Healthy! My Easy Laksa Soup – without paste, without oil!

Healthy Easy Laksa by alittlebitofsoy

I love Laksa. Hot, Creamy and Rich… It is perfect for the cold weather as well as the hot sweaty summer. I love the fact that there are so many different varieties across Southeast Asia. It is fun to compare each Laksa in each region/country.

There are a few places that serve Laksa in Perth as well. Some are pretty good, some are not so good. What I have realised is they are quite often too oily for me. I am sure that the richness and creaminess can be achieved without this oil floating on the surface of the beautiful yellow soup…

So! I made my version of Laksa by keeping only what I like.

Difficult? NONONO! My recipes are never difficult!

My easy Laksa is:

  • No store-bought Laksa paste required
  • No need to make Laksa paste separately
  • No stock required
  • Not oily at all as no oil is used

Most of the ingredients (except cooking sake or white wine) should be found at the normal supermarket, therefore you can make it at home easily!

Most important tip for this Laksa recipe is how to cook the vegetables. I use a cooking method called “Mushi-yaki” in Japanese (or “Etuver” in French), where you cook the ingredients while they are steaming in their own juice. All you need to do is add salt to the vegetables and keep cooking on a low heat. That is all. This method is a wonderfully easy way to bring out the flavour of each ingredient. It is almost like making vegetable stock instantly in the pot.

This Laksa is one of my regular dinner repertoires, and my husband loves it too. Hope you add my Easy Laksa onto your regular menu and enjoy it as much as we do 🙂

Ingredients (Serving for 4)

For Chicken
1 piece of Chicken Breast (300g-330g) - cut into small pieces
1/2 Tablespoon of Cooking Sake or White Wine
1/2 Tablespoon of Fish Sauce
A pinch of Sea Salt

For Vegetables (There are just some examples. You can use any veggies left in your fridge!)
1 Onion - sliced
1 Carrot - diced
1 Capsicum - diced
3 heads of Bok Choy - roughly chopped
300g of Cabbage

Ingredients A
1 Tablespoon of ground Turmeric
1/2 Tablespoon of ground Coriander 
1/2 Tablespoon of Galam Masala
1 Teaspoon of ground Cumin
1/2 Teaspoon of Sea Salt
3 cloves of Garlic - finely chopped
20g of Ginger - julienne
1 Red Chili (or your choice of chili) - chopped

Ingredients B
900ml of Water
1 Tablespoon of Cooking Sake (or White Wine)
1/2 Teaspoon of Sea Salt
1 Bay Leaf - bend into half

Ingredients C
270ml of Coconut Cream
1 Teaspoon of Fish Sauce
1 Teaspoon of Sesame Oil

Topping
Fresh Coriander - chopped (as much as you like)
Method:

1. For Chicken, combine the chicken and all of the other ingredients in a small bowl. Put it aside. 

2. In a large pot, place all of the vegetables and 'Ingredients A', and combine them all together. Make sure that the vegetables are nicely coated with the spiced. 

3. Place the pot over a low heat with a lid on. As juice from the vegetables comes out, let them cook in their own juice. If the spices have started burning on the bottom of the pot, add 1 tablespoon of water into the pot. Stir occasionally. Keep cooking for about 10 minutes or until the vegetables become soft and tender. 

4. Once the vegetables become soft and tender, add the chicken including liquid (from Method 1) and ' Ingredient B' into the pot. Increase the heat to medium. Once the soup has started evaporating, reduce the heat to low and simmer it for about 20 minutes. 

5. Taste the soup and season it with sea salt if necessary. Turn the heat off. Add all of 'Ingredients C' into the pot and stir well. 

6. Top with fresh coriander and serve it while hot. 
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The Easiest Ever! Pho Ga Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup

The Easiest Ever – Pho Ga (Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup)!!

Super Easy Pho Ga Recipe

You can make the Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup (Pho Ga) from scratch so easily at home by using the bi-product from my Super Moist Boiled Chicken!

My Super Moist Boiled Chicken is one of my favourite recipes, since it is really easy to make and can be prepared in advance. In addition, the recipe produces beautifully clear broth.
As the broth is already flavoursome, you do not need any special ingredients to make this delicious Pho.

In this recipe, I simply doubled up the measurements of the original boiled chicken. In that way, you can enjoy one of the boiled chicken breast one day as a main dish, and Pho Ga on another day – dinner menu sorted for 2 days!

Next time you need a Vietnamese fix, try this recipe. You do not need to go out for it anymore….

Ingredients (serving for 4):
1500 ml of the remaining Chicken Broth from my Super Moist Boiled Chicken
1 Onion - sliced
1/2 tablespoon of Fish Sauce
200g Flat Rice Noodles
1 Super Moist Boiled Chicken Breast - sliced
250g of Bean Sprouts - washed

For Condiments
1 bunch of Coriander
1 Chili - sliced
2 tablespoons of Fish Sauce
1 Lime
Method:
1. Place chicken broth and sliced onions into a pot and bring it to a boil.

