When it comes to recipes, I gather inspiration wherever inspiration finds me. Usually, a meal I’ve ordered that I find myself shamelessly asking the waiter, “What’s this I’m tasting,” or flat out, “How’d you guys make this,” scouring cookbooks old and new, or farmer’s market finds that get those foodie gears whirring.
This Creamy Coconut Lemongrass & Tofu Laksa is inspired by a little restaurant located inside the Fairfax Farmer’s Market (Stall 122), called Singapore’s Banana Leaf. It is a must try little gem serving swoon worthy South Asian cuisine on banana leaves. So, what is Laksa? It is a spicy coconut based noodle soup consisting of rice noodles, chicken and fish. Its origin is Indonesian, Malaysian and Singapore. The first time I had Laksa was at a restaurant called Zen Grill that was located here in Los Angeles. It is closed but I remember a rich soup with bold flavors. At Singapore’s Banana Leaf, I get Laksa and so much more.
To make this soup, the main ingredient that you’ll have to source is the lemongrass. I found my lemongrass at my local grocer, but if it’s not there, try a health food store or Asian grocery store. But Corynne, what if I still can’t find lemongrass? Trust me, I don’t want to send you on a wild goose chase looking for one ingredient for a dish containing ingredients you can buy in one swoop. So, don’t fret. You can use lemon or lime zest as a substitution. The lemongrass just gives it that extra flavor as if you’re eating the Laksa at a Malaysian restaurant….in Malaysia!
Once you have all your ingredients, the rest is easy peasy. Just stir fry all your vegetables, add your coconut milk and stock, garnish and dinner is served. The laksa also taste great the next day as all the flavors have melded together.
Let me know what you think! Enjoy!
Creamy Coconut Lemongrass & Tofu Laksa//serves 2
Recipe adapted from Shanyara Leonie’s Malaysian Laksa Soup
8 ounces rice noodles or other flat noodles
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1-inch piece ginger, peeled and chopped
1-inch piece fresh turmeric or 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 red chili, sliced
1 lemon grass stalk, white part only, thinly sliced
1-16 oz package of firm tofu, drained and cut into cubes
1-13.5 can coconut milk
2 cups vegetable stock
3 heads baby bok choy, white part trimmed
Prepare rice noodles according to package directions. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and ginger. Cook, stirring frequently until translucent. Increase heat, and add turmeric, chili, lemongrass and tofu. Cook and stir to coat tofu and until lemongrass starts to soften. Add coconut milk and stock. Bring to a simmer. Next add bok choy. Cook for another 5 minutes. Season with salt. Garnish with lime slices, chili, cilantro, and dark-green parts of scallions.