“Kari” is curry in the Malay language. Laksa pronounced “lak-sah” is a spicy noodle soup commonly found in Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia. Each country and state has its own version of laksa and ingredients and each argue that theirs is the best version. However you eat laksa, you know you got your laksa recipe down when you or your guests start slurping, wiping their brow, and getting runny noses throughout the meal.

Kari Laksa [Vegan]

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Ingredients

For the Chili Paste:

  • 2 tablespoons dark miso paste
  • 3 fresh red chilis stemmed, sliced lengthwise and then cut in half (do not discard seeds)
  • 2 yellow onions , peeled and cut into quarters
  • 5 garlic cloves, left whole
  • 2 tablespoons hot chili oil
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup curry powder
  • 2 tablespoons red chili powder
  • 2 cups water

For the Soup:

  • 2 cups firm tofu, cut into bite-sized pieces and sautéed in 1 teaspoon of oil.
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 10 curry leaves
  • 2 cups water
  • 20 green beans, stemmed, cut into thirds
  • 1 1/4 cups coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 13 ounces rice vermicelli noodles (see cook’s tips)
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
Garnish
  • Fresh mint leaves
  • Lime wedges
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Preparation

To Make the Chili Paste:

  1. Place all chili paste ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth for 3 minutes.
  2. Pour into a bowl and set aside.

To Make the Soup:

  1. Heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a non-stick pan or skillet over medium heat. Add tofu and cook for 5 minutes, turning occasionally so that all sides are slightly browned. Turn off heat and set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a pot over medium heat and add cinnamon stick and curry leaves.
  3. Stir for a few seconds until fragrant.
  4. Add the chili paste and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  5. Add 1 cup (235 ml) of water and bring to a boil.
  6. Add green beans, tofu, coconut milk, soy sauce, and sugar.
  7. Turn down heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  8. Stir to combine, cover pot and turn off heat.
  9. Discard curry leaves before serving.

To Assemble:

  1. In a large pot, boil water for the noodles.
  2. When water boils add noodles, cook for 2 minutes, and drain.
  3. Add 1 cup of noodles to each serving bowl (this measurement does not have to be precise).
  4. Top with 3 ladles of soup, a handful of bean sprouts, and top with 5 or 6 mint leaves.
  5. Serve with 2 lime wedges on the side.
  6. Before you dive in, squeeze with lime and stir.
  7. Serve with chopsticks and a spoon.

Notes

Rice vermicelli can be found in most Asian sections at the grocery store. Alternatively, you can use angel hair or capellini pasta. For the fresh red chilis try to find Fresno chilis. If you cannot find Fresnos you can use any other fresh red chili (just keep in mind that some varieties are more spicy than other). You can also use jalapeño pepper if you can’t find any fresh red chili variety.

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