Pumpkin laksa

Updated: Sep 17, 2019

quick and easy pumpkin laksa broth

I've been trying to do a weekly meal plan and that includes some prep for meals later in the week to save time. Pumpkin is one of those vegetables that does well with pre-cooking and storing in the fridge for later meals. My pumpkin laksa broth recipe below is just one way to use it. The laksa is tasty and quick to make in bulk and can then be mixed up to make seafood, chicken or vegetarian versions.

I love a broth - as well as being tasty, the goodness of the foods are kept in the liquid. It's surprisingly filling - hubby calls it a bowl full of goodness (I'm sure that's meant kindly). If you're not such a fan of a broth, reduce the amount of liquid and make more of a stir fry. Change the noodles for pasta and it's a pasta meal. This is a good way to use the same broth base to make a different meal in a few days time while saving on the prep time - seafood broth one night, chicken pasta another.

Meal planning - pre-prepare ingredients

Pre-cook the main veggies for the laksa - pumpkin and onion. Ideally do this when using the oven for something else

  • Cut some pumpkin into pieces - leave the skin on and seeds in at the raw stage as it's easier to deskin and deseed once cooked.

  • Cut onion(s) into half, leave the skins on to prevent from burning and cook skin side down.

Use leeks as well as or instead of onion. Adjust the cooking time if they're you're skinny homegrown leeks.

Roast these with a small amount of oil or water - 30 minutes or so depending on the size of your chunks.  Then keep these in the fridge as it is (skin and seeds in) until required.

pre-cook pumpkin and onions for the laksa broth

How much you need will depend on what you plan on doing with it and how many people you're cooking for. For the two of us for three meals I would do about 500g pumpkin and one onion.

Cooked onions are great to have in the fridge to add quick flavour to meals so cook extra if you know you'll be dicing them for a later meal eg pasta, soup, bolognese. Ok, most meals....

Pumpkin laksa base blurb

This pumpkin laksa base is quick to make once you've pre-cooked pumpkin and onion and have your broth and curry paste pre-made or pre-bought.

If you don't like spicy hot food don't be put off by the idea of a laksa - most of the jar sauces you buy aren't that spicy hot but are full of flavour. Use less rather than more if you're not sure. (Ok, ideally you would make your own laksa or curry paste from scratch anyway).

I've broken this recipe down into the base broth then options for seafood, chicken or vegetarian versions. The base broth can be kept in the fridge or frozen (see details on how under additional notes at the end) so it's a great way to save time by making a large batch then using it for more than one meal.


Ingredients - 2 serves

  • 150g pre-cooked pumpkin - de-skin and de-seed and cut into small cubes

  • 1/2 jar laksa sauce or 1TB red curry paste. How much will depend on what brand you use. I often use Valcom red curry paste - 1TB is ample

  • 1/4 - 1/2 precooked onion or 1 large leek. Dice finely

  • 300ml broth (fish, chicken or vegetarian depending on which version you're cooking). Home made is best. If you don't have liquid broth powdered in water is fine (use a lovely organic option) or use 1TB of my fresh stock paste

  • 70g noodles (eg udon or pad thai)

  • coconut milk - 25ml ie 1-2 TB or a couple of defrosted frozen ice cubes worth

  • coriander and bean sprouts or similiar eg parsley, celery leaf

  • protein - seafood, chicken, dumplings and/or eggs - see the ingredients in the protein versions of this recipe below

Make pumpkin laksa base

  • In a medium sized pot or dutch oven saute the laksa sauce or red curry paste for 1 minute then add the diced pre-cooked onion or leek and cook gently. If not pre-cooked they will need to be cooked for longer. Keep stirring and add some of the broth to keep it from sticking.

  • Add the rest of the broth and cooked cubed pumpkin and gently simmer for a few minutes.

≈ If cooking pumpkin from raw it will need to simmer for about 20 minutes depending on the size of your chunks and you will need more liquid. If you run out of broth use water.

This is your pumpkin laksa broth base. Carry on with one of the recipes below - seafood, chicken, vegetarian (or a combination).

