Live life on the veg with Prue & Peta Leith! Fragrant laksa with tofu puffs

These exclusive recipes from Prue Leith and her chef niece Peta’s new book are totally meat-free – and so delicious they’ll satisfy the most committed carnivores.

This delicious laksa is a fragrant Malaysian noodle soup which is fresh and flavoursome with a gentle heat

This delicious laksa is a fragrant Malaysian noodle soup which is fresh and flavoursome with a gentle heat

This delicious laksa is a fragrant Malaysian noodle soup which is fresh and flavoursome with a gentle heat

Laksa is a fragrant Malaysian noodle soup – fresh and flavoursome with a gentle heat. 

My husband proposed to me while on holiday in Malaysia, so I definitely look back at all the food we ate on that holiday with rose-tinted glasses! 

You can vary the vegetables in this recipe – baby corn and tenderstem broccoli both work brilliantly. Sold in vacuum-packed bags, tofu puffs are deep-fried tofu pieces with the texture of sponge. 

They are very different to firm or silken tofu, so don’t be tempted to substitute for either. If you can’t find the puffs, omit them and add another vegetable in their place.

Serves 2

  • ½ a red chilli
  • 1 green chilli
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 shallots, roughly chopped
  • 2.5cm piece of galangal (from most large supermarkets), peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 lemongrass stem, trimmed
  • 2tbsp vegetable oil, plus extra
  • 200ml (7fl oz) full-fat coconut milk
  • 400ml (14fl oz) vegetable stock
  • 1 kaffir lime leaf
  • ½tsp each of hot curry powder and ground turmeric
  • A generous pinch each of salt and caster sugar
  • 100g (3½oz) dried rice noodles
  • 60g (2¼oz) green beans, chopped
  • 1 pak choi, sliced
  • 60g (2¼oz) beansprouts
  • 40g (1½oz) tofu puffs (from large supermarkets or Asian stores), halved
  • 1 lime, halved
  • A handful of chopped coriander


Put the chillies, garlic, shallots, galangal and lemongrass in a small food processor or spice grinder and blitz until smooth.

Heat the vegetable oil in a wok over a low heat, then fry the paste, stirring constantly, for 15 minutes. Watch carefully to ensure it doesn’t burn – it should just become very aromatic.

Add the coconut milk, half the vegetable stock, lime leaf, curry powder, turmeric, salt and sugar. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer very gently for 10 minutes. 

Add the remaining vegetable stock, return it to the boil, then take off the heat. Pick out the lime leaf and discard it.

Cook the rice noodles according to the packet instructions, then coat in a little vegetable oil to stop them from sticking and divide between two soup bowls.

Bring a large pan of water to the boil and blanch the green beans until just tender. Lift them out with a slotted spoon and divide between the two bowls. 

Into the same water, add the pak choi and blanch it for a couple of minutes, before removing with a slotted spoon and dividing it between the bowls.

Add the beansprouts to the water for 1-2 minutes, then drain them and divide between the bowls. Return the broth to the boil, then add the tofu puffs and keep the wok on the heat for a moment to allow them to warm through. 

Ladle the broth over the noodles and vegetables in the bowls, dividing the tofu pieces evenly between them. 

Garnish each bowl with half a lime and a scattering of chopped coriander, and then serve. 

Extracted from The Vegetarian Kitchen by Prue Leith & Peta Leith, published by Bluebird on 20 February, £25