Sunday, 17 November 2013

Child friendly Prawn Laksa

Laksa isn't an obvious choice for a preschooler but why not?  Most kids I know are fans of prawns and noodles.

I've toned this all down a bit to make it friendly for kids who aren't big fans of spice.  Although my son does have more spice in his food than he sometimes realises, last time his Dad cooked him a curry, he was less then keen and apparently ended up eating fish fingers so I went gentle (but noticeable) on the spicing here.

He looked at it.  Said "I don't think I like that"
I said "Have you tried a prawn?"
He said "Ooh, no"
Has a couple of bites, then starts eating the mushrooms and noodles.  I'm trying to photograph my portion while my stomach is rumbling because it smells pretty good (I'm not one of those food bloggers who cooks to photograph, I cook to eat.)
"Mummy this is yummy"
And indeed it was :-)
A touch too mild for me but there was spice there and a real depth of flavour.  You can do as I did and slice up a little raw red chilli to put on top for a bit of zing.  It's great to be able to make a dish that you can adapt for everyone in the family without feeling you're having a huge turkey twizzler compromise or reaching for the pack of emergency fish fingers...

Don't be scared by the long list of ingredients, this is a piece of cake.

Laksa - Serves 1 adult and 1 child

50g, scant 2oz Onion, chopped (half an onion)
2 Garlic cloves, chopped
1 heaped tsp smooth peanut butter
2 slices of green chilli, seeds removed (approx 1/4 of a chilli, use more if liked)
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp chopped ginger (see 'make it thrifty' below)
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp water

For the Laksa
1 tsp vegetable oil
150g, 5oz raw prawns (see 'make it thrifty' below)
100g, 3.5oz mushrooms
Half of a tin, approx 200ml, 7 fl oz canned coconut milk
1/2 tsp cornflour (cornstarch)
1 tbsp fish sauce
Juice of half a lime
1 tbsp fresh coriander (cilantro) plus more to serve
150g, 5oz straight to wok rice noodles (see 'make it thrifty' below)
Additional lime and chilli to serve if liked.


Chop the onion and garlic and put into a jug or small blender with the remaining paste ingredients.  Blend until smooth (I use a stick blender and a jug which I find which is the best way to make a spice paste as in a large blender, you often find bits get stuck).  You can make this earlier in the day and leave it covered in the fridge if you like.

When ready to cook, devein the prawns if liked (I prefer to if I have time) and quarter the mushrooms (or halve if small).

Heat a tsp of oil in a wok, add the paste and heat through.  Add the coconut milk (make sure if you're using half a can you use half of the thick stuff and half of the thin) and another tbsp fish sauce and bring to the boil.  Add the mushrooms and cook for 2 minutes.  Add the prawns, after a minute add the cornflour (cornstarch) mixed with a little water before adding.  Bring to a bubble and put in the noodles.

Heat through then add the lime juice and chopped coriander (cilantro) then serve sprinkling with extra coriander (cilantro) leaf, lime and sliced red chilli if liked.

Make it Thrifty:

I buy frozen ginger as it means it doesn't go off.  It's not that different in price to fresh ginger and it's frozen in portions of about a tbsp.  For this, just allow it to defrost before making the paste.  I also buy raw prawns frozen.  The great thing about buying them frozen is you can be sure of the freshness and again you're not going to have the waste.  Or you could make it with vegetables instead.

In general I'm not a fan of the straight to wok noodles (sorry manufacturers), I find them too soft.  The only reason I used them here was because I couldn't get any dried rice noodles but you can make it far cheaper by using dried noodles and cooking as per pack instructions.


  1. lovely idea. I think the flavours are wonderful. Will have to try out. I am thinking maybe coconut milk in the soup too?

  2. Love laksa! But we go for the spicy version. I have to hold myself back from having coconut milk too often though! Cheers

    1. I'm not 100% convinced about the nutritional arguments around fat. Too much of anything is bad for you but lots of higher fat foods contain useful nutritional bits and bobs like vitamins, trace minerals or omega 3. Much better than refined carbs in my opinion yet so much official government advice still advocates loads of carbohydrate and doesn't differentiate between whole grain and refined. Also advice tells you to limit fats but doesn't suggest hydrogenated fats in a hydrogenated margarine are worse than olive oil, fats naturally present in oily fish or coconut.

      So personally I'd still crack on but I'm no dietitian!

  3. This looks amazing, I'll definitely be giving it a go because laksa is one of my all time favourite dishes EVER!! Thank you :o) PS. totally agree with your comment above re: fat, better to cut back on refined carbs instead...

    1. Yes I agree! I do eat refined carbs now and again but much less than would be officially recommended. They're not an automatic part of a meal to me. I'd rather have lentils as my carb element to a meal.


I would love to read your comments but please don't include links in them.