There’s a really good Malaysian restaurant by my work called Banana Leaves. My coworker introduced me to it and they have the best curry laksa in town. For those who are not familiar with curry laksa, it’s essentially curry coconut milk soup.
As much as I like spending half of my weekly paycheck at Banana Leaves (trust me, it’s possible), I also like keeping some money in the bank if I can. So I decided to make a version of curry laksa at home that I found on a blog called Salt N Pepper Here.
I was sold on the recipe when I saw the words: “easy fake-out laksa.” I was already intimidated to make the soup at home, so the fact that Salt N Pepper said that it wouldn’t be difficult was reassuring. Also, even though I’m not a big proponent of cutting corners, if you can do it without sacrificing quality, I say go for it.
Well, cut away because this recipe is easy and creates laksa on par with the one I tried at Banana Leaves. It’s fresh, colorful, spicy and comforting the way that good laksa should be.
The only difficult part of the recipe is the multiple steps. You have to make the noodles, cook the shrimp, then make the soup and the soft boiled egg. But if you plan ahead of time, everything falls into place. You can cook the noodles first and let them sit and cool, then cook the shrimp. You use the same pot for the shrimp for the soup, and that part is easy. You can make the soft boiled egg while the soup is simmering.
I subbed in pea shoots for bean sprouts because I’ve never used them before and I’ve always wanted to. Feel free to use bean sprouts if you want, though. I’m sure that it would be equally delicious.
Here’s a recommended laksa eating track.
Easy Curry Laksa (slightly adapted from Salt N Pepper Here)
3 tbsp grapeseed oil or other neutral oil
3 tbsp mild or spicy red curry paste
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
2 stalks lemongrass, white part only, bashed a few times with a wooden spoon to release the oils
1 398ml can coconut milk (13.5 fl oz)
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 lb rice vermicelli noodles (16oz package)
16 large shrimp, deshelled keeping the tail on and deveined
Salt to taste, depending on salt content already in your broth
4 large eggs, soft-boiled (or hard boiled if you don’t like the yolk runny) and sliced into 2 halves
2 handfuls pea shoots
1 handful cilantro or parsley leaves, washed
1 lime, cut into 4 wedges
Soak and cook vermicelli rice noodles according to package directions. Set aside. You may want to keep it in some tepid water to prevent sticking – and drain right before you need it. Alternatively leave it soaking longer and cook it in a separate pot of boiling water right before serving.
In a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium to medium-high heat, add 1 tbsp of the oil and brown the shrimp on each side until they just turn opaque and slightly browned on the edges. Do not overcook. Set aside.
In the same pot, add the remaining 2 tbsp of oil and saute the curry paste in it for a minute until aromatic. Add the turmeric and the lemongrass stalks, allowing the spice to bloom for a minute.
Add the can of coconut milk and chicken broth. Bring to a boil while you assemble the noodle bowls. Remember to season the broth with salt once it comes to a boil.
Divide the cooked noodles among four bowls. Top each bowl of noodles with 4 shrimp, 2 egg halves, pea shoots, cilantro leaves or parsley leaves and a wedge of lime for squeezing. Ladle the hot broth over top and serve immediately.