Sweet potato laksa
So I’ve been spiralising again, it’s quite addictive once you start! This time with an actual spiraliser, a lovely birthday gift that enables me to spiral away at speed; no vegetable is seemingly safe from being turned into some sort of noodle.
I can feel the Autumn mood settling into my kitchen already. I like a little chilli in many dishes, but as the seasons change, my choice of recipe changes too. In summer I like my chilli paired with citrus and herbs, something bright and vibrant, evocative of Vietnam or Mexico. As the weather turns cooler, I move towards gentle, sweet spices; mellow and rich with coconut or cream. This laksa strikes just the right comforting note on a cool, damp evening.
As I was walking home contemplating supper, I imagined this made with prawns, until I remembered I had some leftover chicken in the fridge from the weekend that needed using up, so chicken it was. Likewise, any little bits of crunchy vegetables you have in the fridge will work nicely, just use what you’ve got.
Start by making your curry paste. This is easiest in a food processor although a determined session with a pestle and mortar would also get you there. Blitz together 2 red chillis (I deseeded mine, but I’m a chilli-wimp), 1 roughly chopped lemongrass stalk, about 2cm fresh ginger, peeled and chopped into chunks, 2 cloves of garlic, ½ teaspoon turmeric and the finely chopped stems of a bunch of coriander (save the leaves for later). Blend together, adding a little oil, until it forms a rough paste.
Tip the paste into a saucepan over a medium heat and fry gently for a few minutes until soft and fragrant. Add 2 chopped spring onions and cook for another couple of minutes. Then add 1 tin of coconut milk and about 200ml chicken stock and bring to a simmer.
Meanwhile, peel and spiralise 2 medium sweet potatoes, using a spiraliser or julienne peeler. It looks like a lot but it cooks down a fair bit. Add these to the simmering sauce and cook for about 3 minutes before adding any other finely sliced vegetables you wish – I used a few mangetout, some baby corn and half a red pepper – as well as a good handful of cooked chicken or prawns. Cook for another 2-3 minutes until the sweet potato has softened but retains its shape. Be wary of leaving it too much longer or it will start to break up.
Stir though a tablespoon of fish sauce and taste to check the seasoning, adding more if you prefer it a little saltier. Serve with the coriander leaves scattered on top.
Serves 2. Takes about half an hour, 10-15mins of prep and 10-15mins to cook.
2 chillis (or more, this is a pretty gentle heat)
1 lemongrass stick
1 bunch coriander
2 cloves garlic
2 spring onions
400ml tin coconut milk
200ml chicken stock
2 medium sweet potatoes