Clean chicken laksa – clean, gluten free, dairy free and refined sugar free.
Anyone that knows me, knows I’m crazy for laksa and will travel far and wide for a decent one. However, finding a clean laksa has proven to be a challenge. So much so that I have come up with my own clean, healthy version that tastes delicious! It doesn’t take long to make either. It’s just a matter of prepping your ingredients and away you go.
Step into any Thai restaurant and youll find laksa on the menu. So imagine my surprise when I couldn’t t find a laksa for miles when I visited Thailand back in 2011. The reason for this is because laksa is local to Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and and only Southern Thailand.
Did you know?
Laksa is essentially a marriage of Malaysian and Chinese ingredients influenced by traders to the South East Asian region which greatly influenced its culture and cuisine. The descendants of the Chinese traders were called the Peranakans, and the tradition of laksa was born out of the Peranakan desire to marry Chinese food with existing Southeast Asian flavors like coconut milk, and those brought over by South Asian traders, like chillies. The influence of culture, especially in Malaysia saw marriages of Chinese traders to local women in Malacca in the early 19th century.
The word “laksa” originates from the Sanskrit word for one hundred thousand and refers to the large variety of ingredients used to make the dish. It’s no surprise then that laksa is an incredibly popular dish, due to its adaptability and therefore no two laksas are the same. It was laksa’s adaptability that was able to serve as a bridge between cultures when traders and locals began intermarrying.
Brimming with coconut milk, chillies, garlic, ginger and free range chicken (plus lots of other yummy ingredients), my clean chicken laksa leaves a light spicy hum on your tongue.
Some points to note when making this laksa
I’ve used clean fish sauce from my local health food shop made with just 2 ingredients. A little more pricey than regular fish sauce but it lasts a long time. The fish sauce I use is by Red boat.
Peanut butter is also used in this dish and I’ve used one that has only peanuts as the ingredient. If you’re using peanut butter with salt then this will add a little more saltiness to the dish.
I’ve also used belacan (or belachan) which is a dried shrimp paste made from prawns that are ground into a paste with salt, fermented over time, dried and then packaged into blocks. You can find this in Asian supermarkets or in the Asian cooking section of most regular supermarkets. It gives a richness and depth of flavour to the dish. Try to use belacan that only contains these 2 ingredients (prawns and salt) if you want your dish to be as clean as possible. If you can’t find belacan, then use normal shrimp paste in a jar. Otherwise you can substitute with (extra) fish sauce in the dish. The general rule is 1/2 teaspoon shrimp paste = 1 tablespoon fish sauce. However, start off with a small amount of fish sauce and adjust/add as you go along as it has a strong flavour and it’s better to not have enough than to have gone overboard. If you want to avoid too much of fish sauce taste, then add a little Himalayan salt to increase flavour.
Using bean sprouts
You may think topping your laksa with bean sprouts is useful for nothing more than decoration, however experts estimate that there can be up to 100 times more enzymes in sprouts than uncooked fruits and vegetables. Enzymes are essential for healthy digestion as they help break down cooked food, thereby increasing nutrient absorbtion. Remember, your immunity starts in your gut.
I dedicate today’s dish to a dear friend whom I used to share a laksa or two with. This one’s for you.
Love, Tash x
Here’s an overview on what to do
Why this is so good for you
Coconut milk/oil helps boost metabolism and aids in weight loss, helps boost endurance, detoxes the body, protects the heart, prevents and heals candida, helps improve the digestive system and prevents irritable bowl syndrome, strengthens the immune system, kills the viruses that causes influenza, hepatitis and measles, helps stop tooth decay, helps prevent liver disease, helps dissolve kidney stones, prevents and treats diabetes, kills the bacteria that causes throat infections, heals damaged tissues and infections; topically it helps eliminate the fungi and yeast that cause athletes foot, ringworm, thrush and nappy rash, prevents wrinkles and sagging skin and nourishes and strengthens hair.
Free range chicken is hormone free, chemical free, antibiotic free, higher in Omega 3 than regular chicken, and richer in taste. Great for muscle growth and development, keeps bones strong, boosts the immune system, lowers the risk of developing arthritis, helps soothe PMS systems, helps to regulate testosterone levels in men, and reduces risk of heart attack.
