Zingy zucchini and butternut squash laksa
Monday the 23rd of March heralds the start of the first ever Meat Free Week in the UK. This initiative was launched a few years ago in Australia by a team of ethically-minded individuals who wanted to draw attention to the huge amounts of meat eaten in some countries (as a nation, Britain consumes more than double the world average) and the impact this has on human health, animal welfare and sustainability. What great motivation to try out new and exciting meat-free dishes, such as this laksa!
Ingredients for the herb bomb
2 – 4 red chillies, membranes and seeds discarded if you prefer it milder
2 large garlic cloves
3 echalion (banana) shallots, roughly chopped
1 large knob of galangal, peeled and finely grated
one 8cm (or 3 inch) piece of fresh turmeric root, cleaned and chopped (or 2 teaspoons ground turmeric)
large bunch (about 100g) of coriander (cilantro), washed and roughly chopped
3 – 4 kaffir lime leaves, shredded
juice of 1 lime (about 30ml or 2 tablespoons), zest reserved for serving
Ingredients for the broth
400ml (1 can) full-fat organic coconut milk
800ml organic vegetable stock
pinch of kelp
1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into medium cubes
1 red chilli, thinly sliced (or halved and deseeded if you prefer it milder)
large handful of toasted cashew nuts
- Either toss the butternut squash cubes in some coconut oil and salt before roasting in a hot oven for 30 to 45 minutes (depending on their size), until caramelised and tender. Or heat some coconut oil in a saucepan and brown the butternut on all sides before adding some water and “steaming” with the lid on until tender.
- While the squash is cooking, put the ingredients for the herb bomb and some of the coconut milk for the broth in a blender, and blend until everything is finely chopped. Set aside.
- Gently heat the rest of the coconut milk and the stock with a pinch of kelp and a very large pinch of sea salt. Once hot, give it a whisk, then add the zucchini noodles and allow to heat through, to soften.
- Next, stir through the herb mixture. All of it if you dare, or most of it, reserving some to add to the next batch of salad dressing you make.
- Divide the noodles between 4 bowls, top with cooked butternut squash and ladle over the hot broth. Finally scatter over the chilli slices, nuts and lime zest.