There’s nothing like a bowl of prawn and pumpkin laksa to hearten your mood on an autumnal day. The rich colours remind me of autumn no matter what time of year and it always brings a smile to my face when I conjure up memories of carving pumpkins during my own childhood. Now I have my own kids it’s always a fun time of year! I use pumpkin in my recipe as it goes so well with the spices and coconut milk and as well as being so good for you it produces an amazingly tasty meal! It’s a meal in a bowl and such an easy way to feed the family. Look at those inviting colours of autumn….
Laksa is a traditional dish in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. It is essentially a spicy noodle soup and can be made with prawns, chicken or fish. However we also add tofu to ours and we often eat the vegetarian version by leaving out the prawns! You can serve it with wholemeal rice noodles but we serve it with courgette noodles.
Have I told you how much I love my spiralizer? Only about 15 million times! Honestly it is simply the best kitchen gadget I have… well apart from my thermomix, hydrator, yogurt maker, juicer …… You simply must go out and buy one as it helps make an amazing alternative to pasta and you’d be surprised how much you’ll use it. You can buy one on amazon right here. My kids use it to help me make noodles and salads. And I’m so thankful to have help in the kitchen no matter how messy they may leave it….
You just spiralize your chosen vegetable and lay them on a baking tray and spray lightly with olive oil. Season and bake in a hot oven for 15 minutes and voila!
To make my prawn and pumpkin laksa first prepare your pumpkin. Pumpkin seeds are so good for you and supply minerals and vitamins so try not to discard them. You can keep them and wash them and leave to dry for 2 days. They are delicious roasted in the oven with himalayan salt and olive oil. Cook them for 30 minutes at 150˚C/300˚F and they make a tasty snack in between meals. Cut up the flesh of the pumpkin into 2 inch cubes.
Steam for 15-20 minutes until just cooked. Prepare your prawns by peeling them.
Next prepare your spices. Grate the turmeric, ginger and garlic.
Prepare the green beans by slicing diagonally.
And slice the spring onions.
Wash and tear off the leaves from the pak choi. This is one of those super healthy leafy green vegetables full of vitamins and antioxidants so it’s a must in this recipe. If you can find it then you can use spinach instead. I just tear the leaves into 3 or 4 pieces.
In a large wok heat the coconut oil and add the spring onion and garlic for one minute then add your spices and Thai red curry paste and cook for 2 minutes to allow the spices to become fragrant. Add the coconut milk and stock along with the fish sauce and stick of lemongrass and allow to simmer for 15 minutes until the sauce is reduced and thickened. Add the chopped coriander and prawns and cook for a further 5 minutes. Prepare your tofu by lightly frying in coconut oil and then cut into large squares. Add the tofu and pak choi and cook for a further 5 minutes.
If serving with rice noodles or courgette noodles then prepare these before serving.
To assemble the dish, place the noodles in a bowl with the pumpkin. Pour in the hot soup and prawn mixture. Top with the green beans (I never cook these as the crunchy texture adds to the dish), bean sprouts and cucumber . Sprinkle with coriander and red chilli if you want that extra spice!
Warming and nutritious with that feel-good factor….
- 400g pumpkin
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 2 cloves garlic
- 3 spring onions
- 2 teaspoons ground or freshly grated turmeric
- 1 inch cube ginger
- 1-2 teaspoons Thai red curry paste
- 2x400g tins coconut milk
- 300ml vegetable stock
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- Juice of ½ lime
- 1 stick lemongrass
- 1 bunch fresh coriander (reserve some for serving)
- 700g fresh uncooked prawns
- 250g tofu
- 200g pak choi
- 200g bean sprouts
- 60g romano beans
- ½ cucumber
- Wholemeal rice noodles or
- 1 courgette per person
- Prepare all your ingredients. Slice the pumpkin into cubes. Slice the spring onion and chop the garlic. Grate the ginger and fresh turmeric if using. Peel the prawns. Chop the coriander. Cut the pak choi in large pieces. Slice the cucumber and green beans diagonally in strips.
- Steam the pumpkin for 15 minutes or until cooked.
- Heat the oil and fry the onions and garlic in a wok for 2 minutes.
- Add the turmeric, ginger and Thai red curry paste and cook for 2 minutes until fragrant.
- Add the coconut milk and stock and bring to the boil. Add the fish sauce and lime juice, cover and simmer for 15 minutes until it reduces and thickens slightly.
- Place the uncooked prawns to your coconut soup mixture with the stick of lemongrass and chopped coriander and cook for 15 minutes or until the prawns are cooked.
- Add the tofu and pak choi and cook for a further 5 minutes. Remove the stick of lemongrass.
- To assemble add your noodles to the bowl, followed by the cooked pumpkin then your soup and top with the sliced beans, sliced cucumber and bean sprouts. Top with minced chilli for extra spice. Sprinkle with freshly chopped coriander.
- Spiralize the courgettes and place on a baking tray. Season and spray lightly with olive oil. Bake in a preheated oven at 180˚C for 15-20 minutes turning halfway through cooking.
- Add extra Thai red curry paste for a spicier prawn and pumpkin laksa.
- Tofu may be omitted if preferred.
- Prawns may be replaced with white fish or chicken.
- For a vegetarian laksa omit seafood and add extra vegetables like carrots or sweet potato.
- To add more flavour to the tofu pan fry it for 5 minutes before cutting as this brings out the flavour.