Roasted Pumpkin Laksa

Adapted from recipe by Nigel Slater

from Tender, Vol. I

Makes 4 generous servings

350-400g (12-14 oz) pumpkin

olive oil

sesame oil

flaky sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

for laksa paste:

1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

3-4 small, hot, red chillies (remove seeds if you want to moderate heat)

1 shallot, peeled & roughly chopped

3x cloves garlic, peeled & roughly chopped

thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled & roughly chopped

2x stalks of lemongrass, outer leaves discarded & inner stalk roughly chopped

generous bunch of fresh coriander, stems & leaves, roughly chopped

2x kaffir lime leaves, central stem discarded & leaves roughly chopped

small handful of macadamia nuts

1 tablespoon sesame oil

sunflower oil

2 tablespoons red curry paste (I used Asian Home Gourmet brand)

for broth:

sunflower oil

sesame oil

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2-1/2 cups chicken stock

1x can coconut milk

1 tablespoon fish sauce

juice of 1x lime

to finish:

noodles of your choice

shredded bok choy

bean sprouts

fresh coriander, roughly chopped

fresh mint leaves

Preheat oven to 220 degrees C (390 degrees F).

Peel and de-seed pumpkin, and cut into bite-sized chunks.  Put pumpkin pieces into a small bowl.  Add a generous drizzle of olive oil, and a cautious drizzle of sesame oil, along with a generous pinch of flaky sea salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper.  Toss everything together until pumpkin is well coated with oil and seasonings.  Tip pumpkin out onto an oven tray lined with baking paper, and bake in the preheated oven until golden and just tender - this will probably take around 25 minutes.  Remove from oven and keep warm.

To make the laksa paste, begin by toasting the coriander and cumin seeds in a dry pan until fragrant and slightly coloured.  Remove from pan and add to blender or food processor, along with chillies, shallot, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, fresh coriander, lime leaves, macadamia nuts, and sesame oil.  Blitz until you have a rough paste.

Heat a generous slosh of sunflower oil (about a tablespoon) in a large, deep pan set over medium heat.  Add red curry paste to the pan, and cook, stirring constantly, for a few minutes until the paste is fragrant and "burnished" (but not burnt!!).  Remove paste from pan and set aside.

Return pan to the heat with another generous slosh of sunflower oil, and a slightly more restrained slosh of sesame oil.  Add ground coriander, turmeric and cumin to the pan and fry for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly.  Add the laksa paste to the pan, and cook for several more minutes, stirring constantly, until the paste is very fragrant and almost a little "jammy".  Stir in the red curry paste, chicken stock, coconut milk, fish sauce and lime juice.  Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer for several minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare noodles according to package instructions, and blanch the bok choy and bean sprouts.

To serve, add noodles to deep bowls.  Top with bok choy, bean sprouts and roasted pumpkin.  Pour over the hot broth, and finish with some fresh coriander and mint leaves.

Serve immediately.