I spotted this recipe when leafing through my current favourite cookbook, The Art of Eating Well by Hemsley + Hemsley. I put it on the list of things to make on a rainy day, and then came across a new seafood delivery company called Marco Polo Seafood, which offered to send me some fresh tiger prawns, amongst other things. And so I thought it was perfect timing to give this healthy prawn laksa a try!
This is a super easy recipe to make and takes hardly any time at all. The hardest part was probably trying to find kelp noodles! You can buy them for HKD48 at Just Green, or if you’re not in a rush, you can order them for HKD30 from iHerb. Kelp noodles contain zero calories, zero sugar and zero fat. They don’t taste of anything, but have a likeness to vermicelli, so if you’re looking for a healthier way to eat noodles, this is it.
I was initially a little intimidated by the huge, wild Vietnamese tiger prawns, as I have never cooked such big guys at home before, so I didn’t know if there was anything I needed to do to prepare them. It was, however, as easy as allowing them to defrost and then just popping them in the pan and waiting for them to go pink. Knowing that there are many people like me who are intimidated by cooking seafood at home, Marco Polo Seafood is on a mission to change this and to promote healthy eating. They get their seafood direct from the source, often from family-owned producers, meaning super fresh seafood at decent prices. To use these tiger prawns as an example, you can get six pieces for just HKD339.
Of course, this laksa can be done with smaller prawns, or even other types of seafood. Marco Polo Seafood has quite a selection and they’ll deliver straight to your door within two days of placing your order. The only thing is, the seafood doesn’t come with an ice pack, so it’s best to make sure someone’s at home when they deliver.
80g kelp noodles, washed, drained and cut to desired length
1 tbsp peanuts
1 large onion, cut into quarters
a thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled
1 red chilli
3 garlic cloves
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tbsp coconut oil
2 lemongrass stalks, cut into 4 pieces and roughly bashed
2 tsp ground turmeric
100ml seafood broth (or seafood or vegetable stock)
400ml coconut milk
120g mange tout
80g baby corn (these aren’t in the original recipe, but I love baby corn in a curry! Feel free to add whichever veggies your prefer)
1 tbsp coconut aminos (or tamari)
juice of 1 lime
a handful of fresh coriander, plus more for garnishing
2-4 tiger prawns, or around 200g smaller prawns (unpeeled gives a better flavour, but peeled if you prefer)
1. In a large pan, dry fry the peanuts over a gentle heat for a couple of minutes, shaking the pan every so often, until they are nice and golden. Pour them into a small bowl and set aside to cool.
2. In a food processor, blend the onion, ginger, garlic, chilli and coriander seeds to make a paste. If you struggle to find coriander seeds in Hong Kong, ground coriander will do, but I think the seeds give it an added je ne sais quois.
3. In the same pan you toasted the peanuts, heat the coconut oil and add the paste together with the lemongrass and turmeric, and fry for a few minutes on a gentle heat until fragrant.
4. Add the broth and coconut milk and turn the heat up to a medium simmer.
5. After a few minutes, add the mange tout, baby corn and prawns and cook for around 5 minutes, depending on the size of the prawns. They are cooked when they turn pink and tender.
6. Add the coconut aminos (or tamari) and the lime juice and check the seasoning – add more coconut aminos or lime juice if required.
7. Stir through the kelp noodles and the fresh coriander and serve immediately, topped with more coriander and the toasted peanuts.