Laksa is such a wonderful and warming comfort food. There are many different variants; I discovered this one here through one of my favourite food blogs, masak-masak from Kuala Lumpur (http://masak-masak.blogspot.de), although the recipe used is originally from Nigel Slater (http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2005/feb/13/foodanddrink.shopping5). As I was still looking for a way to use my yams, I substituted them for the pumpkin. I also didn’t have mint, but it certainly would have been a good addition. I did add soy bean sprouts however, and some turmeric for color.
Ingredients (for four bowls):
Four medium- sized yams, or sweet potatos, or one small pumpkin
Four cloves of garlic
A large piece of ginger
Half a teaspoon of ground turmeric
A handful of soy bean sprouts
Two stalks of lemon grass
Six lime leaves
Five or six coriander roots
A handful of coriander leaves (or parsley)
400 ml coconut milk
One pound of cherry tomatoes
Two teaspoons of thai fishsauce
The juice of a lime
100 g of dried rice noodles
If using pumpkin, cut into large chunks and place in the top of a steamer, or cut it in half and roast in the oven, for 12-15 minutes. Remove from the heat. If using potatoes or yams, peel them and cut them into bite-sized pieces. They will be cooked later along with the broth and vegetables.
To make the spice paste, chop the chili (remove the seeds first), peel and dice the garlic and ginger, chop the lime leaves, cut off the coriander roots and wash them carefully, slice the inner leaves of the lemon grass in pieces. Then add everything to a food processor, along with the turmeric, half the coriander leaves and stems and ground it to a paste, adding a little oil if the mixture gets too dry.
When ready, heat a bit of oil in a sauce pan and add about two tablespoons of the spice paste (the rest can be kept in the fridge or frozen for later use) and fry it for a minute or two, then pour in the stock and coconut milk and bring to the boil. Add lime juice and fish sauce.
Cut the tomatoes in half and add them to the broth along with the potatos. Let the vegetables cook in the broth over medium heat for ten to fifteen minutes. Add more vegetable stock if the mixture gets too thick. (If using pumpkin that is already steamed, let the tomatos cook for ten minutes, then add the pumpkin and continue cooking for a minute or two.) Boil the noodles separately in hot water.
When done, place some noodles in each of the bowls, pour over the laksa and add the remaining coriander leaves and sprouts.