Curry Laksa with Fried Tofu

Talk about a meal in a bowl, Laksa is the bomb. Anyone who has been to S.E. Asia will have had this dish in street stalls, fragrant, hot, and spicy. The good news is, it is not so hard to make at home. Perhaps some of the optional additions that are available in roadside stalls are not common in other countries, but you can replicate the fragrance and spiciness of the dish.

In this recipe, a spice paste is made by blending the ingredients then cooking it off slowly before adding stock and other flavour enhancing ingredients. This beautiful broth is served with noodles, sprouts, herbs and other toppings.

This recipe is an Ottolenghi dish from Plenty More – we are cooking our way through this book. We feel free to substitute ingredients that are not readily available in our local area.

It is Ottolenghi day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish all the latest posts of recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. Currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column.

Similar recipes include Malay Coconut-Curry Stock (another excellent base for Laksa), and Asian Broth.

Browse all of our S.E. Asian recipes and all of our Soups. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Late Autumn recipes.

We use Australian measurements: 1 tspn = 5ml; 1 Tblspn = 20ml; 1 cup = 250ml.

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Hot and Sour Mushroom Soup

Recently in the kitchen we have renewed our love affair with miso soup. While others will tell you to spend time making stocks and broths for miso soup, and cook any number of ingredients, I have a wonderful, never-fail, 5 minute approach to making miso soup. The secret is, there is little that needs to be pre-cooked for miso soup. The most I do is to soak some cute little beancurd bows (but even the pre-soaking can be skipped), and perhaps some noodles. They soak while the kettle boils and the ingredients are sliced. Mix miso with hot water until dissolved, pour into a lovely bowl, add the thinly sliced ingredients and a few other flavour enhancers (see my post), the noodles if using, the beancurd perhaps, and sip contentedly. Deep flavours, comfort and nourishment. What more could you want?

Ottolenghi’s approach to what I consider to be his version of my miso soup (without using miso, let me be clear). Yet his is faaaar more complicated. It is a kitchen-sink style approach. Perhaps he should use miso! He considers this recipe to be a variation on Asian soups such as Thai tom yum or Vietnamese pho. The key is the stock, which must be rich and hearty, with many layers of flavour. And, miso or not, the broth is extraordinary! Hot and sour as promised. Earthy and deep, yet with a lightness too. It was a real surprise.  Make double and freeze half.

He doesn’t add noodles, but you can. I recommend making double the amount of broth, make the mushroom soup as-is, then decide how to use the second half with the noodles. Mushrooms and noodles. Greens and noodles. Fried tofu and noodles.

It’s interesting to me that he doesn’t include dried shiitake mushrooms in the stock (and sliced for the soup). Dried Shiitake are a vegetarian’s best friend when it comes to dark, flavoursome broths. Anyway, this is how I make an Asian Stock that is so delicious it is worth keeping some in the fridge and freezer, and using it for whatever you are making – rice, risotto, noodles, …. Ottolenghi’s is rather similar, come to think of it. But my broth is light and summery, his is deep and earthy.

You’ve guessed it, this is an Ottolenghi dish from Plenty More. In fact, it is Ottolenghi day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish all the latest posts of recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi books – currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often slightly massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry.

Similar recipes include Mushrooms in Terracotta, Curry Laksa with Fried Tofu, and Slightly Pickled Mushrooms with Tamari and Sesame.

Browse all of our Soups and all of our Mushroom recipes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Mid Autumn dishes.

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Green Papaya, Snake Bean and Tomato Salad

Celebrating tomatoes, we are making tomato salads each day this week. It is the middle of Autumn and the last of the best tomatoes are available – soon the less flavoursome winter tomatoes will be available. We have been making simple, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern salads, and some more unusual ones. Today we use cherry tomatoes with green papaya in a South East Asian style salad. I hope you enjoy it.

The salad incorporates the papaya with the tomatoes along with snake beans and shredded snow peas. The dressing is sweet and added texture is given with peanuts. I like to add some crispy fried onion too, the type you can buy from Asian and Middle Eastern shops. It adds a salty textural element.

Similar recipes include Longan and Green Mango Salad, Maharashtrian Cucumber Salad, and Locquat Salad.

Browse all of our Salads, Green Papaya recipes, and our S. E. Asian dishes. Or explore our Mid Autumn dishes.

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Sticky Kaffir and Tamarind Tofu

Sadly, many people believe tofu is boring. Perhaps recipes like this one are secret, locked away from view unless you have the password or know the secret phrase to say. An easy dish to make, the tofu is marinated in tamarind, kaffir leaf and lemongrass with sweet soy sauce for half an hour, and then sauteed until it forms a crust on the outside. The marinade is reduced to a sticky sauce which coats the seared tofu.

Similar recipes include Curry Laksa with Fried Tofu, Black Pepper Tofu, Baked Marinated Tofu, and Deep Fried Tofu with Peanut Sauce.

Browse all of our Tofu recipes and all of our Asian dishes. Or explore our Mid Summer recipes.

