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.
Since this version already takes a lot of creative license, I’ve tweaked it to the point where it’s still recognizable, yet so much easier and faster to make.
More tips for vegan laksa soup
- 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.
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.
Here are more authentic-tasting recipes using Indian simmer sauce.
- 4-ounce bundle flat rice noodles (see note)
- 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 grated fresh or bottled ginger
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (see tofu variation)
- 2 cups finely chopped fresh or frozen broccoli florets
- 1/4 cup cilantro leaves
- 14.5-ounce can light coconut milk
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Dried hot red pepper flakes or sririacha 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 broccoli; simmer briefly, just until it turns bright green.
- Stir in the cilantro and coconut milk. Simmer for another minute or two, until heated through, then season with salt, pepper, and dried hot red pepper flakes or sriracha (or pass the hot seasoning around for individual servings).
- Serve at once. Top each serving with any or all of the suggested toppings, as well as any chickpeas you may have reserved. Tip: The soup thickens quite a bit as it stands; thin with water or broth and adjust seasonings.
Noodles: If you can't find flat rice noodes, use udon noodles or linguini.
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:
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