I know that since it’s just before Thanksgiving, I should post something to get you in the spirit – or at least cooking something new – but this is too good not to share right away.

This recipe comes from the book Noodles, by Beverly LeBlanc. At the first bite, I hummed with appreciation and we patted ourselves on the back for a job well done. We were both glad we decided to double the Laksa paste portion to freeze and use later. The photo above is not a completely accurate depiction of the ratio of noodles to Laksa, because (after devouring our dinner) I photographed the left-overs the next day. Serves 4.

20-24 large raw unshelled shrimp
2 c fish stock
pinch of salt
2 c coconut milk
2 tsp nam pla (Thai fish sauce)
1/2 tbsp lime juice (I used the juice from 1/2 a lime)
4 oz/ 115 g dried medium rice noodles
3/8 c bean sprouts (we skipped these)
fresh cilantro, chopped, to garnish

Laksa Paste
6 fresh cilantro stalks with leaves
3 garlic cloves
1 fresh red chili, seeded and chopped
1 lemon grass stalk, center part only, chopped
1 inch/ 2.5 cm fresh ginger root, peeled and chopped
1 1/2 tsp shrimp paste (I just chopped up and added enough raw shrimp to account for this)
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
peanut oil (I used canola oil and added a small spoonful of natural unsalted peanut butter instead)

Shell and devein the shrimp. Put the fish stock, salt, shrimp heads, shells and tails in a pan over high heat and slowly bring to a boil. Lower the heat and let simmer for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the Laksa paste. Put all the ingredients in a food processor and blend. With the motor running, slowly add up to two tbsp of oil, just until a paste forms. (Or you can use a mortar and pestle.)

Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large pan over high heat. Add the paste and stir fry until fragrant. Strain the stock through a strainer  lined with cheese cloth. Stir the stock into the Laksa paste, along with the coconut milk, nam pla and lime juice. Bring to a boil and then lower  the heat, cover, and let simmer for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the noodles according to the package directions. Drain and set aside.

Add the shrimp and bean sprouts to the soup and continue simmering, just until the shrimp turn opaque and curl. Divide the noodles between four bowls and ladle the soup over, making sure everyone gets and equal share of the shrimp. Garnish and serve.