Bowls of goodness

Words & PHOTOGRAPHY: Nina Olsson

In this dish, a Malaysian laksa, lemongrass and coconut milk provides a fragrant tangy base for spicy tofu and veggies. Lemongrass has a mild citrus flavour that adds freshness to food, here offering a perfect balance to the mushrooms, egg and onions. The bouncy rice noodles give a neutral smooth finish. You can vary the steamed vegetables and swap the tofu for other proteins such as beans. As it’s both refreshing and comforting, it’s an ideal noodle bowl all year around.

Preheat the oven to its lowest setting.

To make the pickle, put the cucumber and red onion in a small bowl and drizzle with the rice vinegar. Set aside until ready to serve.

Put all the ingredients for the laksa paste into a blender and blitz to a paste.

Heat a frying pan over a medium-high heat and add a tablespoon of coconut oil. Fry the tofu for 2-3 minutes, stirring carefully, until crispy. Season with salt and chilli flakes and fry for a further minute. Transfer the tofu to a baking tray and put in the oven to keep warm.

Clean the frying pan, reheat over a medium-high heat and melt another tablespoon of coconut oil. Sauté the mushrooms for 3-4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer the mushrooms to a small bowl and keep warm in the oven.

Steam the broccoli and beans for 3-4 minutes, after 2 minutes of steaming add the beansprouts. Remove from the heat and set aside, covered.

Clean the frying pan, reheat over a medium-high heat and melt a third tablespoon of coconut oil. Fry the laksa paste for a minute, using a wooden spoon to break it up gently in the pan. Add the vegetable broth, lime juice and coconut milk, stirring, so that the paste dissolves into the liquid. Let it putter for 4-5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and keep warm.

Cook the rice noodles according to the instructions and drain. Divide the steamed veggies, mushrooms, tofu, egg halves and noodles between serving bowls and top with pickles. Pour laksa sauce over the noodles and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve straight away. Keep sriracha, sesame oil, lime wedges, fresh coriander and any extra laksa sauce on the table.

Serves 4.

Ingredients: 200g firm tofu - pressed and cut into small cubes, coconut oil, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon chilli flakes, 150g mushrooms - cleaned and sliced, small head of broccoli - florets only, 250g green beans, 200g fresh beansprouts, 750ml vegetable broth, juice of 1 lime, 400ml coconut milk, 250g rice noodles, 4 boiled eggs - cooked for 7 minutes peeled and halved, sesame seeds, salt and pepper.

Pickle: 1⁄2 cucumber - shaved into ribbons, 1 red onion - finely sliced, rice vinegar for sushi.

Laksa spice paste (rempah): 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh lemongrass, 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger, 3 garlic cloves - crushed, 2 tablespoons sambal oelek, 4 shallots - finely chopped, 1 tablespoon freshly grated turmeric, 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil, 3 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 tablespoons coconut sugar, 2 tablespoons vegetable oil.

To serve: sriracha, sesame oil, lime wedges, fresh coriander.

This recipe is gluten free - make it vegan by omitting the eggs.

Nina is an Amsterdam based, travel bug bitten creative and a passionately mindful eater - fusing healthy and cultural elements into her exciting bowls. She has gracefully shared this recipe from her wonderful new book Bowls Of Goodness with us.