Garlic has anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal and antioxidant properties, supports the circulatory, digestive and immune systems, helps lower blood pressure, assists in detoxification, prevents formation of blood clots, reduces blood pressure, helps with asthma, regulates blood sugar levels in diabetics and lowers the risk of most types of cancer.
Onions strengthen the immune system, help regulate blood sugar, reduce inflammation, help prevent cancer and reduce the risk of gastric ulcers.
Chillies fight sinus congestion, aid digestion, help relieve migraines, muscle, joint and nerve pain, control blood pressure and aid in metabolism for weight loss.
Lemongrass relieves stomach disorders, helps reduce insomnia, helps relieve respiratory disorders, relieves fevers, aches and infections, treats type 2 diabetes, protects the nervous system, detoxifies the body, helps eliminate accrued fats, helps prevent cancer and helps provide relief from nasal blockages, flu and bronchitis.
Ginger inhibits inflammation, helps relieve pain, relieves nausea, boosts immunity, reduces risk of heart attack, helps prevent and treat fatty liver disease and helps relieve gastrointestinal irritation.
Turmeric helps prevent cancer, (especially in the digestive system) can reduce the growth of cancerous cells (especially prostate cancer when combined with cauliflower), lowers the risk of heart disease, heart attacks and stroke, prevents and treats Alzheimer’s disease, relieves rheumatoid arthritis, helps treat depression, helps delay ageing, is anti-inflammatory, helps reduce the severity of colds and flu, reduces symptoms of indigestion (bloating and gas), assists in weight loss, controls diabetes, reduces bad cholesterol levels, increases immune strength, heals wounds, helps treat psoriasis and other inflammatory skin conditions, detoxifies the liver and is a natural pain killer.
Coconut sugar is a natural, unrefined sweetener that’s not addictive like refined white sugar. It aids in digestive health and is low GI so it won’t spike your blood sugar levels and make you feel lethargic later on.
Limes improve digestion, relieve constipation, cure scurvy, help combat diabetes, lower blood pressure, prevent heart attack, heart disease and strokes, help heal peptic and oral ulcers, help relieve arthritis; and help cure prostate and colon cancer.
Coriander promotes liver function and bowel movement, lowers blood sugar levels, helps treat Alzheimer’s disease, helps protect the body from lung and cavity cancers, helps relieve arthritis, cures mouth ulcers, stimulates memory, helps remove heavy metals from the body and helps cure anemia.
Bean sprouts improve digestion, help prevent anemia, boost metabolism, reduce blood pressure, prevent neural tube defects in newborns, protect against cancer, boost skin health, improve vision and strengthen immunity.
Brown rice helps prevent diabetes, helps prevent coronary heart disease, helps prevent Alzheimer’s Disease, helps prevent constipation and colitis,helps prevent colon cancer, breast cancer and leukemia, helps prevent anxiety and depression and helps prevent insomnia.
- 1 red onion, quartered
- 2 fresh long, large red chillis (remove seeds if you don't want any heat)
- 2 lemon grass stalks, white part only
- 3 cloves garlic
- 3 cm piece ginger
- 6 cashew nuts
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 2 tablespoon coconut oil
- 2 teaspoons belacan (dried shrimp paste)
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 500 - 600 grams free range chicken breast
- 1 tablespoon peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
- 400 ml can organic (BPA free) coconut milk
- 3 cups gluten free chicken stock (free range or organic)
- 1 handful snow peas
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- Packet of brown rice noodles (or noodles of choice like zucchini noodles)
- Sliced spring onions
- Bean sprouts
- Fresh chopped coriander
- Sliced chillies
- Place all paste ingredients in a food processor and blitz into a paste.
- Heat oil in a large saucepan on medium heat and fry paste until aromatic - about 2 minutes
- Increase heat, add chicken and cook for 5 minutes then add the snow peas and cook a further minute.
- (Meanwhile, cover brown rice noodles in a bowl of hot water and soak until soft. Set aside until ready to plate).
- Add stock, peanut butter and sugar to the chicken mixture and cook for a few minutes.
- Add coconut milk, lime juice and fish sauce and heat through.
- Divide noodles between serving bowls and top with bean sprouts, coriander, spring onions and fresh sliced chillies.