Rutabaga Laksa

October 28, 2020
5 Ratings
Photo by Timothy Racca Morrish
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

A wise man (OK, restaurant critic Jay Rayner) once said of laksa’s medicinal properties that “it should be available on the NHS (the National Health Service) by prescription,” and I agree. With its searing chile, ginger, and garlic enveloped by a blanket of noodles and coconut soup, laksa is a wonderful antidote to colds and cold weather. I urge any rutabaga dodgers to think twice: its buttery earthiness, alongside the caramelized shallots, adds a sweet and smoky magic.

Excerpted from EAST by Meera Sodha. Copyright © 2020 by Meera Sodha. Reprinted with permission from Flatiron Books. All rights reserved. Photography by David Loftus.Meera Sodha

What You'll Need
Watch This Recipe
Rutabaga Laksa
  • 6 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 inch ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 4 teaspoons red chile powder, such as Kashmiri
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 lemongrass stalks, bottom 2 inches only, roughly chopped
  • 3/4 cup packed cilantro, stems and leaves divided
  • 4 1/4 cups vegan vegetable stock
  • 6 shallots
  • 1 splash canola oil, plus more as needed
  • 14 ounces (1 can) full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 2 pounds rutabaga (3/4 of a large one), peeled
  • 7 ounces rice vermicelli noodles
  • 2 limes, cut into wedges
  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F and line two large baking sheets with foil.
  2. To make the laksa paste, put the garlic, ginger, chile powder, cumin, lemongrass, and cilantro stems into a blender with 2/3 cup of stock. Peel and roughly chop 2 shallots and add them to the blender too, then whizz to a paste.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a deep-sided pot on a low flame and, once hot, scrape the paste into the pot. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring regularly so it doesn’t catch, then slowly add the coconut milk until it’s mixed in. Add the remaining stock, the salt, and sugar, and simmer for 20 minutes until rich and flavorful. Season to taste, then take off the heat.
  4. While the soup is cooking, halve the rutabaga, cut it into 1/2-inch-thick slices, then arrange on one of the lined sheets. Peel and halve the remaining shallots lengthways, then separate them into “petals” by removing the individual segments, and put these on the second lined sheet. Lightly drizzle oil over both vegetables, toss with your hands so they’re well coated, and sprinkle with a little salt. Roast the shallots for 20 minutes and the rutabaga for 30 minutes, until cooked and caramelized. Cook the noodles in boiling water as per the package instructions (usually 2 to 3 minutes), then drain and rinse under cold water.
  5. To serve, reheat the soup on a medium heat. Distribute the noodles between four bowls and ladle over the hot soup. Put the hot rutabaga and caramelized shallots on top and sprinkle with cilantro leaves. Squeeze a wedge of lime over each serving, and serve with more lime on the side.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • TXExpatInBKK
  • Ngoc Hanh Diana
    Ngoc Hanh Diana
  • Hdellimm
  • cathy zises
    cathy zises

6 Reviews

TXExpatInBKK January 10, 2022
This was so good! I'm not vegan so I added some fish sauce for added umami and it's delicious. Perfect for a chilly winter day.
Hdellimm February 20, 2021
So delicious! I was only able to get one small rutabaga so I roasted a sweet potato as well and the sweet potato was amazing with the slightly spicy laksa broth!
cathy Z. January 28, 2021
My partner gave me this book a few weeks ago and I made the laksa right away. It blew me away. It’s description as a medicinal was right on. I couldn’t stop eating it- breakfast and dinner! I made it for a friend coming out of hospital and he loved.
Since then I have been tweaking it- added some carrots, shiitake mushrooms and baby spinach. Took away the roasted shallots- they were too oily and strong for the soup, but the roasted rhutabaga was right on!
Thank you for the vegan version of chicken soup!!
Ngoc H. January 17, 2021
Wonderfully easily and I had all the ingredients in my fridge (surprisingly!). This one will be kept in the books for cold winter days.
Christina C. December 1, 2020
This is so delicious. Highly recommend. Also pick up her book, East.
alexhoyt November 4, 2020
I was so happy with how this turned out. Flavorful, balanced, comforting and delicious. Thank you for sharing!