My husband’s PA, who is from Singapore, says that a Singapore laksa HAS to have coconut…so I found this totally delicious recipe, another great TV dinner! I debated whether to fry the tofu as per the recipe, or simply add it raw, but frying gives it a lovely crispy skin, so it’s worth it – especially if you drain on kitchen roll. Don’t be put off by the long list of the ingredients: again, its all in the preparation, and once you have made the curry paste very easy to sling together afterwards. You can always cheat and use a bought laksa paste, but check the ingredients first!
Singapore laksa with prawns, tofu and coconut
200 g tofu – medium firm, so that it slices nicely
3-4 tbsp canola oil
6-8 prawns, shells on
1 tsp salt
3/4 litre/1 pint fish stock made from the prawn shells
150 ml/5 fl oz coconut milk
70 g/4-5 ozs rice vermicelli
50-60g/2-4 oz bean sprouts
2 hard-boiled eggs
1 large red chilli, sliced, with seeds
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
1/2 tbs ground almonds,cashews or macadamia nuts
1/2 tbs chopped ginger
1/2 tbs chopped galangal
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 tbsp tamarind water or paste
1 tbsp canola oil
1 tbsp spring onions
handful whatever herbs you have to hand – mint, laksa leaves, basil, parsley, coriander
1 tbsp deep friend shallots
First make the paste by either putting all the ingredients in a pestle and mortar and bashing till smooth, or put in the blender and whizz. Then fry in a small frying pan for 4 minutes until fragrant. Set aside.
Quarter the tofu and cut into inch square pieces; fry in half the oil until crispy, making sure you don’t break them when turning them over. Drain on kitchen roll.
Peel and de-vein the prawns. Then take the shells and fry in the other half of the oil until pink. Add the 1 litre/ 1.2 pints of water and simmer for 30 mins or so, it will reduce to the required amount. Then take out the shells with a slotted spoon, and add laksa paste and boil for a couple of minutes. Then pop in the prawns and simmer until cooked, about 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Add the coconut milk and cook for 4-5 minutes. While it’s cooking you can add hot water to the noodles so that they cook (check packet for precise timing, every noodle is different). Then divide noodles, prawns, tofu, equally between two bowls; top with bean-sprouts and hardboiled eggs. Check soup seasoning, then ladle boiling soup into the bowl. Garnish with spring onions, herbs and shallots. Eat with chopsticks AND a Chinese soup spoon. There’s no such thing as good manners in Chinese eating!