My cauliflower laksa noodle soup

As Wairarapa continues to fail me in the provision of Malaysian food, I decided it was time to learn how to cook laksa.

The first experiment went well and the second was good enough that I thought I’d record it to help me iterate from there. I’ll be updating it as I get better at it, and I’m open to suggestions. (I’ve iterated a bit and I’m pretty happy with where this has got to. Updated again with the tom yum paste for a slightly sharper flavour. Taken out the coconut cream.)

It’s not “authentic” but it was delicious.

Laksa in the wok

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 4 tbsp cooking oil (canola)
  • 3 heaped tbsp Exotic Foods Thai red curry paste (green is also ok)
  • 1 heaped tbsp tom yum paste
  • 3 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • Up to one medium cauliflower cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup broccoli cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup capsicum cut into small strips
  • 1 cup button mushrooms (whole if very small, otherwise cut)
  • 3 tsp Sambal Extra Pedas chili sauce (or any other very hot chili)
  • 2 litre vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp vegan fish sauce
  • Hefty pinch of salt if required
  • 1 stick lemongrass
  • 4 tsp crushed ginger (or 2 tsp fresh grated ginger)
  • 400ml coconut milk (200ml to reduce the coconutty)
  • (optional) 200ml coconut cream to make it very rich
  • 800gm noodles
  • 250gm fried tofu puffs cut into quarters
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 200gm mung bean sprouts
  • 4 spring onions finely sliced (as garnish)
  • 4 tbsp dried fried shallots (as garnish)


  1. Heat up the wok to medium and add the oil.
  2. Add the curry paste, tom yum paste and garlic, and simmer it for a minute or two.
  3. Add the cauliflower, broccoli and capsicum and cook for couple of minutes.
  4. Add the mushrooms and chili sauce and cook for another minute or two.
  5. Add vegetable stock, salt, and lemongrass stick, bring to simmer and cook for another few minutes until vegetables are nearly done.
  6. Add ginger, coconut milk, coconut cream, and noodles and return to simmer.
  7. Finish off by adding tofu puffs and lime juice, stir and take off the heat.
  8. Remove the lemongrass stick.
  9. Serve into bowls (easiest to serve noodles first with tongs/fork, then the veges/soup with a ladle).
  10. Divide the bean sprouts and spring onions between the bowl.
  11. Top with a sprinkle of dried fried shallots.