Malaysian Curry Laksa (Vegan)
Curry Laksa or Curry Mee is one of the signature dishes of the Malaysian Chinese community. This noodles dish comes in many versions and is largely dependent on the geographical region it originates from. It could be mild or spicy and often accompanied by various toppings such as shredded chicken, cockles, cuttlefish, tofu as well as vegetables.
The version that I am sharing is one that comes from the central and southern region of West Malaysia. For personal preference, the curry noodle dish has been veganized. This thick and spicy coconut based curry laksa is topped with fried tofu, vegan fried fish balls, beansprouts, julienned cucumber, mint, sliced red chili peppers and lime wedges. Sambal or fried chili paste is also served alongside this iconic curry noodle dish for added heat and flavor.
MALAYSIAN CURRY LAKSA (VEGAN)
Makes: ~4 servings
MUSHROOM ROOT VEGETABLE BROTH
6 – 7 cups water
400 gm Korean radish (peeled and roughly chopped)
200 gm carrots (roughly chopped)
200 gm onion (roughly chopped)
5 large dried shitake mushrooms (washed)
6” / 2 oz. dashi kombu / kelp
2 – 3 tsp. mushroom seasoning
salt to taste
black pepper to taste
In a large pot/saucepan, add all broth ingredients except seasoning, salt and black pepper.
Bring to a boil. Once the contents are boiling, turn the heat to low and let it simmer for ~ 2 – 3 hours until all the ingredients are cooked through.
After ~2 – 3 hours, add the mushroom seasoning, salt and pepper to taste. Stir to combine.
Taste the broth. Add more seasoning if desired.
Turn off the heat and let the broth cool.
Once the broth has cooled, strain to remove all the solid ingredients.
Strain with finely woven cotton cloth to obtain a clear broth.
If the broth ends up with less than 6 cups, add more water to make 6 cups. Season accordingly.
Set the broth aside. Use the solids as compost.
CURRY SPICE PASTE
**2 inches galangal (roughly chopped – see Notes)
**6 candlenuts (washed and soaked until slightly softened)
**½ cup Malaysian curry powder (see Notes)
**250 gm / 8.8 oz. shallots (see Notes)
10 garlic cloves (peeled)
**20 dried red chili pepper (seeds removed, soaked in hot water until softened – see Notes))
85 gm / 3 oz. fresh red chili pepper (roughly chopped)
3 lemongrass (use white part – roughly chopped)
Remove and strain the softened dried chili peppers from the hot water.
Place the dried chili peppers and remaining spice paste ingredients in a food processor / blender.
Process or blend until you get a fine paste.
Remove the spice paste from the food processor / blender and set aside.
CURRY LAKSA BROTH
**½ cup grapeseed oil (see Notes)
1 cup curry spice paste (see ingredients and instructions above)
1 – 2 screwpine leaves (tied together)
3 tsp. sea salt or to taste
2 tsp. raw cane sugar or to taste
2 tsp. lime juice
**2 cups coconut milk
In a large pot on medium heat, add the grapeseed oil.
Once the oil heats up, add the curry spice paste. Sauté until oil separates from the paste and the spice paste is fragrant. Stir often to prevent the paste from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
Once the oil separates from the spice paste and the spice paste is fragrant, add ~5 cups of the mushroom root vegetable broth. Gently stir the spice paste and broth together until well combined.
Add the screwpine leaves. Bring the broth to a boil.
Once the broth comes to a boil, season the broth with salt, raw cane sugar and lime juice to taste. Simmer for ~10 mins.
Next, add the coconut milk and stir to combine. Simmer for another 5 mins.
Taste test one last time adding more salt and sugar if necessary.
Turn off the heat.
ice water (2 cups water + ice cubes)
4 cups water
340 gm / 12 oz. mung bean sprouts
1 medium seedless cucumber (julienned)
396 gm / 14 oz. firm tofu (drained, pressed, sliced to desired size, pan fried till golden brown)
12 vegan fried fish balls (optional)
Prepare the ice water by placing the water and ice cubes in a bowl. Set aside.
Place 4 cups of water in a medium saucepan/pot. Bring the water to a boil.
Once the water is boiling, place the bean sprouts in the water. Blanch for ~ 3 secs. Remove from the hot water and immediately submerge the bean sprouts in ice water.
Once the bean sprouts have cooled, strain them from the ice water and set aside.
If using vegan fried fish balls, boil for a few mins to remove excess oil.
**340 gm / 12 oz. thin udon noodles (cooked according to the instructions on the package – see Notes)
3 – 4 sprigs of mint (leaves left whole or chiffonade)
1 – 2 red chili peppers (sliced)
ASSEMBLING THE NOODLES
Divide the cooked udon noodles into 4 separate serving bowls.
To each bowl, ladle hot curry laksa broth over the noodles. If the broth has cooled beforehand, reheat the broth.
Add the beansprouts, cucumber, tofu and vegan fried fish balls.
Garnish with mint, chili peppers and lime wedge.
If you do not have galangal, you can replace it with ginger. Powdered galangal works well too.
If you cannot get hold of candle nuts, you can omit this ingredient.
Shallots for the spice paste can be replaced with onions.
Try sourcing for Malaysian curry powder. I make mine at home but you can try this brand: Yeo’s Malaysian Curry Powder
Reduce the amount of dried red chili pepper if you want this broth to be less spicy.
This is a delicious dish but not entirely healthy. However, using enough oil to sauté the spice paste is necessary to bring out the flavor and color of the spices.
I used canned coconut milk for this recipe. Try to buy from brands where the coconut milk is creamy and not diluted. If you like the broth to be less creamy, use a little less coconut milk.
You can use any type of noodles for this recipe such as rice vermicelli or wheat noodles.
If you find the curry laksa broth to be a little too thick for your taste, you may add more vegetable broth. Remember to adjust the seasoning if doing so.
For added flavor, try savoring this dish with sambal / fried chili paste.
Did you try this recipe?
If you did, let me know how it went. Don’t forget to tag your photo with #sncxkitchen when you share on Instagram.