green tofu laksa

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I have a neat white scar on my left forefinger; thin and twisting across my pink skin. I got this scar the Saturday before Christmas Day, in 2012. I was carving into a sheet of lino to make a print for Valentines cards and I ended up slipping; slicing into my finger with a single motion. Every time I look at it I feel the dusty air and the harsh, artificial light of the emergency room I waited in that night for stitches – with my finger wrapped up tight and my arm stationed above my head. It was horrible. Whenever I look at that scar I’m reminded of the importance of care, control and the consequences of negligence.

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In a sense, I took an important truth from cutting my finger open with a lino-print tool. It would have been better to learn the lesson with the absence of the loss of blood that was involved but nevertheless, a lesson was learnt. I became aware of the need to just slow down a little sometimes, coming to truly appreciate the simple human need for care and precision. 

It’s been a while since lino and I have crossed paths, for obvious reasons, but the lesson I learnt from that chilly night in A+E stays with me to this day. Whenever I’m stressed, angry or frustrated – with myself especially – I remind myself to take a step back from the situation and just slow down.

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Making curry paste from scratch may seem like a waste of time. Store-bought jars are so accessible, easy and… quick. But making a recipe from scratch is, albeit slower, so therapeutic and though 5 extra minutes of your time has been spent on making dinner, the final dish seems to taste better. Yes, of course, fresher and lighter. But also full of love and care. Take a step back, take a deep breath, take a moment of your time to create something beautiful – be it this green tofu laksa, a photograph, a painting, a piece of writing, a friendship – for once, without rushing. 

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LAKSA PASTE

  • 2 lemongrass stalks
  • 2 green chilli peppers, seeds removed
  • 3 tbsp minced fresh ginger 
  • 2 garlic cloves 
  • A large handful fresh coriander leaves
  • 1 tsp maple syrup 
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric 
  • Juice of 1 lime 

Process the lemongrass, chilli peppers, ginger, garlic, coriander, maple syrup, turmeric and lime juice in a food processor until a thick paste forms. Paste can be stored in the fridge for 1 week and freezer up to 6 months.

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GREEN TOFU LAKSA CURRY (serves 2)

  • 85g thin rice noodles 
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tbsp laksa paste (extra paste can be stored in the fridge for 1 week and freezer up to 6 months) 
  • 500ml vegetable broth
  • 150ml coconut milk (full fat or light both work well)
  • 45g mushrooms, finely sliced
  • 150g tofu, cut into cubes
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • To serve: coriander leaves, sesame seeds & 1 lime, cut into wedges 
  1. Make the laksa paste. 
  2. Cook the noodles according to the package directions and set aside.
  3. Pour the coconut oil into a medium saucepan, add the laksa paste, the broth and coconut milk. Simmer on a medium-high heat for 10 minutes.
  4. Add the mushrooms and tofu; cook for a further 3 minutes or until the tofu is warmed through.
  5. To serve, divide the cooked noodles into 2 bowls, pour over the laksa curry.
  6. Arrange the thinly sliced red pepper over the dish and garnish with coriander leaves, lime wedges and sesame seeds.

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