Many moons ago I had the pleasure of working at Rosie Lovell's wonderful wee deli in busy Brixton market. Rosie taught me a lot about the joy of simple food made well and shared this fantastic Laksa recipe with me from her cookbook Spooning with Rosie. I veganised it and made my own over the years changing the core elements to suite what my local shophad to offer (swapping out pak choi with cabbage etc). Nearly a decade on and with Brixton market much changed, I am still making this Laksa and often think of those lovely busy days at Rosie's, surrounded by fresh local produce and sourdough ciabattas with Bonnie Prince Billy on the stereo.
Makes approximately 4 generous servings
- 1 smallish-medium butternut squash
- 1 can coconut milk
- 120ml water (or enough to cover and cook the squash)
- 5 little pak choi's or a medium sized sweetheart cabbage
- 2 large red chillies
- 3 spring onions
- 6-8 shitake or closed cap mushrooms
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
- 1 tsp vegetable bouillon powder or 1/2 veg stock cube
- 400g (2x pack) udon noodles
- 1 juicy lime (2 if you are crazy for lime like me)
- handful fresh corriander/ Thai basil
- 1 bag fried tofu (optional but delcious)
Peel and de-seed your butternut squash then chop it into little cubes, cover it in water and bring to the boil. Let it simmer for 5 minutes or until soft to the knife poke. While the squash simmers chop the pak choi/cabbage into 2cm bits. Drain the water from the cooked squash into a jug and set aside. Pour the coconut milk into the pot with the squash and blend until smooth, add some of the water that you set aside if you need a bit more lubrication. Return your pot to a low heat and chuck in the chopped woody stems of of the pak choi or cabbage and save the pak choi's soft green leaves to add later.
While this simmers gently chop up the rest of your veg, cut the mushrooms up into quarters or sixths and your spring onions into little rounds. Add your bouillon powder/stock cube to the pot and after your pak choi has simmered for 15 minutes add all the remaining veg and the tofu including the leaves from the pak coi/cabbage that were set aside. Add the sweet chilli sauce and soy sauce and leave to simmer for another 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. The consistency should be that of a thick soup, if it seems too thick add some of the squash water that you set aside earlier to thin it out. Add the udon noodles (they'll separate as they cook) and simmer for 5 minutes then squeeze your limes and add your lime juice, chop up your corriander/basil and mix it in leaving a little on the side to be top each bowl.
Once done, ladle out into bowls and top with chopped corriander/basil and serve!