Another superb meat-free dish… for meat-lovers.

Delicious easy vegetarian laksa… for meat-lovers. huh?

Isn’t that an oxymoron?

Not really.

The thing about meat-lovers, is we enjoy meat.

But of course, it has to be quality meat i.e. well looked after animals, small farms not industrialised farming etc

And we do want to eat less meat for the planet (& for a better health balance).

It’s just that a lot of veggies/vegan recipes, just don’t really inspire.

This is why I’m trying hard to find dishes that satisfy flavour as well as texture.

And a lot of Asia dishes hit the nail on the head.

This is why this delicious vegetarian laksa, works.

And the other great thing (just like the Kimchi vegetarian broth), is they’ve been adapted from original meat/seafood recipes.

This means on a different week where you’re trying the mushroom stroganoff as your meat-free day.

You could add chicken to this laksa recipe and that’s another fab midweek meal sorted.

It just works!

Discovering laksa

I was fortunate to discover laksa when I was doing my OE (Overseas Experience).

It’s a Kiwis’ right-of-passage to throw on a backpack and travel the world.

We come from the bottom so there is no back-and-forth to France, Italy, India, etc as it’s simply too cost-prohibitive.

And to be honest, there is something quite special (and terrifying) leaving home with just your Lonely Planet guides weighing you down.

And making your way around different countries meeting people and discovering new cultures and amazing food.

These were the days of no mobile phones or online banking.

We just had internet cafes with that memorable dial-up tone, as our only way to communicate ‘quickly’.

So that you could send off the odd ‘I’m OK’ email to the family every couple of weeks or whenever you found an internet café along the way.

But it was an adventure.

And it was exciting discovering the world.

Malaysia – what a country

This was my 3rd stop on my travels – Oz – Singapore – Malaysia.

And I was travelling with a friend I’d made while waitressing in this diabolical event centre in Sydney.

So, once we decided we’d had enough of 16+ hour days of waitering.

And had stashed enough cash, we made a plan to travel together.

Malaysia did not disappoint.

The people are incredible!

The landscape, stunning, from bustling cities to thick mountainous rainforests to ‘The Beach’-type islands.

And the food was epic.

Especially for skint backpackers.

Their flavours are a mash-up of Chinese, Indonesian and Malay influences.

And the laksa is no different.

Types of laksa

There are two main types:

1. Curry laksa

This is the ‘typical’ laksa aka as curry mee.

  • Made from a coconut milk and curry paste base and is creamy, it has loads of flavour and can have a nice fiery kick to it.
  • Usually full of fish balls, tofu puffs, noodles and prawns or chicken… or both.
  • Traditionally made with fresh, flat, thin rice noodles.

2. Assam laksa 

  • This has no coconut milk.
  • But instead, the lighter broth is made from fish, tamarind and torch ginger flower. 

What is laksa paste made of?

Laksa paste is a curry paste made from a blend of ingredients like chillies, lemongrass, garlic, galangal ginger and a handful of other spices.

They create a rich-tasting paste used as the base flavour in a laksa soup.

Laksa paste substitute

You can use Thai red or yellow curry paste instead.

Thai curry pastes have very similar to laksa paste.

If you want, add 1/2 tsp turmeric powder to the Thai red curry paste to get that vibrant yellow Laksa colour.

How to make delicious vegetarian laksa

This recipe obviously isn’t the authentic method but it does take less than 30 minutes to make from start to finish.

Which is a winning dish during the week.

And laksa paste (or the substitutes) are really good so store-bought will speed things up and still give you that amazing flavour.

But try and get the rice noodles to make it a bit more authentic.

Note: Ideally, you use fried puff tofu for a more traditional Laksa (you can find it online at places like TukTukMart).

But don’t stress, soft tofu is delicious too and easier to find.

Delicious easy vegetarian laksa

Delicious easy vegetarian laksa recipe

The below ingredients re-vegetables are just a guide.

I like to add other greens as well as pak choi such as green beans (blanch them first), cavolo nero, etc

  • PREP TIME: 10 mins
  • COOK TIME 15 mins
  • SERVES: 4 
  • DIFFICULTY: easy


  • Laksa paste (can sub Thai red or yellow curry paste), 2 tbsp
  • curry powder, 1 tsp
  • a stalk of lemongrass, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • a litre of vegetable stock
  • full-fat coconut milk, 1 cup
  • tamari (can sub soy sauce), 1–2 tbsp
  • brown sugar, 1 tbsp
  • noodles, cooked (rice noodles or ramen noodles)
  • a pack soft tofu, cut into cubes or tofu puffs
  • pak choi, chopped or any other dark leafy green you love


  1. Preheat a large pot on the stove on medium-high heat then add the Laksa paste and curry powder and let toast for 30 secs.
  2. Add the lemongrass, stock, coconut milk, tamari (soy) and brown sugar to the pot and bring to a boil mixing everything together, then cover and let simmer for 10 mins.
  3. Cook the noodles according to the packet instructions.
  4. Add the cooked noodles, soft tofu (or tofu puffs) and pok choi to the soup and bring to a boil letting everything cook together for 5 mins.
  5. Serve

Recipe: Choosing Chia