One of the most wonderful things about having your own vegie garden is going out to pick things for dinner. Sometimes it’s only fifteen minutes from the garden to plate – there is nothing fresher and I can’t help but think of how dynamic this food is – it’s so alive.
The other things is inventiveness. There are two ways to cook – you can read a recipe, and, in faithfully following it, make a trip to the supermarket to find what you need. Or, you have a vague idea in your head, and in visiting the garden and seeing what is there, bring a recipe together to make something truly divine. It’s fast, fantastic and fresh.
This kind of morphing or fusing of ingredients is typical of Asian food. Travel through Malaysia and you will find all sorts of variations on laksa – an asian curry famous throughout the world. I confess I don’t always make it from scratch, but do jazz it up with some fresh spices.
Be inventive with the food you use – just because it’s not in the recipe book, doesn’t mean it doesn’t work.
HomeGrown Spring Laksa
1 jar of laksa paste (or make your own quantity)
1 tbsp of nam pla (fish sauce)
1 tbsp coriander seeds, crushed
1/2 can coconut milk
A handful per person of a combination of garden vegetables – think spring onions, shallots, red cabbage, snow peas, bean shoots, mint, vietnamese mint, lettuce, mushrooms, peas, a big bunch of coriander.
A lemon or lime
Tofu and/or prawns and/or chicken , a handful per person
Rice noodles or rice
Saute coriander seeds for 1 minute in vegetable oil or preferably coconut oil. Add the jar of coconut paste and a litre of boiling water. Add half a bunch of coriander and a squeeze of lemon/lime, as well as the fish sauce. Simmer for three minutes, then add coconut milk and reheat. Add the prawns, tofu and thinly sliced chicken until cooked. Then add the snow peas and cook for three minutes.
Just as you are about to serve, add half of the remaining vegetables, ensuring they are very finely sliced. You want a bit of crunch.
Place the noodles into the bowl. Spoon laksa into bowls. Sprinkle with remaining vegetables, coriander and mint. Garnish with a few pieces of lettuce, a lemon and mint.