Coconut & Butternut Noodle Broth

Coconut & Butternut Noodle Broth

By Jen Inglis

This fragrant, rich and spicy recipe is inspired by Laksa dishes from South East Asia. 
After the last few days of wind, sleet and flooding has everyone else been considering hibernation too? It's been tough to work up the motivation to leave the house even for dog walks. I fought against the wind and mud to get round a loop of North Berwick Law and was inspired by the resilient wee Exmoor ponies at home there that are entirely unbothered by the elements. It didn't stop me changing into PJ's as soon as we got home but it did get me wanting to share a recipe that's nourishing and fortifying if you are still bravely heading out on daily exercise expeditions!
This fragrant, rich and spicy recipe is inspired by Laksa dishes from South East Asia. I've kept the spice levels very low again but if you prefer spicy feel free to double the chilli. I've also substituted the dried shrimp that's traditional to keep it vegan, and used (still in season) brussel sprouts which were recommended to me as a great addition to this coconutty soup. It's very sad that most people still see sprouts as an unwelcome addition on the side of a Christmas dinner, and I'm so glad I took the advice on this as once these little grilled greens have soaked up a bit of the broth they are absolutely incredible. The toppings and veg can be varied to whatever you like but please do give the tofu a shot if you aren't usually a fan. I find lots of tofu marinade recipes don't seem to permeate it however long you leave them, but as soon as you pan fry before adding to the marinade I guarantee your tofu will carry the flavours perfectly.



For the paste

2 chillies or more if you prefer spicy

75g ginger, peeled grated

4 cloves garlic, peeled

2 shallots

1 tsp nutritional yeast

1 tsp seaweed granules 

1 tbsp ground coriander

1 tbsp ground cumin

1 tsp smoked paprika

10g grated turmeric

1tbsp raw cashews

5g lime leaves

4 stalks lemongrass with very outer leaves removed and chopped

Veg prep

1 block firm tofu (sliced and fried till golden brown on each side. Mix 1 tbsp sriracha with 1 tbsp of soy sauce and add to frying pan. Continue to sizzle and flip tofu slices for another minute till well coated. Be careful it'll spit!)

 200g Brussel sprouts peeled and cut in half. (I cooked in a griddle pan to get a nice char colour but a frying pan for a few minutes each side works too. Just make sure they're not too soft and toss in 1 tsp sesame oil and 1 tsp soy sauce after cooking)
¼ cucumber, deseeded and finely shredded
1x Butternut squash (peeled, sliced and rubbed with mix of 2Tbsp Olive Oil, 1 tbsp brown sugar, juice and zest of 1 lime, 1 tsp salt  then roasted at 180 degrees for 20 mins)

For the broth

2 tbsp rapeseed oil

1.4 litre stock

2 lemongrass stalks, outer leaves removed and lightly crushed

400ml can coconut milk

Juice of 1 lime to finish

2 tsp sugar plus more to taste

2 tsp salt plus more to taste

200g dried rice noodles or vermicelli


Toppings to serve

Spring onions finely sliced

Fresh chilli finely sliced

Lime wedges

Fresh mint and coriander

Crispy onions



Measuring spoons

Chef's knife

Chopping board

Veg peeler


Blender or food processor

Oven tray

Deep pan

Frying pan

Grill pan (optional)


Wooden spoons


Tin opener


Coarsely blend all paste ingredients. You'll end up with more paste than you need but it freezes really well so plenty for later!

Heat up 2 tbsp of oil in a heavy bottomed pot. Add 3/4 tbsp curry paste and stirring well fry it off very slowly (on a low heat). Next, add in stock, 1 tsp salt and lemongrass. Cover and simmer gently for about 30 minutes. Pull out the lemongrass bits and discard. Then sieve broth to remove bits for a silky smooth finish and slowly stir in coconut milk. Heat gently for another 5 mins then taste and add more salt, lime juice and sugar to suit your taste.

Assemble toppings and add dry noodles to bowls. Ladle broth over till just covering then add veggies and top with fresh mint, coriander, chilli, crispy/spring onions and a wedge of lime.


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