AT A GLANCE
"I have long been a fan of laksa, a rich noodle soup made famous by the Nyonya cooking of Singapore and Malaysia," says Manfield. "It's something I've made ever since I first started cooking, and I tweak it every now and then for a subtle difference. The soup can be adapted to use chicken or fish stock or a combination. To make it vegetarian, use a spiced vegetable stock and double the amount of tofu. This soup is one of my defining tastes of the '90s, loved for its restorative and seductive flavour. The laksa paste and the stock can be made ahead of time, making the last-minute cooking and assembly quick and easy."
|01||For laksa paste, blend ingredients in a food processor or a blender to a smooth paste. Store in a sealed container covered with a film of oil and refrigerate until ready to use. Laksa paste will keep refrigerated for 2 weeks.|
|02||To make the soup, combine coconut milk, chilli jam and ¼ cup laksa paste (reserve remaining for another use) in a large saucepan, bring to the boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer to infuse and develop flavours (10 minutes). Add stock, bring back to the boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer for 10 minutes.|
|03||Heat oil in a deep-fryer or deep saucepan to 180C. Deep-fry tofu in batches until puffed and golden brown (4-5 minutes; be careful, hot oil will spit). Drain on paper towels.|
|04||Add fish sauce to soup, remove from heat, pass through a fine sieve (discard solids), return soup to pan and bring back to simmering point. Add prawns and simmer gently until opaque and just cooked (1-2 minutes). Remove from heat, stir in lime juice, taste and adjust balance if necessary with extra fish sauce and lime juice.|
|05||To serve, divide noodles evenly among bowls, add fried tofu, ladle soup and prawns over and served scattered with bean sprouts, fried shallots, sliced chilli, coriander and mint.|