We are in the second week of January and it was simply a matter of time before my palate started craving a hint of spice and Asian flavours. I do love my salads and barbeques, grills and roasts but ……..

Laksa-style soups are served all over South East Asia.

We enjoyed the versions most in Singapore, but its origins are said to be Malaysian.

This spicy noodle soup with a coconut milk base is so light and versatile. You can keep it vegetarian or add seafood, chicken, duck or pork. With the added protein component and the noodles this is more of a mail meal than a soup. You can serve small portions as a starter, but I love placing a generous bowl in the centre of the table for all to enjoy as one of those casual ‘one pot’ dinners!

Healthy option

For those watching the calories, you may use ‘light’ coconut milk and if you want a richer soup you can add a dash of coconut cream.

For the noodles I like to use the flat rice noodles, but traditionally either these or the fine vermicelli rice noodle is used. No wheat noodles or thickeners are used so it ticks the gluten free box as well.

What I enjoy most about this soup that it is so easy to make and that it uses fresh herbs and spices. The only grocery cupboard items are the tinned coconut milk and fish sauce.

Prep ahead

I’m all for planning ahead and enjoying maximum time with my guests so I make the paste and base soup well ahead of time. I’m doing the seafood version, I add it minutes before serving to avoid overcooking.

In Asia they always serve wedges of lime and some chilli on the side for those who would like to adjust the seasoning to taste. This works well when you are catering for a family or guests where tastes and chilli tolerances vary.

I have seen packets of Laksa paste in supermarkets, but I urge you not to be tempted. For the delicious fresh flavours rather make your own paste.

Recipe: Singaporean Laksa