Vegan laksa soup is made super easy courtesy of Indian simmer sauce. It features rice noodles in a coconut-curry base with vegetables, chickpeas or tofu, and tasty toppings.
A dish of Southeast Asian origins (Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia), in its original form, laksa soup is far from vegan. So here we’re going to throw tradition to the wind.
And since this version already takes a lot of license, I’ve tweaked it to the point where it’s still quite recognizable, yet so much easier and faster to make.
Indian simmer sauce comes to the rescue. In authentic recipes, a paste made from about a million ingredients is a component of the broth.
This recipe calls for a jar of Indian simmer sauce, which adds the deliciously complex flavors of Southeast Asian fare, but without having to measure and mix them all. Combined with coconut milk, it makes a luscious broth base.
You can vary the vegetables used in the soup. I suggest baby spinach or broccoli here, but you can also use cauliflower, green peas, green beans … really, whatever you prefer or what’s in your fridge.
Choose chickpeas or tofu for protein. Or if you want a bigger pot of soup, use both! You can also use plant-based “chick’n” if you’d like.
- 4-ounce bundle flat rice noodles
- 1 tablespoon neutral vegetable oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 4 to 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 quart vegetable broth, or 4 cups water with 2 vegetable bouillon cubes
- 12-ounce jar Indian simmer sauce (see Note)
- 2 to 3 teaspoons ginger
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (see tofu variation)
- 2 to 3 big handfuls baby spinach, or 2 cups finely chopped broccoli florets
- 1/4 cup cilantro leaves
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
For topping (use any or all):
- Mung bean sprouts or green sprouts
- More cilantro leaves
- 1/2 medium red bell pepper, finely diced
- Sesame seeds
- Cook the rice noodles according to package directions until al dente, then drain and cut into much shorter lengths.
- Meanwhile, heat the oil in a soup pot. Add the onion and sauté over medium heat until translucent. Add the garlic and continue to sauté until both are golden.
- Add the broth, simmer sauce, ginger, lime juice, curry powder, and chickpeas (reserve a few for topping if you’d like). Bring to a slow boil, then lower the heat and cook for 5 minutes.
- Stir in the spinach or broccoli (or feel free to use both!) and simmer briefly, just until the spinach wilts (or if using broccoli, until it turns bright green).
- Stir in the cilantro and season with salt and pepper.
- Serve at once, topping each serving with any or all of the suggested toppings, as well as any chickpeas you may have reserved.
Indian simmer sauces are available in the Asian foods section of well-stocked supermarkets, and they are delicious! For this dish, some choices of dairy-free simmer sauces include Madras curry (which is fairly spicy), Goan coconut, rogan josh, and jalfrezi.
Tofu variation: Use a 14-ounce tub firm or extra-firm tofu in place of the chickpeas. Cut into 6 slabs crosswise and blot well. Then cut each slab into dice.
Vegetable variations: In place of the spinach and/or broccoli, use cauliflower, green peas, and/or green beans — whatever you’ve got on hand.
If you like this coconut curry soup, you may also enjoy:
See lots more easy vegan soups & stews