Going back to work after 12 months leave (I know, lucky me) has meant a few changes in our house. Little Miss (our gorgeous puppy) has lost her automatic door opener (me) throughout the day, G has to help with the housework a little bit more and I have to think of meals that are not only tasty but quick and easy to prepare after work. While I was on leave I could ponder over dinner for most of the day before deciding what we would eat, now it is definitely a plan ahead decision process which can be challenging.
I am fortunate that we both love Asian flavours because a lot of the dishes that come from Asian cuisine are quick cooking and this recipe is no exception. We both enjoy Laksa, so I decided to make a chicken version for one of our mid-week meals. I wanted to be able use ingredients that I had in the fridge or cupboard so designed my recipe around what I could find. After getting home from work, walking and feeding the dog I got stuck in and within an hour dinner was on the table. Oh how I love quick and easy mid-week meals.
healthy chicken laksa– (recipe by Fiona at Food 4 Thought)
serves 2 hungry people
250g (8ozs) skinless chicken breast
vegetable oil, for shallow frying
2 teaspoons laksa paste
1 teaspoon garlic paste or 2 cloves, crushed
1 teaspoon ginger paste or 2.5cm (1 inch) piece of fresh ginger, grated
250ml (1 cup) chicken stock
70g (2.5ozs) carrots, peeled
70g (2.5ozs) red capsicum
70g (2.5ozs) beans
100g (3.5ozs) baby sweet corn
70g (2.5ozs) sliced water chestnuts
200ml (3/4 cup) coconut milk
4 x spring onions (green shallots)
100g (3.5ozs) rice vermicelli noodles
1 handful of coriander leaves, roughly chopped
100g (3.5ozs) bean sprouts
to serve, lime juice and fried shallots
Place a large, deep frying pan or a large, heavy-based saucepan over medium heat. Cut chicken breast into bit size pieces. Add 1 tablespoon of oil to pan and add chicken pieces. Cook for 2 – 3 minutes each side or until chicken is lightly golden but not cooked through. Remove from pan and set aside. Chop carrots, red capsicum, beans and corn into 2.5cm (1 inch) batons.
Add laksa paste, garlic and ginger to pan and heat for 1 – 2 minutes, stirring so that it does not stick to the base. Add 60ml (1/4 cup) chicken stock, stir and simmer for a couple of minutes, until sauce thickens. Add chicken back to pan, stir to coat and cook for 2 – 3 minutes before adding the remaining stock. Bring to boil, add all vegetables except bean sprouts, stir and reduce heat slightly. Simmer for 6 – 10 minutes until vegetables are cooked as desired. In the meantime, place noodles into a large bowl and cover with boiling water. Using a fork, separate the noodles and set aside.
Once vegetables are cooked, add coconut milk and shallots and turn heat off. Taste for seasoning and adjust as desired.
To serve, place noodles in the base of bowls, add beans sprouts, top with chicken and vegetables then pour over broth. Sprinkle with chopped coriander, spritz with lime juice and top with fried shallots.
My tips/alterations: *The brand of laksa paste that I use is Hogan’s Chilli Sauces because they are Australian made. I use 1 teaspoon each of Thai Laksa Paste and Laksa Paste because they have their own individual flavours and I like the blend of the two. If you like a more intense flavour, add more paste. *I cook my vegetables so that they are still a little crunchy as I like the textural differences throughout the dish. *Substitute the vegetables with anything that you like and use seafood in place or chicken if preferred. * I like to use the fine vermicelli noodles but you can use any that you like and cool them as directed. *Fried shallots can be purchased from Asian supermarkets and some supermarkets. *If you would like to make this a vegetarian dish, substitute the chicken with tofu.
ease: 8/10. This is not difficult and it is best to get all the ingredients prepared before beginning.
prep time: 30mins. Rolling the mixture into balls takes most of this.
cooking time: 20mins.
taste: 8/10. This is one of those dishes that will make you feel healthy when you eat it.
We loved the blend of flavours and textures that made us want to have another mouthful, then another and another until disappointingly we realised that we had devoured it all.
would I make it again: Definitely. This was satisfying, delicious and healthy all in one bowl.