A full moon hangs brightly against a crystal clear November skyline, the distant pops & crackles of a premature fireworks display can be heard followed by a deafening BANG nearby. The thick scent of sulphur hangs in the air which is decidedly colder tonight, a reminder that winter has crept upon us once again. I’m still feeling slightly jet legged from our return to GMT, although it’s been almost a week since the clocks went back I still can’t get use to how quickly darkness falls. That and the combination of returning from a short half term break away in West Wales.
Our annual pilgrimage had taken a slightly different approach this year as the other half of our brigade the “outlaws” from middle England, couldn’t accompany us as the school terms are out of kilter so it’s the first time in over ten years we are not all together. What that basically meant was that I was not required to cook for everyone which equated to nine mouths and a canine three times daily for a whole week, you’d think I be happy but I felt decidedly redundant. We opted to eat out more on this trip instead of cooking, so as the fireworks got into full swing on the night of our return, I came back from the supermarket with the above ingredients to make a Thai style prawn Laksa with noodles.
I couldn’t think of anything else more inviting than a large bowl of aromatic, spicy flavoursome broth with Tiger prawns to warm you up on a chilly Guy Fawkes night. Don’t be put off by the number of ingredients as this is simple one pot cooking at its best, a large wok would be better still. The exotic flavours of chillies, limes, lemongrass & ginger with punchy garlic smoothed out with creamy coconut milk to calm the heat of the chillies, this really is a marriage made in heaven and a welcome vibrant array of colours & tastes to lift the darkness of a November evening, it blows the cobwebs away and leaves you glowing and satiated.
* 30 raw Tiger prawns
* 3 tbsp vegetable oil
* 3 tbsp laksa paste (see below)
* 400ml can coconut milk
* Juice of 2 limes, zest of 1
* 1 tsp sugar
* 2 tbsp Thai fish sauce (nam pla)
* 200g Chinese medium egg noodles
* 50g Broken Cashews
* Small bunch of fresh coriander
* 300g of stir fry vegetables, baby corn, tender stem broccoli & sugar snap peas.
*100g of sliced mixed peppers
For the laksa paste
* 2 red chillies, deseeded if you like
* 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
* 2.5cm piece ginger or galangal, roughly chopped
* 4 small shallots, roughly chopped
* 1 stick lemongrass, outer layer discarded, roughly chopped
* 1 tbsp Thai fish sauce (nam pla)
* 2 tsp of Mae Paloi green curry paste
Blend or finely chop together the paste ingredients
1)Heat the oil in a large pan or wok. When hot, throw in the garlic, spring onion, ginger and green chilli. Add the paste & Cook on a medium heat for 3-4 mins, then squeeze in your lime juice.
2)Add vegetables & Cashews Stir in the prawns, then add in the coconut milk. Simmer gently for 5 mins on a low heat until the prawns are pink. Simmer for a further 4-5 minutes to cook vegetables topping up liquid with water from the noodle pan if needed.