Laksa is a deliciously addictive Indonesian noodle soup. But the last time I made it, I used rice instead of noodles. So here’s my question: If you make laksa with rice instead of noodles, is it still laksa?
I haven’t resolved that question yet, but I have discovered one thing about this rice-not-noodles laksa wannabe — it taste just as wonderful as a traditional noodle-totin’ laksa, which brings me to the conclusion that whether or not it can be called laksa isn’t what’s important. What’s important is that, just like its noodle-centric namesake, Laksa with Rice is one luscious (and spicy) soup!
Laksa with Rice
Adapted from the recipe “Laksa Come Home” from 1,000 Vegan Recipes by Robin Robertson © 2009, John Wiley & Sons.
3/4 cup chopped onion
5 dried red chiles, softened in hot water
1 stalk lemongrass, white part only, crushed
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 tablespoon neutral vegetable oil
4 cups vegetable broth
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
8 ounces extra-firm tofu, cut into 1/2-inch dice
3 scallions, minced
1 (14-ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk
2 teaspoons sriracha sauce, or to taste
2 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
Lime wedges, for serving (optional)
In a food processor, combine the onion, chiles, lemongrass, and ginger, and process to a paste. Add the coriander, curry powder, paprika, turmeric, and cayenne, and process until blended.
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion mixture and cook, stirring for 3 minutes, stirring in a small amount of the broth to prevent burning. Add the remaining broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and add the sugar, salt, and pepper. Simmer for 15 minutes then strain and return the liquid to the pot. Stir in the tofu, scallions, coconut milk, and sriracha and heat until hot. Do not boil.
To serve, spoon the rice into the bottom of soup bowls and ladle the soup on top of the rice. Garnish with cucumber, tomatoes, and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges, if using.