Recipe by Andy Baraghani, Bon Appetit
3 dried red chiles, such as guajillo, Anaheim, or New Mexico, stemmed, halved, seeded
1 2-inch piece ginger, peeled, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, unpeeled
4 red Thai chiles, chopped
3 medium shallots, chopped
3 lemongrass stalks, tough outer layers removed, finely grated
¼ cup vegetable oil
4 teaspoons Thai shrimp paste
1 tablespoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¼ cup vegetable oil
2 14-ounce cans coconut milk, divided
3 cups homemade chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth
12 tofu puffs (optional)
1½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
8 ounces wide rice vermicelli
2 teaspoons palm sugar or light brown sugar
4 large soft-boiled eggs, halved
2 medium Persian cucumbers, cut into matchsticks
Bean sprouts, mint leaves, lime wedges, and sambal oelek (for serving)
Dried chiles are available at Latin markets. Tofu puffs can be found at Asian markets in the refrigerated aisle.
Place dried chiles in a small heatproof bowl, add boiling water to cover, and let soak until softened, 12–15 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, heat a large dry saucepan over medium-high. Cook ginger and garlic, stirring occasionally, until lightly charred and garlic is just tender, 6–8 minutes. Transfer to a clean surface; peel garlic.
Purée reserved chiles, Thai chiles, shallots, lemongrass, oil, shrimp paste, coriander, curry powder, cumin, ginger, and garlic in a food processor or blender until smooth (it’s okay if a few flecks of chile remain).
Do Ahead: Laksa paste can be made 1 week ahead; cover and chill. Or freeze in ice cube trays for up to 2 months.
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high. Cook laksa paste, stirring often, until paste is slightly darkened and begins to slide around saucepan when stirred, about 2 minutes. Add half of coconut milk and cook, stirring, until reduced by half, 4–6 minutes. Add stock, tofu puffs, if using, and remaining coconut milk. Bring to a boil; add chicken. Reduce heat and simmer until chicken is cooked through and tender, 20–25 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate and let cool; shred meat.
Meanwhile, cook noodles according to package directions.
Add chicken and sugar to soup; season with salt. Divide soup and noodles among bowls. Top with eggs and cucumbers; serve with toppings.
Do Ahead: Curry base (without chicken) can be made 3 days ahead; cover and chill. Reheat over medium-low, adding water to thin as needed.
Feature Image: Laura Murray