I call this my ‘Quick’ Chicken Laksa as it is a cheats version of what I would normally make, as I try as often as possible to make my own paste. In reality, sometimes I just don’t have the time, or the ingredients to make my own and I always keep a couple of curry paste varieties in the pantry for that very reason. It means we still get to eat a delicious, fragrant Laksa with tender chicken pieces, fresh beans and a crunchy topper all sitting proudly on a bed of slippery egg noodles. Utterly slurpworthy and all done in the space of about half an hour.

This really is a bit of a blank canvas and you could use whatever Asian vegetables you have available. Baby choy sum, chinese broccoli, broccolini, snow peas etc would all be delicious. You could also substitute the chicken for seafood or tofu if that is your preference.

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 30 minutes

$$ Medium Budget

Serves 4

3 chicken breast fillets, sliced about 1/2cm thick, across the grain (you can actually buy pre-sliced to save time)

1 brown onion, peeled, halved and sliced top to bottom

1 lemongrass stalk, finely sliced

3cm piece of ginger, peeled and cut into chunks

2 garlic cloves, peeled

4 kaffir lime leaves, centre vein removed and rolled up and sliced thinly

2 tbs of red curry paste

1 cup of chicken or vegetable stock

400ml tin of coconut milk

270ml tin of coconut cream (be sure to give the tine a really good shake)

4 portions of egg noodles, cooked according to packet instructions (you can use rice noodles if that is your preference)

3 tbs of fish sauce

Juice of 1 lime

1/4 cup of brown sugar

4 handfuls of bean sprouts, freshened up in iced water

1 bunch of coriander, roughly chopped & 1/2 a cup of the leaves reserved for the topper

1 red chilli, finely sliced

1/2 a cup of toasted coconut flakes

Lime wedges to serve

Place the lemongrass, ginger, garlic and lime leaves in a mini processor or chopper and blitz until it is a nice fine consistency.

Heat a large saucepan and add a little oil. Lightly fry the onion until just starting to soften and then add the lemongrass etc. Fry for a minute or two and then stir in the curry paste. Again, fry for a minute or two before pouring in the stock, coconut milk and coconut cream. Stir well to combine and allow to come up to a simmer. Once simmering add the fish sauce lime juice and sugar, stir and have a taste. Adjust any seasoning, you should have the perfect balance of sweet, salty and sour. Continue to simmer on a low heat.

Drain the bean shoots and toss through the coriander leaves. Prepare the noodles according to packet instructions. When the noodles are just about sone, add the chicken and beans to the laksa sauce and stir. Simmer for about 5 minutes until the chicken is just cooked and the beans are tender. Stir through the coriander just before serving.

To serve the Quick Chicken laksa, drain the noodles and divide between four large serving bowls. Ladle over the laksa, dividing the chicken and beans evenly and then place a generous handful of the bean sprouts and coriander in a pile on top. Scatter over the toasted coconut flakes and chilli slices and serve with wedges of lime.

Leftover bean sprouts? You may like to cook this