When we first started researching Malaysia's favourite noodle dish, laksa, we couldn't believe how many different versions there are - some people swear it should be light and fragrant with spices and herbs while others believe it should be dark, chilli-heavy and rich. We've come up with a version that could be described as both. We also discovered how easy it is make. The hard part is the shopping - you'll need a few different South East Asian ingredients, but once you have your hands on them, you just chuck them in a blender and you're off. Feel free to add whatever leftover meat you have in your fridge - duck, chicken and beef would all be delicious as would prawns, clams and squid. And the same goes for leftover veg too, everything is welcome in a laksa.
4 red chillies, seeds in, roughly chopped
A large thumb of ginger, peeled, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 lemongrass stem, tough outer layer discarded
2 kaffir lime leaves
3 Asian shallots, peeled
2 limes, 1 juiced, 1 quartered, to serve
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons fish sauce
500ml warm chicken stock or water
1 x 400ml coconut milk
200g rice vermicelli or egg noodles
300g leftover roast chicken, shredded
A handful of radishes, shredded, to serve
2 spring onions, finely sliced, to serve
A handful of coriander leaves, to serve
Place the chillies, ginger, garlic, lemongrass, lime leaves, and shallots in a food processor or blender and whizz until coarse. Add the lime juice, turmeric, coriander and 100ml water, then whizz again until you have a smooth-ish, thick paste.
Heat the vegetable oil in a large pan over a medium high heat and fry the spice paste, stirring constantly, for 3-4 minutes until it begins to smell fragrant. Pour in the fish sauce, stock and coconut milk and bring to the boil before turning it down and leaving it to simmer for 30 minutes until slightly thickened, stirring in the chicken for the final 5 minutes.
Bring a pan of salted water to the boil and cook the noodles according to the packet instructions. Drain, then rinse thoroughly under cold water.
Divide the noodles and beansprouts between the bowls and spoon over the laksa. Top with a handful of shredded radishes, a sprinkling of spring onions, coriander and a lime quarter.