Enough For 4
Pumpkin- 9 ounces unpeeled weight
Small, red bird’s eye chiles- 5
Garlic- 4 cloves
A lump of ginger the size of your thumb
Lemongrass- 2 plump stalks
Lime leaves- 6
Cilantro roots- 5 or 6, plus a large handful cilantro
Chicken or vegetable stock- 2 cups
Coconut milk- 1 ¾ cups
Cherry tomatoes- 24
Nam pia (thai fish sauce)- 2 generous tablespoons
The juice of half a lemon
Dried noodles- ¼ pound, cooked as it says on the packet
Mint leaves- a large handful
Cut the pumpkin into large chunks and place in the top of a steamer.
The pumpkin should be tender in to 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Chop the chiles, removing the seeds first if you wish, peel the garlic and ginger and chop roughly. Put them all into a food processor. Discard the outer leaves of the lemongrass and roughly chop the inner leaves, shed the lime leaves, then add them to the chiles. Scrub the cilantro leaves and stems. Process to a pulp.
Place a fairly deep pot over a moderate heat, ass half the spice paste and fry it, moving it round the pot so it does not scorch. Do this for a minute or two, then pour in the stock and coconut milk and bring to a boil.
Cut the tomatoes in half and add them to the soup with nam pla and lemon juice. They will take 7 to 10 minutes to cook. Add the pumpkin and continue cooking for a minute or two. Place a swirl of cooked noodles in each of 4 bowls, pour over the laksa and add the mint and the remaining cilantro.