laksa with soba noodles, coconut milk, and white fish

Well, here we are folks.  2013.  It’s resolution time, people.  Be resolved.

This year, I resolve to not freak out about turning 30.  Let’s not talk about how “shit, I turn 30 this year” was pretty much the first thing out of my mouth around 12:02 am.

Let’s also not talk about how I talked to my best friend Lindsay, in Amsterdam, on my lunch break today (Dear iPhone, I love you, thanks for everything you do.  Alex) and the first words out of my mouth were, “Hey Linds, we’re turning 30 this year.”  Needless to say, she appreciated the reminder.    

I’ve been reading Jeannette Winterson’s new memoir, Why be Happy When You Could be Normal?, recently. The line I have loved most so far is a description of life as being not all or nothing but all AND nothing.  This sums up my feeling on turning 30 this year.  All AND nothing.

2013.  Be resolved.

Right.

In addition to turning 30 this year, I’m also planning to loose 5 pounds (duh), make a dear friend’s wedding cake, cook for another dear friend’s wedding, write a lot of grants, finally update my prescription and get new glasses, fix my car’s cracked windshield, trust more, take down a few walls, love better, and be better.

All AND nothing.

And while I’m working on all that, let’s talk about soup.  Laksa, specifically.  Wintery. Healthy.  And with enough zing to kick your butt into action.  A very New Years appropriate meal, indeed.

This is a reworking of a recipe I posted a while back on Simmer, with buckwheat soba noodles instead of wheat noodles and some tilapia fillets thrown in at the end.  The result is a rich coconut broth flavored with homemade green chili paste and loaded with winter vegetables and fish.  Filling but not heavy.  Comforting but bright.  Exactly the kind of meal I’m craving these days and I hope you are too.

Happy 2013!

One Year Ago: Gingerbread & Hard Sauce Glaze & Shaved Brussel Sprout, Tuscan Kale, and Pecorino Salad 

Two Years Ago: Spelt and Jam Scones

Laksa with Soba Noodles, Coconut Milk, and White Fish 

  • 10oz peeled and cubed butternut squash (one small squash; feel free to substitute another type of winter squash such as acorn, kuri, or kabocha; sweet potatoes would also work well.)
  • 1 medium pasilla or poblano pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
  • 2 small cloves of garlic, peeled
  • a one inch square piece of ginger, peeled
  • 1 handful fresh cilantro (about 1/2 a bunch)
  • ½ tsp grated lemon zest
  • ½ tsp grated lime zest
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 12oz can coconut milk
  • 2 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 2 tbsp Thai fish sauce or to taste
  • The juice of half a lemon
  • 1 lb firm fleshed white fish, cut into bite sized pieces (I used tilapia – red snapper, halibut, or bass would all work well)
  • 2 large handfuls fresh spinach, roughly chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • ½ lb soba noodles, cooked and drained

Begin by steaming the squash – place in a medium sauce pan with 2-3 inches of water. Cover and steam until tender, about 10-15 minutes.  Set aside.  

Meanwhile, combine the pepper, garlic, ginger, cilantro, lemon zest, and lime zest in the bowl of a food processor.  Process until finely chopped, then drizzle in the olive oil to make a paste.

Transfer the paste to a medium sauce pan and set over medium heat – saute until fragrant, 2-3 minutes then add the stock, coconut milk, tomatoes, fish sauce, and lemon juice.  Bring to a simmer and then reduce the heat to low.  Simmer 10 minutes until the tomatoes are beginning to break down.  At this point, add the steamed squash, mashing some into the broth and leaving some in pieces.  Bring the laksa back to a gentle simmer and add the fish and spinach.  Cover and cook 2 minutes just until the fish is cooked through and the spinach is wilted but still green.  Taste for seasoning, adding a little more salt as needed.

Divide the noodles between 4 soup bowls and ladle over the laksa.

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