My Cheat Days: Laksa with Tofu Puffs & Bean Sprouts

When you are freezing to your ears, what do you do?

(a) take a long warm bath

(b) cooking & baking

(c) cuddle with your loved ones (aww…)

While my answer is all the above, I think the only option I can show on my post is probably option (b).

If you haven’t know, it’s winter in Australia and where I’m right now (Orange NSW),  it definitely feels like I’m living in a freezer. The good thing is I don’t have to worry about food going bad if left outside the fridge; the bad thing is it’s just too cold and my skin becomes flaky like puff pastries.

I love the look of snow but definitely not the feel of it.

I have been freezing to my ears literally and feelin’ hungry all the time. If you’re feeling the same as me right now, the solution is laksa!

Making laksa is actually easier than you think. I really surprise how popular laksa is in Australia (especially during winter). And because of this, you can get laksa paste in most supermarkets nowadays. Having said that,  you get hit and misses with certain brands.  But I’m not worry as I have a way to give a lacklustre laksa a good makeover *wink*.

Laksa with Tofu Puffs & Bean Sprouts

(based loosely on the packet instructions)

Serves 2-3 people

Ingredients:

  • 440g Hokkein Noodles
  • 3 tbsps of laksa paste
  • 540ml / 18 oz of light coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 90g tofu puffs ( you can get them from Harris Farm Markets in the tofu section)
  • a handful of bean sprouts
  • fish sauce (to taste)
  • brown sugar (to taste)

Garnishes:

  • Mint leaves
  • Fresh pineapple
  • Onion
  • Chilli flakes

(These garnishes are important able to compensate the lacklure laksa. Believe me!)

{the STANDARD laksa ingredients – the amount of each ingredient may vary depending on the brand of laksa paste -so please follow the measurement stated at the back of the packet/bottle}

{Add these ingredients will bring you a step closer to the real laksa you’ll find in my hometown, Penang.}

This is how I usually make my laksa

  • Regardless what the packet says, always saute the paste over low heat until aromatic. If you feel extra oil is required, pour it in. Why not! If you add meat to your laksa, here’s the time you add it in and saute with the paste. I’m going for a meatless laksa this time.

  • Once the meat is cooked and the paste has became aromatic, pour in the coconut milk and/ or water. Wait until the soup is bubbling. In the meantime…

  • Using a kitchen scissor, cut the tofu in half. The reason of doing this is to ensure the cut side is exposed and start absorbing the soup like a sponge.  Skip this is you’re not using tofu puffs.

  • When the soup is bubbling, taste the soup. Seriously, this is not a prank! Taste to see whether you need more seasonings. If you do, add either fish sauce and/or brown sugar. Nothing else. No soy sauce or oyster sauce please!

  • Add in the tofu puffs and let the soup continue to simmer over low heat.

  • Meanwhile, slice the pineapple into matchstick. The reason I got ready-eat pineapple is to avoid the hassle of cutting the skin off the fruit. But for the diligent ones who want to attempt a whole pineapple, check out the steps here. To be honest, you don’t need a whole pineapple, I think about a quarter of a pineapple is sufficient to garnish 4 bowls of laksa. This fruit pot is actually too much for the two of us (FYI – I got this from Woolworths).  If the fresh one isn’t an option, you can also use canned pineapple pieces. This also means that you have to season the soup on the salty side to offset the sweetness of the canned pineapple.

{from this}

{to this}

  • Also don’t forget to thinly slice the onion. For 2 bowls of laksa, you need about a quarter of a small brown onion. But since we are both onion lovers, I used up nearly half of a onion instead. Who cares about onion breath?

  • Once you’re done with the onion and pineapple, add a couple of mint leaves into the soup.

  • Switch off the flame and add the bean sprouts.

  • While waiting for the sprouts to wilt slightly, loosen the noodles in boiling hot water. Drained.

  • Add some noodles into a big bowl, ladle over some of the rich coconutty broth and don’t forget to add the final touch of pineapple, onion and more mint leaves. Sprinkle with some dried chilli flakes for some heat. Oooo, Penang Lemak Laksa here I come!

Potential laksa mishap? If you add too much water accidentally (yes, it happens to me sometimes),  mix cornstarch with water and stir into the soup. Let is boil vigorously until thickens. Mishap averted.

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9 Responses to My Cheat Days: Laksa with Tofu Puffs & Bean Sprouts
  1. Lisa H.
    June 8, 2011 | 9:23 am

    Yay… another Malaysian foodblogger in Oz.

    Your laksa looks so inviting… great for winter warmer :D

  2. A Little Yumminess
    June 8, 2011 | 2:49 pm

    I love love love LAksa. Cheating with Laksa is ok :)

  3. Adora's Box
    June 8, 2011 | 5:13 pm

    I’m mad about laksa. I have never tried this kind but I am sure I will like it because of the pineapple. Looks so delicious.

  4. Kelly
    June 9, 2011 | 5:31 pm

    Hi Emily, this looks great with so many delicious inclusions. Something to definitely warm you from head to toe!

  5. melissa@the hungry artist
    June 9, 2011 | 11:45 pm

    I’ve never had Laksa before, but I know I would love it. I will look out for it — there must be some place where they serve it in NYC. Tomorrow I am seeing a friend from Malaysia — perhaps she can point me in the right direction!

  6. Fiona
    June 11, 2011 | 11:49 am

    Love the recipes on your site :) Not too hard to make and they look real tasty! Keep up the great work!

  7. Jenn Brigole
    June 21, 2011 | 5:53 pm

    I love reading your blog. It’s light and funny with your details. :) But this soup, I must say, looks so inviting right now. I haven’t really been feeling too hot lately and this might just be what the doctor ordered. Thanks for sharing. :) Keep it up!

  8. meme
    June 27, 2011 | 11:31 am

    omg your blog saved my life!!!!
    i’ve lived in Strathfield all my life and was moved out to Griffith this year for work.
    Culture shock.
    There’s no kimchi, no sushi and I was so disappointed in local asian restaurants. Despite the excellent Italian, you can only ever have so much pasta and I was never a big fan of meat and 3 veg.
    learning to cook stuff I’d actually enjoy eating, with ingredients available in regional locations, with real consideration of time and energy input…you are my hero.

    • Emily
      June 27, 2011 | 12:22 pm

      I totally understand how you feel. I was living on fast food for a while, gettin’ good pizza and pasta constantly can get really pricey plus I was disappointed with the local asian restaurants as well. Fortunately, I have Harris Farm where I live and Woolworth and Coles (some Coles actually have a full aisle of Asian ingredients!) are stocking sufficient Asian stuff nowadays. Anyway, it’s all about making the best of what you have while living in regional areas, don’t you think so? Thanks for your lovely comments and happy cooking! :)

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