Seafood laksa option

Additional ingredients for the pumpkin laksa broth - 2 serves

  • 2 squid tubes - sliced into pieces

  • 8 mussels - more or less to your preference

Make the laksa with seafood

  • At the same time as you start cooking the laksa broth base, start a separate pot of water boiling to steam the mussels.

  • Steam the mussels once the water has started to boil.  It will only take a couple of minutes for them to open up.  Start taking them out with tongs once open.  Remove them from the shells, de beard if necessary and cut in half. Don't use those that don't open.

≈ You can also cook the mussels directly in the laksa broth but unless they're totally clean bits of grit end up in the broth.

  • Add the coconut milk and noodles to the pot of pumpkin laksa broth base and cook until the noodles are about two minutes from being done. Eg for a fresh noodle this might only need three minutes total so cook for one minute here.

  • Taste at some stage around here - if it needs more flavour add soy sauce or miso paste or more of the laksa or curry paste.

  • When the noodles are 2 mintues from being cooked add the mussels and squid slices to the laksa broth and cook for 1-2 minutes. They will still cook in the hot broth when it's taken off the heat so don't be tempted to overcook them.

  • Remove the laksa broth from the heat and sit to cool slightly before serving.  

  • Serve with coriander and bean sprouts.

Chicken laksa option

pumpkin laksa broth - chicken version

Additional ingredients for the pumpkin laksa broth - 2 serves

  • one pre-cooked or raw chicken breast - sliced into bite sized pices

Make the pumpkin laksa with chicken

Using raw chicken

  • Add sliced raw chicken to the simmering pumpkin broth, simmer unti the chicken is cooked through.

  • Add coconut milk and noodles and cook until the noodles are cooked. If using a robust herb (eg parsley rather than coriander and/or sprouts) add it now also.

  • Remove the laksa broth from the heat and sit to cool slightly before serving.  

  • Serve with coriander and bean sprouts.

Using cooked chicken

  • Add the coconut milk, noodles and cooked chicken at the same time. If using a robust herb (eg parsley rather than coriander and/or sprouts) add it now also.

  • Remove the laksa broth from the heat and sit to cool slightly before serving.  

  • Serve with coriander and bean sprouts.

Vegetarian laksa option

Additional ingredients for the pumpkin laksa broth - 2 serves

  • One egg per person

  • And/or mushrooms

Make a vegetarian version

pumpkin laksa broth - dumpling and egg version

  • If using mushrooms - add along with the onion or leek and cook for a few minutes.

  • To cook egg(s) put them in with the coconut milk and noodles (if using fresh or udon which only take a few minutes. If using dried noodles they will take longer so cook them until nearly done then put in the egg(s)), put the lid on and poach the eggs gently in the liquid until cooked to your liking.

Additional notes

  • Mushrooms and egg go well along with seafood or chicken in the laksa too.

  • Dumplings also work well poached in the liquid.

  • We hardly ever need to use a whole tin of coconut milk at once and it doesn't last too long in the fridge so I freeze what we don't use for a meal.  Pour some into ice cube trays and once frozen put them in a jar in the freezer.  A meal like this doesn't need much coconut milk - add 3 or 4 frozen cubes without needing to open a whole tin.

  • When roasting the pumpkin and onions also cook a whole garlic bulb - skin on. I don't tend to use it in the laksa recipe as there is enough flavour in the sauce used (though you could add some if you like) but it's a good time to cook some to have in the fridge to use for later meals. To use the garlic in meals slice through either end of the garlic bulb and squeeze the soft garlicly paste out.

Fridge the broth. Make more than one meal from the same broth base. Halve the broth and fridge it. Use one half to make a seafood/chicken or egg version - add the coconut milk and noodles as per the recipe. Then use the other half of broth in the next day or two using a different protein. Instead of noodles use pasta or a legume (eg chick peas). It'll seem like a completely different meal with very little time spent on preparation.

Freeze the broth. Freeze at the pumpkin laksa base broth stage. To use, defrost and reheat on the stove then add the noodles, coconut milk and your preference of additons (chicken etc).  Add additional stock or water if necessary and finish with fresh herbs and sprouts.

  • Don't freeze it with the seafood as the squid in particular gets overcooked on reheating.

  • Some noodles also don't do well being frozen and reheated.

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