A vegan laksa is the perfect comfort dish filled with aromatics, veggies, noodles, and tofu in a full-bodied coconut milk broth. All the different colours, flavours, and textures in one bowl make it a great balanced dish.
Laksa is a spiced noodle soup from Southeast Asia. It’s very popular in Malaysia and Singapore; however, you’ll also find it in Indonesia and southern Thailand.
I’ve always had a soft spot for a good laksa. If it’s on the menu, I’ll typically order it. My local vegan Thai restaurant makes the best one I’ve ever had. But, you know, at $18 a pop, I wanted to make my own, so I could enjoy it more often and not have to fuss about their opening hours.
It’s always good to have your favourite dishes in your recipe arsenal to create whenever your cravings call for. This is why I’m sharing this recipe with you, so you too, can have that now.
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What’s in a laksa paste, and why it’s not vegan
The thing with a laksa is that it can vary so much from recipe to recipe. Some are more of a curry base, and others are a broth base. It just comes down to personal preference.
What you’ll find in most is meat or seafood with a prawn head stock. In the paste itself, there would typically be shrimp or shrimp paste.
I’ve bulked it up with lots of delicious and colourful veggies, spices, and crispy tofu chunks to make this vegan.
These are the ingredients you’ll find in this vegan laksa paste:
- Fresh ginger
- Fresh turmeric
- Cumin powder
- Tamari sauce
- Fresh chilli pepper
- Cilantro stems
I’ve tried to use accessible ingredients that you’ll find in any well-stocked supermarket.
How to use and prepare lemongrass?
I wanted to emphasise lemongrass for just a minute.
If you’re like me and haven’t used it much in your cooking, it can be a little intimidating. So, to give you some reassurance and confidence that you’ll get this right, here are a few things to keep in mind when using it.
The soft, inner, white part of the stalk will go into the paste. The rest is super hard and fibrous and not ideal for eating. Save it for stock or tea.
Cut down the lemongrass to about 3-4 inches long. This part has the most flavour and is softer than the rest. Trim off the hard base and peel back a leaf or two that’s pretty tough and stringy.
Now all you have to do is chop it finely into disks and add it to your food processor with the other ingredients!
Topping options for this vegan laksa soup
The toppings can vary greatly, just as much as the broth. You can include so many different things.
Here’s a few additional toppings that I haven’t included in mine; as I went pretty over the top, I couldn’t fit them all!
- Snow peas
- Scallions/green onions/spring onions
- Baby corn
- Bamboo shoots
- Sweet potato
- Bok choy
- Green beans
- Other types of noodles
- Crushed peanuts
The options are endless. This is a great way to use up the veggies you have in your fridge and play around with flavour combinations.
Tips for making the best vegan laksa
- If you want to speed up the process for next time you want laksa, make a double batch of the laksa paste and broth and freeze half of it for later. That way your soup can be ready in 15 minutes flat!
- You can adjust the heat to your liking by leaving or removing the seeds from the red chilli used.
- It’s important to fry off the spices in the laksa paste for the flavours to develop and to caramelise. You want to cook the rawness out of it.
- Be careful not to burn the paste as it can become bitter.
- If you have kefir lime leaves, you can add them to the broth while it cooks for another dimension of flavour and add that extra acidity before finishing it off with lime juice when serving.
- Use a small food processor or even a mortar and pestle instead of a blender as you’ll need too much liquid to blend it properly, diluting the paste concentrate. It would take much longer to fry it off.
- The noodles and vegetables in this soup are interchangeable.
Other recipes you’ll love:
- Vegan Noodle Bowl (Gluten-Free)
- Summer Kelp Noodle Salad
- Cauliflower Potato Curry with Coconut Milk
- Easy Vegan Red Lentil Soup
- 30-Minute Vegan Buddha Bowls (Three Ways)
- Vegan Bún Chay Noodle Bowl (Vietnamese Noodle Salad)
- Healthy Vegan Congee (Savoury Rice Porridge)