2. In the mean time, prepare rice noodles as per packet directions (Normally I soak noodles in warm water).

3. Once the broth is boiled, reduce the heat to low and add 1/2 tablespoon of fish sauce. Simmer it on a low heat until it is ready to serve.

4. For condiments, soak sliced chili in 2 tablespoons of fish sauce, chop coriander and cut lime into wedges.

5. Divide the noodles into serving bowls. Top with the chicken and bean sprouts and pour the broth over the noodles. Top with the coriander. Serve with the chili fish sauce and lime wedges.

Memoir of Bhutan Trip – Bhutanese Food

Before our trip, we did not really know much about Bhutanese food. We, of course, googled a bit about what we could eat over there, but all we found out was it would be hot. OK, good, we love chilis! – That was our thought.
Now, we went there and we ate their food. Our opinion towards it is… LOVE Bhutanese food!!! Give me more!!!!
What did we love about? Here are the reasons….

Having a Picnic – Punakha Tshechu
  1. The Heat
    Yes it did not disappoint us! It was hot!
    On the way from Paro airport to our first hotel, we saw something red spread on top of the houses. When we asked our guide- Nim (the cool and intelligent Bhutanese lady), she told me that they were all red chilis drying on their roof! At that point, we realised that we would face serious heat here – which made us excited.
    Technically they put chilis in all of their dishes. Starting from Ema Datshi (which is chili cheese – the Bhutanese national food), chili salad (which is technically only chopped chilis, coriander and lemon- that’s it!), chili chicken (if you are not a vegetarian) and chili paste to add onto it. Probably corn soup and buckwheat pancakes were the only dishes without chilis among what we ate during our stay.
    Once Nim realised that we loved chilis, she started taking us to several restaurants which served all different levels of heat. In the end, we got her approval that we could eat like the locals! YEY!
Dried Chili in the Bhutanese Farm House

2. The Simplicity
Simple – this is the perfect word to describe Bhutanese cuisine. As Bhutan is not quite open to the whole world, what Bhutan produces is what the Bhutanese eat. For that reason, there are not many varieties in their dishes. They eat Ema Datshi every day. There are a few different variations – mushrooms, potatoes and onions, however technically, they are vegetables and cheese.

Sounds boring?

Not at all! The vegetables are produced locally and the cheese is home-made. Each restaurant and family has their own recipes. That made us eager to try Ema Datshi every day to taste each family’s secret.
We also found that they do not use seasoning much in cooking, which actually puts the emphasis on the taste of the ingredients themselves. This is a wonderful example of simplicity of cooking. You do not need many fancy condiments such as sugar, vinegar, oyster sauce or even a little bit of soy sauce (!) to make wonderful dishes out of good fresh ingredients.

3. Home-made
In addition to their fresh produce that I have mentioned above, for winter when they cannot produce much, they dry most of their produce… well… to be honest, ALL of their produce!- chilis (of course), corn (make their own corn flour), mushrooms (nice), pork belly (!), cheese (!!) etc.
They make their own alcohol as well, which is called Ara. It is made from…. anything really. Some are made from wheat, some are from millet, some are from potatoes.
We visited 2 farm houses for dinner during our stay. Both families had their own Ara. Both Ara were quite strong! It was quite similar to Shochu or even whisky. Among the several kinds of Ara from both families, the one I remember the most is Ara infused with Matsutake (I called it “Japanese Porcini” for an easy translation – in short, it is mushroom which is famous for its fragrance. It is in season in fall and is super expensive in Japan. Bhutan produces Matsutake – not for export, of course…). A touch of Matsutake fragrance in Ara was quite nice. My husband, especially, quite enjoyed it that night.

Home made Ara – Bhutanese Sake 
  1. Family-oriented
    Although each of the dishes are simple, there are normally several dishes served at the table. This is the common dinner menu:
    From top right – clockwise
    Rice, Spinach Soup, Potato Cheese, Ema Datshi, Stir-fried Asparagas and Carrot, Chili Chicken (in the middle)

Bhutan Dinner

They put all dishes in the middle (of the floor as they do not use a table) and share with their family members. Rice is served first, and then pass the dishes around each other. Mother recommends her family to eat one of the dishes more than others, as maybe it is her today’s special. Family members sit together, eat together and chat together. I just love this simple basic concept of dinner.

Sooo now, as a recipe developer (to be), I am super interested in recreating Bhutanese Food. The difficulty is that it is super simple, therefore, the favour heavily replies on the quality of ingredients. For example, Ema Datshi – it is technically stir-fried Chilis and Cheese. However, Bhutanese chili is medium size and very meaty like a capsicum, and it is hot and spicy. I have never seen the same kind in either Australia or Japan. The cheese for Ema Datshi – apparently they use their home-made cottage cheese as a base and add some different kinds of cheese (depending on each family), but it is completely different from the cottage cheese that we know here in Australia. I have tried a few different combinations of cheese to recreate Ema Datshi, but so far, it has not been successful…. That makes me more keen and eager to eat THAT Ema Datshi. Something like you know you cannot get, therefore you really want it…. Awww give me THAT Ema Datshi!

Re creating THAT Ema Datsi is my big project now. When I succeed, I will certainly let you know….