Making this I had no idea if my kids would eat it, but they had to try it, that is my rule. If I cook it, you must try it. As for my husband I hoped I got close to the restaurant ones he has. He usually has a seafood one, but I went with chicken this time. Now I see that the base can be the same and you can simply swap chicken for fish, quite easily. That is for the next time I make it.
Well let me just say it was a huge hit with all 5 of us. My kids loved it. They loved the accompaniments, they got to choose what to add and how much they wanted to add. My husband loved it to, actually said it was less oily than the restaurant ones he has.
Now I used chicken breast this time, as the recipe suggested, but as I imagined it was going to be dry, and it was. So I will now substitute the breast for chicken thighs, but you use what you like, I just don't like chicken breast. Also the laksa paste I used was not very spicy, so once I add the coconut milk, in the future I will taste for spiciness and add extra red chillies if required.
This is a soup, yes, however it is also a meal in itself, with the noodles and other sides, you really don't need anything else. The recipe states 50g beans sprouts, but as my family love them they wanted more, so 50g is a guide only. I loved the mint leaves, coriander and spring onions, actually I loved everything that went into this soup.
250g dried rice vermicelli noodles
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1/2 cup laksa paste
3 cups chicken stock
3 cups coconut milk
1-2 red chillies, halved, optional
4 fried bean curd puffs, thickly sliced, optional
2 teaspoons grated palm sugar or brown sugar
1/2 lime, juiced
2 teaspoons fish sauce
50g bean sprouts
1 Lebanese cucumber, peeled, cut into thin strips using a peeler, then slice into thin strips
1/2 cup mint leaves
1/2 cup coriander leaves
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1-2 teaspoons olive oil, extra
3-4 shallots, thinly sliced
Lime wedges, to serve
4 large or 5 medium chicken thighs
1 lime, thinly sliced
1 stick lemongrass, chopped
2cm piece ginger, thinly sliced
1 small red chilli, halved
For the poached chicken: Add the chicken to a medium sized saucepan. Cover with enough cold water to just cover the chicken. Add all the other poaching ingredients. Turn on the heat to medium, this allows the mixture to come to a simmer slowly, not boil too quickly. Once it comes to a simmer, allow to simmer for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat, and leave the chicken to sit in the poaching water for 15 minutes before taking it out. Remove the thigh meat from the bones and thinly slice across the grain.
For the fried shallots: Heat a small frying pan over medium heat, add the extra olive oil, then the shallots. Sauté, stirring regularly until the onions have softened and browned. They will become crispy-ish. Place on a plate, set aside for later.
Cut the noodles in half horizontally. Place the noodles in a heatproof bowl. Add boiling water from the kettle, cover the noodles with the water. Set aside for 3 minutes or until the noodles have softened slightly. Drain and set aside.
Heat a wok over medium heat until hot. Add the oil, swirl to coat the wok. Add the laksa paste-it will splatter a bit, cook, stirring for 2 minutes or until fragrant and the oil separates from the paste. Add all of the stock, bring to the boil. Add the coconut milk and bean curd, reduce the heat to medium-low. (Now you need to taste the laksa base for spiciness. If you need more spice add 1-2 red chillies. Every laksa paste is different some hotter than others, by adding the chillies you control the heat). Simmer for 10 minutes.
Add the sliced chicken.
Combine the palm sugar, lime juice and fish sauce, pour it into the wok, simmer for 3 minutes or until the chicken is warmed through.
Divide the noodles among serving bowls, then ladle over the soup. Top with bean sprouts, cucumber, mint, coriander, green onions and the fried shallots. Serve with lime wedges.
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