chillies and it’s probably better if you wear gloves and don’t touch your face.
I still chuckle every time I think about my poor mother in law with her face covered in zinc cream? She explained she didn’t realise there was hot peppers in amongst the sweet peppers she was chopping up and when she touched her face well it started burning, even hours later her eyes and face were still burning.
Now the secret to a great laksa is making your own laksa paste. I make a batch of laksa paste which is enough for two meals, one lot for now and the other half I freeze for next time. And one of those ingredients you either love or hate – coriander features quite a bit in this recipe.
I also purchase lemongrass frozen from Indo-Asian groceries in Belmont. The stalks are cleaned and frozen ready to use. I always have some in my freezer for days when I decide, last minute to make laksa or one of my other dishes. Whether fresh or frozen it doesn’t matter. As regards chillies, if you have Sambal oelek in the pantry you can substitute this for the chillies. Now my paste also has cashew nuts though many asians use candle nuts. If you have a nut allergy then just leave out the cashews.
All I will say is it’s not a lot of effort involved in making it as it is whizzed up in the food processor. But believe me when I say you will never want to buy that stuff in the supermarket ever again. This homemade laksa paste is just mind blowing delicious. Oh if you want the chicken laksa soupy then only use 100 grams of sweet Potato Noodles or for a more noodle type dish add 2 packets of noodles. You can pick these up in the asian section of most supermarkets and asian grocery stores also. When I refer to sweet potato noodles, its not the spiralised fresh type but rather they look similar to dry rice noodles and aremshelf stable, meaning you can keep a few packets in the pantry.
5cm pice of fresh Ginger, peeled
3-4 cloves Garlic, crushed or 3-4 tablespoons garlic infused Olive Oil
2-3 Red Chillies or 2-3 tablespoons Sambol oelek
1 stalk Lemongrass, white part only
2 tablespoons Palm or Coconut Sugar
1 bunch fresh Coriander with roots (approx 150 grams) washed and roots scrubbed
1 tablespoon Cumin Powder
1 tablespoon fresh Turmeric or 1 teaspoon Turmeric Powder
2 tablespoons Natural Cashews (approx 12-14)
3 tablespoons Fish Sauce
8 Single Kaffir Lime leaves
1 heaped tablespoon Tamarind Paste
Put all the above ingredients into the bowl of a food processor and process till smooth. Scrape down sides of bowl and resume processing if needed.
Divide mixture into two containers, put one in freezer for later use and the other for the recipe below.
2 x large chicken Breasts (approx 800-900 grams)
1 litre Cold water
2 tablespoons Sesame Oil
3 tablespoons Garlic Infused Olive Oil or 3 cloves Garlic, crushed (if using fresh garlic add 2 tablespoons olive or coconut oil extra)
3-4 Spring Onions, (green part only), chopped finely and divided into 2 portions
1 portion Laksa Paste
100 grams Sweet Potato Noodles ( I use either ECO ORGANICS brand or OBAP brand)
500 ml Chicken Bone Broth or Chicken Stock
1 bunch fresh Coriander, chop stem finely and the leaves a little bigger
400 ml tinned full fat Coconut Milk
2-3 tablespoons Fish Sauce
1-2 Limes, for serving
In a medium saucepan put in water and chicken breast and bring to boil over a high heat. Once boiling reduce heat to medium and simmer for 25 minutes or until breast are cooked through. Set aside.
In a large saucepan over high heat add oils or oil and garlic, half the spring onions and the laksa paste and while stirring cook for 1 minute.
Add bone broth, coconut milk and the water from the chicken breasts and bring mixture back to a boil. Add noodles, stir and boil for about 5-8 minutes with lid on over medium heat until noodles are cooked.
Slice breasts into strips and add to the large saucepan and bring mixture back to a boil. Turn off heat. Add fish sauce, coriander and remaining half of the spring onions. Stir through and serve with half a lime with each bowl.
*Salt is not needed as the fish sauce adds the saltiness to this dish.
*You can also do half chicken and half peeled prawns, or you can replace the chicken entirely with prawns.