Curried Cauliflower Laksa
A delicious bowl of warming golden laksa is the perfect supper at any time of the year. The paste can be made in a matter of moments but you could always use a jar of ready-made, good-quality laksa paste – just check that it doesn’t contain fish sauce or shrimp paste. This recipe makes more paste than you need for four bowls of laksa but any leftovers will keep well in a sealed container in the fridge for two weeks or in the freezer for two months.
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2-3 dried whole chillies or 1 large fresh red fresh chilli, roughly chopped
2 stalks of lemongrass, trimmed & roughly chopped
4cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled & roughly chopped
2 fat garlic cloves, chopped
4 small shallots, chopped
2 tsp of ground coriander
1 tsp of ground turmeric
1 tsp of tomato purée
25g of unsalted cashews
100g of block creamed coconut ½ cauliflower, cut into bitesize pieces
1-2 tbsp of sunflower oil
1 tsp of medium curry powder
1 tsp of crushed dried chilli flakes
1 tsp of garlic granules
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
1l of vegetable stock
2-3 tsp of soft light brown sugar or coconut sugar
Juice of ½ lime
100g of firm tofu or 8 storebought tofu puffs
2-6 tbsp of sunflower oil
200g of flat rice noodles
100g of beansprouts
4 sprigs of fresh coriander
1 large fresh red chilli, sliced
2 spring onions, sliced
4 lime wedges
Start by making the laksa paste. If you're using dried chillies, soak them in a small bowl of freshly boiled water for about 10 minutes until soft. Put the fresh chilli (if using), lemongrass, ginger, garlic and shallots in a small food processor. Drain the chillies, roughly chop and add to the processor with the spices, tomato purée and cashews. Add 1 tablespoon of the creamed coconut and blend to a smooth paste.
Preheat the oven to 160°C Fan/180°C/Gas Mark 4.
Tip the cauliflower into a bowl. Add the oil, curry powder, chilli flakes, garlic granules and salt and freshly ground black pepper. Mix well to coat the cauliflower in the spices. Scatter the florets on a baking tray and roast in the oven for about 20 minutes until tender and starting to brown at the edges.
Meanwhile, make the tofu puffs, if not using store-bought. Cut the tofu into 2cm dice pieces and pat dry on kitchen paper. Heat 6 tablespoons of oil in a deep saucepan over a medium heat until a small piece of tofu sizzles on contact with the hot oil. Carefully add the diced tofu to the hot oil and fry for about 2 minutes, stirring frequently until crisp, puffy and golden. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the oil from the pan.
Cook the noodles in boiling water following the packet instructions. Place the saucepan in which you cooked the tofu over a medium heat (or, if you haven’t made your own tofu puffs, then add 2 tablespoons of oil to a saucepan). Add 3 tablespoons of laksa paste and stirring constantly cook for about 4 minutes until very fragrant. Add the vegetable stock and crumble in the remaining creamed coconut, stir well and slowly bring to the boil. Simmer for 3-4 minutes then taste and add sugar, lime juice, salt and soy sauce as needed to balance the flavours.
Drain the noodles and divide between 4 deep bowls, pour over the broth and top with the roasted cauliflower, tofu puffs and a small handful of beansprouts. Garnish with a sprig of coriander, sliced chillies, spring onions and a wedge of lime.
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