Borrowing from tom yum, this fragrant tomato-based soup is refreshing with enough heat, flavour and crunch, without the heaviness of a coconut milk base.
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 stalks lemongrass, white part only, bruised
5cm piece of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tbsp laksa paste
¼ cup plus 1 tbsp Asian chilli jam
400g can crushed tomatoes
1 litre vegetable or chicken stock
1½ tbsp fish sauce (or to taste)
juice and zest of 1 lime
250g flat rice noodles
16 green prawns, peeled, tails intact
Asian herbs, bean sprouts, sliced red chilli, fresh lime
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over high heat. Add the lemongrass, ginger and garlic and cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes or until fragrant. Add the laksa paste and cook until it starts to separate then add the chilli jam, tomatoes and stock. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 20 minutes. Add the fish sauce and lime juice to taste.
While the laksa is cooking, place a nonstick frying pan over high heat. Add the prawns and cook for 2 minutes, turning often or until just browning. Quickly add the extra tablespoon of chilli jam and cook for another 20 seconds until prawns darken and char slightly. Cook the noodles according to packet instructions, strain and divide among serving bowls.
Discard the lemongrass stalks from the laksa broth. Place four cooked prawns in each serving bowl and pour over enough soup to cover. Serve piping hot with additional toppings of your choice.