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Spicy Red Radish and Watermelon Salad, Thai Style

Radishes have been called the Unsung Hero of the Vegetable world. This year I began growing them in my newly formed vegetable patch. Easy and quick to grow, they are featuring more and more in my dishes. They add spice, texture and colour.

Radishes come in a range of colours – white, red, green, purple or black (or anything in between); they can be round, oval or long, big or small, and taste anywhere from mild to peppery. They are versatile vegetables that can be eaten raw or cooked.

Here they are paired with watermelon, a fruit of summer that I love to use in salads, as well as drinking its juice, or simply eat on very hot days, in the garden, spitting its seeds, Australian Style, into the garden (and then they appear next year as seedlings!).

We have a collection of Watermelon Salads for you to explore – we brought together all our favourite salads in one post. Or perhaps try these recipes: Watermelon, Apple and Lemongrass Salad, Watermelon Salad with Mint and Olives, Watermelon Juice with Ginger and Mint, Watermelon and Peach Salad with Basil, and Haloumi and Watermelon Salad.

You might also like these Radish dishes: Mung Sprout, Edamame and Radish Salad, Radish Salad with Soy and Sesame, Cucumber and Red Radish Slightly Pickled Salad, Spicy Radish Salad with Coconut Milk, or Jicama, Red Radish and Green Mango Salad.

Browse our Watermelon Salads, all of the other Watermelon recipes, our Radish Salads, and all of our other Radish Recipes. Check out our many Salad recipes, or our S. E. Asian recipes. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.

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Steamed Thai Eggplants with a Sesame Soy Garlic Dressing

Eggplants come in all shapes and sizes, colours, tastes and textures. Sadly, we only get to cook with a few varieties through our Green Grocer and 1 or 2 more through our Asian Grocers.  Thai Eggplants are a particular favourite, a little crunchier in texture than the European variety, and a real affinity with Asian flavours such as toasted sesame and soy.

Similar dishes include Kerala Eggplant in Coconut; Steamed Eggplant with Sesame and Spring Onions, and Steamed Thai Eggplants and Zucchini.

Browse all of our Eggplant Recipes, our Thai recipes, and all of our Asian recipes. Or explore our Mid Autumn collection of recipes.

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Green Guava Salsa | Raw Guava Salad

It was the beautiful, welcoming assistants at my local Asian Grocery who put me on to Green/Raw Guava. Totally unaware as I was about Guava, except for the occasional ripe on at a friend’s place, she chose one that would be perfect to try raw. If they are lighter green in colour they have a little more sweetness than one totally green. Smaller ones have smaller seeds. And so it goes.

The assistant recommended Green Guava with Lime Juice, Chilli and Salt, a la Green Mangoes that are eaten the same way. And she is definitely correct – they are quite wonderful eaten this way.

You can also try them in the similar Indian way of eating fruits with Chaat Masala, an Indian Crudite if you wish. So good.

I have no doubt that there are quite a few uses for green guava, including cutting into julienne for salads, and making syrups and molasses. But today, we made a great Green Guava Salsa, which I am sharing with you. By the way, Guava can be eaten raw, semi ripe or ripe. Such a versatile fruit! Some prefer it ripe, others have a definite preference for raw guava.

We don’t have other Guava recipes yet, but check back here at any time, just in case…

Are you after similar recipes? Try Cucumber and Apple Salsa, Pomegranate Salsa, Green Tomato Salsa, and Pawpaw Salsa.

You can browse all of our Salsa recipes, or explore our collection of Mid Winter dishes for more inspiration.

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Malaysian Lemak-Style Vegetables | Vegetables in a Coconut-Curry Broth

Enjoy the flavours of Malaysia with this easy vegetable dish.

Fresh, crunchy and health-giving, a bowl of stir-fried vegetables enriched with a deeply flavoured Coconut Curry broth is a wonderful lunch or light dinner – even an evening snack. A Food Bowl, straight from the source, without following any current food fashion.

You might like to also try : How to Make a Bowl Salad, or some tofu recipes – How to Use Deep Fried Tofu, Tofu Stacks with Spinach, or Marinated Tofu.

How about some other Vegetable Curries? Avial is stunning, or try a Mushroom Curry, Chilli Cabbage, adyfingers Masala, and Olan.

Or explore some spicy soups – Curry Laksa with Fried Tofu, Tomato Rasam, Pepper Rasam or Indian Dal Soup.

Please browse other Malaysian recipes, and S. E. Asian recipes. All Tofu recipes are here. You might like to explore our easy Early Spring recipes.

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Asian Lightly Pickled Cucumber and Tofu Salad

Parts of Asia, from China to Thailand and Singapore, even Bali, have amazing salads of the freshest of vegetables with handfuls of herbs. This salad celebrates that tradition, with ingredients from Japan, China and S.E. Asia. It is a bit of work, truth be told, but it makes such a great salad to take to a large gathering, BBQ or picnic. Not quite a Buddha’s Salad, it is so dynamic it is also wonderful eaten on its own as a course, or a light lunch, perhaps accompanied by some Chinese steamed rice.

The vegetables are all slightly pickled, the tofu is marinated, and the herbs are plentiful. Look for unusual ingredients in your local Chinese or Asian grocery shop.

