Thursday, 31 May 2012

Skinny eating : Chicken Laksa

I made this dish so many times and every time it amazes me how delightful and romantic a simple soupy dish can be..

Laksa is a Malaysian soup noodle dish which is spicy, warming and nutritious.

let's get started my lovelies so you can enjoy this light but filling dish  enough for 3-4 people

Takes me roughly under 1 hour to make this dish- I allow ample time to let the soup simmer to enrich the flavour. Have a read through the ingredients needed and have them ready. follow the steps so you have the final dish just right and served up fresh.

Stage 1:

Preparing the paste

5-6 shallots roughly chopped
3 cloves of garlic
1 cm ginger skinned
1/2 tsp of prawn paste ( this can smell bad initially but it is the heart of most Asian cuisines for that authentic smell and flavour)
1-2 whole red chillies or 2 small green chillies ( de-seed if you want less spicy-I don't)

put all ingredients in a blender and blitz until it is a paste

stage 2:

in a large/deep saucepan

add 2 tbs of flora cuisine
 then fry the paste until fragrant ( it will smell very appetising)
then add 1/2 tsp of turmeric powder and cook further

next - add 450-500g of cubed lean chicken breast to the mix, coat the chicken well and allow to cook.

stage 3 for the soup-

you need:

make up 400ml of chicken stock ( I use 1 knorr chicken cube with 400ml of hot water or fresh stock i you have some)
400ml of low fat coconut milk
1 tbs of light soy sauce
1 tbs of dark soy sauce
1tbs of fish sauce
3 pieces of galangal
2 stalks of lemongrass
sea salt to taste
white pepper to taste
juice of 1 lime

1 tbs of unsalted/unsweetened peanut butter

now we are ready to get the soup all together:

once you are happy that the chicken is cooked along with the now very fragrant paste- reduce the heat to medium, and pour in the coconut milk, the stock and stir gently. then add the light and dark soy sauce, fish sauce and stir. bring to a gentle simmer first. the, add the galangal and lemon grass stalks to the soup. cover at and let simmer in medium heat. take care not to over boil as this will cause the coconut milk to separate.

then add salt and pepper to taste. if you want a hint of tang- add the lime juice ( i almost always add this- as it makes the dish zingy)

Finally, to bring the whole soup together for an authentic flavour add the peanut butter. Cover the pan and let it simmer gently while we move on to prepare the rest of the dish:

stage 4:

we need white/ brown rice noodles. If you can get the glass variety even better
if you get the dried version- prepare it first.
if you get the already prepared version- then all you need to do is toss the noodles in warm sesame oil. it is the little steps that makes this dish special. Sesame oil is fragrant and an aphrodisiac.


Bean sprouts, green sugar snaps, snow peas, baby corn  blanched in hot water.

ready to eat organic bean  mix ( can get this from most organic stores) for garnish or failing that- roughly chopped peanuts ( bare in mind that this is calorific- so go light on the sprinkles)

Time for assembly:

3-4 large Chinese bowls/ or just bowls big enough for you :)

divide the noodles into each bowl ( I tend to have very little of the noodles myself, more vegetable and chicken)

then, pile some of the vegetable taking care not to over do it- make sure you have a nice amount of all the vegetables to give good colour and crunch.

Then ladle the hot simmering soup with some chicken into each bowl. be careful not to over pour, just enough to cover the noodles and vegetables. the soup is very nutritious, the heat will infuse the noodles and the vegetables with all the mouth watering flavours.

finally, sprinkle some of the bean mix on top and garnish with a slice of lime and some chopped coriander.

for extra heat- keep some dried chilly sprinkles for those who dare for extra heat in their Laksa.


Skinny points-

healthy bowl of soup made with light weight ingredients but with punchy flavours.
thermogenic factor- chillies, ginger, turmeric, lemon grass aid lipolysis
protein factor- lean chicken, peanut for a protein fix
antioxidant rich- from semi  raw vegetables, sprouts and turmeric
soups dishes fill you up more than stodgy meals.
Balanced meal in one dish.

avoid fatty points by:

use minimal amounts of salt- rely on the natural available salt in the ingredients
use low fat coconut milk
use thin glass noodles or brown noodles for carbohydrate base to make it low GI

above all-- enjoy the flavours, allow your senses to be immersed as it is a dish to be savoured fully.
makes a great at home dish for a very special night in , or dinner with friends.

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