Meatless Monday/ Recipes

Kari Laksa: Spicy Coconut Laksa with Green Beans, Fried Tofu, Bean Sprouts

Meatless Mondays

Laksa pronounced “lak-sah” is a spicy noodle soup commonly found in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. Each state and country has its own version of laksa and ingredients and each argue that theirs is the best version. The Laksa Effect – You know you got your Laksa recipe down when you or your guests start slurping, wiping their brow and runny noses throughout the meal! Lengthy discussions and comparisons often occur over which country / state / mom’s style is the best laksa. This recipe is from my first cookbook, Bold Vegan – Food of South East Asia.

This dish will do backflips in your mouth!

This dish will do backflips in your mouth!

DIFFICULTY LEVEL: There a several steps so it is not super fast but it is every bit worth it
Gluten free is using gluten free soy sauce 
Nut free 

Let’s begin!

Chilli Paste

2 Tablespoons (40 g) dark miso paste

3 fresh red chilis (70 g) stemmed, sliced lengthwise and then cut in half (do not discard seeds)

2 yellow onions (450 g), peeled and cut into quarters

5 garlic cloves, left whole

2 Tablespoons (30 ml) hot chili oil

2 Tablespoons (30 ml) soy sauce

1 Tablespoon (15 g) brown sugar

1/4 cup (25 g) curry powder

2 Tablespoons (20 g)  red chili powder

2 cups (470 ml)  water

Soup (gravy)

2 cups (90 g) firm tofu, cut in bite-sized pieces and sauteed in 1 teaspoon of oil.

1/4 cup (60 ml) olive oil

1 cinnamon stick

10 curry leaves

2 cups (470 ml)  water

20 green beans, stemmed, cut into thirds

1 ¼ cup (60 ml) coconut milk

2 Tablespoons (30 ml) soy sauce

1 teaspoon (5 g) sugar

13 oz. (370 g) Rice Vermicelli noodles (see cook’s tips)

1 cup (65 g) bean sprouts


Fresh mint leaves and lime wedges

Make the chili paste

  •  Place all chili paste ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth for 3 minutes.
  • Pour into a bowl and set aside
  • Make the soup (gravy)

Soup (gravy) 

  •  Heat 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of oil in a non-stick pan or skillet over medium heat. Add tofu and cook for 5 minutes, turning occasionally so that all sides are slightly browned. Turn off heat and set aside.
  • Heat oil in a pot over medium heat and add cinnamon stick and curry leaves.
  • Stir for a few seconds until fragrant.
  • Add the chili paste and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Add 1 cup (235 ml) of water and bring to a boil.
  • Add green beans,tofu,coconut milk,soy sauce and sugar.
  • Turn down heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Stir to combine, cover pot and turn off heat.
  • Discard curry leaves before serving.


  • In a large pot, boil water for the noodles.
  • When water boils add noodles,cook for 2 minutes and drain.
  • Add 1 cup of noodles to each serving bowl (this measurement does not have to be precise).
  • Top with 3 ladles of soup (gravy), a handful of bean sprouts,and top with 5 or 6 mint leaves.
  • Serve with 2 lime wedges on the side.
  • Before you dive in, squeeze with lime and stir.
  • Serve with chopsticks and a spoon.


  •  This dish is an explosion of flavors in your mouth. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
  • Rice vermicelli can be found in most Asian sections at the grocery store. Alternatively, you can use angel hair or capellini pasta.
  • For the fresh red chilis try to find Fresno chilis. If you cannot find Fresnos you can use any other fresh red chili (just keep in  mind that some varieties are more spicy than other). You can also use jalapeno pepper if you can’t find any fresh red chili variety.

Laksa Ingredients


Molly Patrick has worked in the vegan food realm since 2003. She has done everything from opening vegan restaurants from the ground up to writing vegan cookbooks.  She is currently wrapping her up her second cookbook, due out summer 2013. Read her blog or sign up for her free emails.  Follow her on twitter Facebook

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