Brenda’s Chicken Laksa
If you were at the Winter Harvest Festival this year, you may have been lucky enough to see Brenda Fawdon create this incredibly aromatic recipe live on stage. The smell was intoxicating. Here’s Brenda’s recipe so you can try it for yourself at home.
Poached chicken breast
2 chicken breasts, skin removed (I use Ayton Farm chicken)
2 lemongrass sticks, green tops only
1 x 5 cm knob of ginger, unpeeled and roughly chopped
2 or 3 coriander stalks (roots only)
½ Spanish onion, roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 x 5 cm knob of turmeric, skin removed and roughly chopped
1 x 5 cm knob of ginger, skin removed and roughly chopped
½ bunch coriander, roots and stalks (keep the leaves for serving)
2 sticks lemongrass, white part only, roughly chopped
2 limes, zest only
2 teaspoons palm or rapadura sugar
2 long red chillies, seeds removed and roughly chopped
2 tablespoons fish sauce
3 tablespoons coconut oil
1 packet (200 grams) brown rice noodles (I use Nutritionist Choice brand) or use traditional thick rice noodles
1 tin (400 ml) organic coconut milk (I use Nakula brand)
2 carrots, thinly sliced diagonally – use a mandolin if you have one
2 celery sticks, thinly sliced diagonally – same as above
4 baby bok choy, quartered
¼ wombok cabbage, thinly sliced
juice from zested limes
¼ bunch Vietnamese mint
1 long red chilli, seeds removed and thinly sliced diagonally
To make the poached chicken breast, place 2 large chicken breasts in a 28 cm heavy-based skillet or frying pan. Cover the chicken with 1 litre of cold water. Add the remaining poaching ingredients. Place the lid on the skillet and bring the water to the boil over a medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the scum from time to time with a large spoon. Remove the skillet from the heat and leave the lid on; however, leave the lid ajar so some of the steam can escape. After another 10 minutes, remove the chicken breasts to cool. Strain the stock. Shred the chicken when it is cool and keep refrigerated until required.
To make the laksa paste, place all ingredients in a food processor and process to a paste.
To make the laksa, prepare the noodles as instructed on the packet. Place a large heavy-based pot over a medium heat. Add the laksa paste and fry until the oil separates, about 2–3 minutes. Add the strained chicken stock and coconut milk, and over a medium heat gently bring the stock to a boil. Add the vegetables and cook for a further 4 minutes. Add the shredded chicken and heat for a further 2 minutes. Place the noodles evenly in the base of serving bowls, ladle laksa over the top and garnish with lime juice, Vietnamese leaves, coriander leaves and thin slices of red chilli.