This recipe is a little similar to Kylie’s Asian Herb and Sesame Salad, although they come from different sources. Both are worth trying if you enjoy slightly pickled salads. You might also like Cucumber and Red Radish Slightly Pickled Salad, or Slightly Pickled Mushrooms in Tamari and Sesame Oil. Also try Asian Style Greens with garlic and Sesame.

Feel free to browse recipes from our Retro Recipes series – these are vegetarian recipes from our first blog, from 1995 – 2005. You might also like all of our Tofu recipes and all of our SE Asian recipes. All of our Salad recipes are here. Or spend some time to explore our easy Late Summer recipes.

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Tao Hou Tod | Thai Deep Fried Fresh Beancurd with Sweet Nut Sauce

This is incredibly delicious. Even if you are not a tofu eater, this dish will convert you. Who could not love deep fried tofu with peanuts? The sauce is divine.

We have been making this since around 2002, so quite a while. It is a Thai style dish, simple in its construction and flavours, but that very simplicity gives it a punchy flavour. It is a perfect light lunch with a salad, or a mid afternoon snack when dinner is still a long way off.

The act of deep frying the tofu changes the nature of it, from something bland and lacking much texture, to a beautiful textural addition to other dishes or on it own.

You might also like our Tofu recipes here and here. Our Deep Fried Tofu recipes are here. Or you might like to browse SE Asian recipes here and here. Check out our easy Spring recipes here and here. Feel free to browse recipes from our Retro Recipes series – beautiful vegetarian recipes  from our first blog 1995 – 2005.

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Creamy Tomato Soup with Lemongrass and Ginger

This soup is a little bit Indian, a little bit S. E. Asian, a little bit English, and very divine.

A soup that has stood the test of time. Fragrant and beautifully flavoured, it is treasured still by my family. It is a little bit Indian, a little bit S. E. Asian, a little bit English, it is divine. It is light enough to have in Summer and Autumn.

Similar recipes include Cream of Potato and Tomato Soup with Leeks.

You might also like our Tomato Soup recipes here and here. Indian Soups are here. Or browse Tomato recipes here and here. Check out our easy Autumn recipes here and here.

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Chilli Jam with Deep and Complex Flavours | A HOT Chilli Paste

A Chilli Jam with extraordinary depth of flavours.

This Chilli Jam is more complex and refined that many others. Slow, slow cooking gives it an enduring and lingering natural sweetness which is enhanced with the addition of jaggery.

Although it is called a jam, it is not a spread. It is closer to a Chilli Paste. It is as hot as you can imagine chillies to be, and spread it on your toast at your peril.

Similar recipes include Balinese Sambal Tomat.

Feel free to browse our Chilli recipes or you might like to browse Sweet and Savoury Jam recipes . Check out our easy Early Autumn recipes too.

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Spicy Crunchy Herby Salad with Asian Style Dressing

This is a salad to wake you up and enliven your senses. Fueled with chilli, then the heat is softened (a little) with herbs and crunchy ingredients, and then it is dressed with Asian ingredients.

This is a salad to wake you up and enliven your senses. Fueled with chilli, then the heat is softened (a little) with herbs and crunchy ingredients, and then it is dressed with Asian ingredients. Better than coffee, you will be full of energy in no time! 😀😘

You might also like to try Peaches with Asian Flavours, Caramelised, Marinated King Oyster Mushrooms, or Sprouted Mung Bean Sundal/Salad. Browse our Carrot Salads here, and Salads here and here. Be inspired by our Summer recipes here and here.

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Steamed Eggplant with Sesame and Spring Onion

A Japanese Style luxurious aubergine dish – salad, side dish, main course or condiment.

Ottolenghi has a great steamed eggplant recipe in Plenty More, rather like the Thai one that I posted here but just different enough to try it out.

Don’t you just love the silky texture of steamed eggplant – so different to its grilled counterpart?

Steaming maintains some of the aubergine flesh’s texture, which doesn’t happen if you cook it in any other way. It gives this dish a particular substantial quality, making it suitable to serve with just plain rice or fried tofu. It can also be used as a condiment or side dish.

Are you looking for Spring Onion dishes? Try South Indian Spring Onion Soup.

You might also like to try some Eggplant Dishes. Try Smoky Eggplant and Tomatoes, Steamed Thai Eggplants with Sesame Soy Garlic Dressing, and Steamed Thai Eggplants and Zucchini with Chilli and Lime.

Browse all of our Eggplant recipes, our Japanese dishes, and all of the Ottolenghi recipes we have tried. Or gain inspiration from our Late Summer recipes.

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Black Pepper Tofu

With all of the SE Asian flavours that make great food, plus the tofu is deep fried, what is not to like?

Ever since I saw the Black Pepper Tofu in Ottolenghi’s Plenty, I have wanted to make it. It has all of the SE Asian flavours that make great food, plus the tofu is deep fried, what is not to like?

You might like to try Tofu, Spinach and Miso NapoleonsBaked Marinated Tofu, and What to Do with Deep Fried Tofu.

Or browse our Tofu recipes here and, and other Ottolenghi recipes. Our recipes from Asia are here. Or browse our easy Late Summer dishes.

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