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curry laksa anxiety depression plant based

Curry Laksa (Oil-Free)

Makes about 7 cups
Author: Molly Patrick
Servings 4


Laksa Paste

  • 2-3 dried red chilis, soaked (directions below) (Use 2 for mild to medium heat and 3 for medium to hot heat / you can substitute ½ teaspoon of dried red chili flakes if needed)
  • 1 tablespoon whole raw cashews, soaked (directions below) (5 g)
  • ½ tablespoon coriander powder
  • teaspoon sweet paprika powder
  • ¾ teaspoon cumin powder
  • ¾ teaspoon curry powder
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • cup shallots, roughly chopped (55 g)
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled and then smashed with the flat of your knife
  • 2 tablespoons ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • ½ tablespoon coconut sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon white or yellow miso
  • 1 teaspoon coconut aminos
  • 1 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon dulse flakes
  • teaspoon cayenne powder
  • teaspoon black pepper (about 5 turns)


  • cups canned full-fat coconut milk (see directions below) (650 ml) (you can substitute light coconut milk if needed)
  • cups fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced (115 g)
  • 2 cups zucchini, unpeeled and chopped (220 g)
  • ¼ cup green onions, thinly sliced, root ends discarded (25 g)
  • 1 cup kale, finely chopped (30 g)
  • 3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth (705 ml)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • teaspoon cayenne powder (omit for a less spicy curry)

Everything Else

  • 1 8 oz package udon noodles (227 g)
  • mint leaves, chopped, for garnish
  • sesame seeds, for garnish (you can toast these for an extra flavor punch if you want)
  • crushed red chili flakes, for garnish
  • lime wedges, for garnish


Make the Laksa Paste first

  • Remove and discard the chili pepper stems, then cut a slit along the side of each chili and shake out and discard the seeds. If you love spicy, feel free to leave a few seeds in. Place the chili peppers (or chili flakes if using) and cashews in a small heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water. Allow to sit for 20 minutes, while you continue with the recipe.
  • In a small bowl, stir together the coriander, paprika, cumin, curry, and turmeric and set aside. Heat a small skillet over low heat for 2 minutes. Place the spice mix in the skillet and cook for 1 minute, while stirring, until wonderfully fragrant. Transfer the spice mixture to your food processor and set aside for now.
  • When the chilis and cashews are done soaking, drain into a fine mesh strainer (discard soaking water) and transfer to your food processor, along with the rest of the Laksa Paste ingredients. Process until well blended and the mixture forms a paste, stopping to scrape down the sides of your bowl as necessary. You’ll want to blend really well until only the tiniest specks of chilis can be seen. If you have a larger-sized processor, you may need to scrape down the sides more often and push the mixture closer to the blade. Transfer to a small dish and set aside for now and continue with the Curry.

Now, make the Curry

  • Prep and measure out all the Curry ingredients before you start. For easy measuring, transfer the coconut milk from the can into a bowl and whisk to make sure it’s smooth before measuring.
  • Heat a large soup pot over medium-low heat for 2 minutes. Add the Laksa Paste and cook, while stirring, for 3 minutes, until the Paste begins to smell heavenly.
  • Add the mushrooms, zucchini, green onion, and kale and stir to coat with the Laksa Paste. Stir in the coconut milk, veggie broth, salt, and cayenne (if using). Increase heat to medium and bring to a gentle simmer. Cover the pot with a lid at an angle and simmer for 10 minutes, until the mushrooms are tender. Lower heat, if necessary, to keep from boiling.

Bring it all together

  • Cook your noodles according to the package directions. When they’re cooked, transfer to a strainer and give them a quick rinse with warm water. Strain out the excess water by tapping the strainer against the sink, then set aside.
  • Place a generous amount of cooked Udon noodles into your bowl and then ladle some Curry Laksa on top. Top with mint, sesame seeds, and chili flakes (if using), and serve with a lime wedge on the side. Squeeze fresh lime juice on top just before eating and savor the ambrosia flavors of the Dirty Girl version of this well-loved Malaysian Soup.