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This beautiful laksa paste is a must-have for our Chicken laksa with Brown Rice Noodles recipe. Laksa is the name given to Southeast Asian noodle dish with a rich, flavorful, thick coconut soup base. If there is one thing to know about Southeast Asian cuisine, it’s that they don’t skimp on flavor. This tantalizing broth gets its brilliant red color from the laksa paste, a medley of bold spices, aromatics and flavorings. Laksa paste generally contains dried chilies, shallots, turmeric, lemongrass, tamarind, galangal and shrimp paste. Our version includes all of the aforementioned, as well as makrut lime leaves, cashews and tamari.
While you can purchase pre-made, jarred laksa paste and add a pat to your coconut broth, we strongly recommend trying our homemade laksa recipe instead. This is because prepackaged laksa paste can contain high amounts of sodium, MSG and preservatives. In contrast, our homemade paste contains nothing but wholesome, fresh, incredibly flavorful ingredients. Making the paste from scratch enables you to really control the flavors in your broth. For example, if you’re a lover of heat, bump the red chile count. If you prefer the paste a little more tangy, opt for a little more tamarind paste.
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1. Place chiles, shallot, garlic and lime leaves in a heat-proof bowl. Cover with boiling water; let stand 15 minutes, until chiles soften. Drain.
2. To a small, dry skillet on medium-low, add paprika, coriander and turmeric. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl to cool.
3. In a food processor, combine chile mixture, spice mixture, lemongrass, cashews, galangal, tamari, shrimp paste and tamarind; process until finely chopped. With machine running, drizzle in oil until a paste forms. Use right away, or refrigerate up to a week. Or freeze in an ice cube tray; transfer to a resealable bag and freeze up to 3 months.