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Vegetarian Curry Laksa

Vegetarian Curry Laksa Recipe - This fragrant, vibrantly colored, rich bowl called laksa can be thought of as the Malaysian street-food counterpart to Japanese ramen. Authentic, non-vegetarian versions call for seafood in most of the primary components. My vegetarian laksa is a little lighter, but still has a good deal of body from the coconut milk and a heady, fragrant spiciness from curry paste. I encourage you to make your own curry paste—the recipe that follows is modeled after a fragrant Malaysian curry paste, and the most complicated part about it is sourcing the galangal, fresh turmeric, and lemongrass. But you can certainly substitute store-bought curry paste—just check to make sure all the ingredients are vegetarian. Brown rice vermicelli noodles make a great substitute for the wheat noodles used here.

SERVES 4
Vegetarian Curry Laksa Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • ½ cup Red Curry Paste, or one 4-ounce can store-bought red curry paste
  • 3 cups vegetable stock, preferably homemade
  • 1¾ cups coconut milk (one 14-ounce can)
  • 1 branch fresh curry leaves (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 cups mung bean sprouts
  • 4 ounces green beans, stem ends trimmed
  • 8 ounces dried or 12 ounces fresh ramen noodles
  • 1 cup shredded savoy or green cabbage
  • 4 large boiled eggs, firm yolks, halved
  • ½ cup quartered cherry tomatoes
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped roasted peanuts, for garnish
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems, for garnish
  • Lime wedges, for serving

How to make Vegetarian Curry Laksa

  1. Heat the coconut oil in a saucepan over low heat. Add the curry paste and cook, stirring frequently, until darkened, very fragrant, and caramelized, 20 to 30 minutes. Add a big splash of the vegetable stock and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, then add the rest of the stock, the coconut milk, and curry leaves, if using. Bring to a simmer and cook gently for 20 minutes. Add the salt and sugar, then taste and adjust the seasonings as necessary. Remove from the heat.
  2. Bring a saucepan of water to boil and salt it lightly. Prepare an ice-water bath.
  3. Place the bean sprouts in a sieve and dip them into the boiling water for 10 seconds. Lift out of the water and immediately rinse under cold running water.
  4. Using the same boiling water, blanch the green beans for about 1 minute, until just tender (test by piercing one with a paring knife). Use a spider skimmer or slotted spoon to transfer the green beans to the ice-water bath, reserving the boiling water, then drain the green beans.
  5. Return the water to a boil. Add the noodles, in a strainer basket or the pasta insert that comes with your stockpot if you have one, and cook until tender, usually 4 to 7 minutes for dried (or according to the package instructions), or 60 to 90 seconds for fresh. Lift out the noodles, reserving the cooking water, and thoroughly rinse the noodles under cold running water in order to remove excess starch. Quickly dunk them back into the hot water to reheat. Divide among four bowls.
  6. Top the noodles in each bowl with the bean sprouts, green beans, cabbage, eggs, and tomatoes. Divide the broth among the bowls. Garnish with the peanuts and cilantro and serve immediately, with the lime wedges on the side.