I can measure my culinary progression through Thai Takeaway.
When I was first introduced to the cuisine on a family vacation, I ate nothing but white rice. I was six at the time and lost five kilos. Next came the years of pad thai, which were succeeded by almost as long ordering chicken and cashew nut stir fry. Over time—and three subsequent trips to Thailand—I’ve tried crying tiger, bah mee moo dang, laarb and more. I love every Thai dish on the menu, but laksa (which is actually Malaysian) is always a favourite. And this one from Zoe Bingley-Pullin is particularly good. It has chicken and tofu—porque no los dos?—and is made using fresh herbs and spices. So put the phone down, cancel the curry puffs and make this instead. Tip: make sure to use firm tofu for this recipe. Excess curry paste will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days.
Healthy Chicken and Tofu Laksa
Prep: 15-20 mins | Cook: 30 mins
Dairy Free – Gluten Free
400g chicken breast
2 tbsp. organic virgin coconut oil
250g rice vermicelli noodles
180g hard tofu, cut into 2cm cubes
500ml chicken stock
400ml can coconut milk
250g bean shoots
1 tbsp. fresh chilli
4 green shallots, sliced, to garnish
Fresh coriander leaves, to garnish
For the curry paste
1 brown onion, peeled and chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
2 lemongrass stalks, peeled and thinly sliced
6-8 macadamia nuts
1 tsp. shrimp paste
1 tbsp. fish sauce, or to taste
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground coriander
To make the curry paste, place all the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor, and process until smooth and well combined. Set aside.
Cook rice vermicelli noodles in a large saucepan of boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain and reserve.
Heat the remaining 1 tbsp. of coconut oil in a saucepan over medium heat and cook tofu, stirring, until lightly golden. Set aside.
Add the chicken stock, and curry paste to the saucepan, bring to the boil and reduce heat to low. Stir in coconut milk, oil, chicken and tofu.
Simmer gently for 5 minutes or until chicken is cooked (it is important you simmer the soup gently at this point as the coconut milk will separate if boiled).
Drain and divide among 4 deep soup bowls. Ladle soup over noodles and top with bean shoots. Garnish with green shallots and coriander leaves.
Falling in Love with Food: A Cookbook and a Love Story, features chapters and recipes from different phases of Zoe’s life. From fun things she ate in her childhood to the food she made while training as a chef at Le Cordon Bleu School in London. It includes elements and food from studying nutrition, her wedding, becoming a mother and more.