Malaysian cuisine is a melting pot of  traditions from its Malay, Chinese, Indian, Indonesian and ethnic Bornean citizens, with heavy to light influences from Thai, Portuguese, Dutch, Arabian cuisines and British cuisines, to name a few. The condiments and spices used in cooking varies and this results in strong regional nuances.

There are two types of laksa: curry laksa and asam laksa. Curry laksa is a coconut milk curry soup with noodles, while asam laksa is a sour, most often tamarind-based, soup with noodles. I have tried to keep this vegan, (took inspiration from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty More) and so did not use any of the traditional seasonings like shrimp paste. Here is my take on the classic.

Curry laksa



2 tablespoons sambal oelek

100g shallots, peeled and chopped

8 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

30g ginger, peeled and sliced

1 tablespoon ground lemon grass (frozen)

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Aash or Aush is a staple in Persian cuisine. Generally made with two unique ingredients reshteh a type of thin noodle and kashk which is a whey like fermented product. There are about 50 types of this soup and generally made during autumn and winter. My recipe has been adapted from Sabrina Ghayour’s book “Bazaar”. Please do try as it is wholesome and super delicious. Prepping the herbs takes a long time!

Rice and Vegetable aash


300g onions, finely chopped

100g flat leaf parsley, (leaves only), finely chopped

100g fresh coriander, stems and leaves, finely chopped

5 large cloves of garlic, crushed

3 teaspoons unsweetened tamarind paste

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The word “shorba” is of Persian origin and almost a dozen variations of the word exist. It is traditionally prepared by simmering meat or vegetables in boiling water along with salt and flavored with aromatic curry spices and herbs.

Carrot shorba

My recipe is an oldie but a goodie from the Indian chef Sanjeev Kapoor who has been the celebrity chef on one of the longest running food shows of its kind Khana Khazana. (In fact the show has been running since 2010 and has over 500 million viewers.) I remember watching this show on my visits to India. I have simplified the recipe so it is easier and you don’t have so many dishes to wash up!

This is a great soup to serve as a starter for a dinner party and I assure you will have your guests wanting more and the recipe.


500g carrots, peeled and cut into 2 centimetre chunks

1 x 400ml tin of coconut milk

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

½ teaspoon mustard seeds

Continue reading “CARROT SHORBA”


Cauliflower soup

Years ago, on our way to Hanmer Springs, we stopped by at Pegasus Bay Winery for lunch and I ordered the cauliflower soup with Pernod. I have substituted vodka and the end result is a decadent rich tasting soup.

1 medium cauliflower (600 -700 grams) washed and cut into small florets

1 large potato (150 grams)

1 large onion (150 grams), peeled and chopped

3 cloves garlic chopped

50 grams butter

1 teaspoon ground white pepper

30ml vodka (optional)

1 cup whole milk

1 teaspoon hot English mustard

Chopped Italian Parsley for garnish

Salt to taste


Heat butter in a deep sauce pan. When the butter starts to melt and froth, add the onion and fry for three minutes until soft. Add the garlic and ground white pepper and fry for a minute. Next add the cauliflower florets along with the potato. When you feel everything is heated through, add the vodka. I immediately flambé the vodka – I light a match and do this. Then add three cups of water and one cup of milk. Let it come up to the boil and allow to simmer for 20 minutes until the vegetables are all soft. Remove from heat, stir in the mustard and add salt. Set aside a few pieces of the cooked cauliflower for garnishing the soup and using a hand held blender, blitz the vegetables until you get a glossy soup. Taste and adjust seasoning according to your preference.

Place the reserved cauliflower florets onto a soup bowl and ladle soup into the bowl. Garnish with the Italian Parsley. Serve with grilled cheese toast for a hearty lunch. Serves 6.


There is no set recipe for minestrone soup since it can be usually made with whatever vegetables or meat one has at home. Just a note that the vegetables are a guide and you can create your version depending on the vegetables you have and like. This is my vegetarian version – which I like to serve with crusty bread for lunch.

Minestrone Soup

50 grams green cabbage shredded

100 grams cauliflower cut into small florets

2 zucchini cut into 1 centimetre dice

100 grams mushrooms cut eighths or quarters depending on size

1 large carrot diced evenly

2 sticks celery sliced thinly

1 x 400 grams tin plum tomatoes in juice

1 x 400 grams tin Borlotti beans drained and rinsed

2 tablespoons tomato paste

50 grams orzo or risoni

3 plump garlic cloves finely chopped

½ teaspoon chilli flakes

1 teaspoon dried oregano

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil plus extra to serve

4 tablespoons finely grated or microplaned Parmigiano Reggiano for serving

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Vegetables prepared for Minestrone Soup


In a large pan, heat the oil and fry the onions for a few minutes. Then add the garlic, celery and carrots and fry for three or four minutes. Then add the chilli flakes, oregano and the remaining vegetables. Continue frying intermittently for a further five minutes. Then add the tomato paste followed by the tomatoes in their juice. Add a litre of water and bring it up to the boil. Cover and let simmer for 15 minutes. Give it a good stir after this period, add the borlotti beans and salt. Continue cooking for a further 10 minutes and add the orzo or rizoni. Cook for another 5 -7 minutes. Adjust seasoning.

Just before serving, once dished out into individual bowls, sprinkle the cheese and pour a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil on top. Serve immediately with bread.