One of the best skills a cook can have (not a chef, but a cook) is not just the ability to follow a recipe, but to look at a recipe, look at what they have in their house, and think I can make something nice that is a bit like that. Of course the essential secondary skill for that to work is the ability to have nice things in the house in the first place!
The full name of the recipe is “Thai Chicken Laksa and Mildly Spiced Noodle Squash Broth”. I skipped the squash, and my broth was not just mildly spiced.
I used Jamie’s recipe more as inspiration than as a rule.
I made a paste of onion (not spring onion, didn’t have any), chilli, garlic, ginger, turmeric, limes leaves, coriander stalks, fish sauce, soy sauce and sesame oil for the base of my broth. Instead of squash (I find butternut squash too sweet, and I didn’t have any) I had orange pepper and tinned bamboo shoots. Instead of asparagus I had sugarsnap peas, because I had half a packet in the bottom of the fridge. Instead of flat rice noodles I had those very thin rice noodles, because that’s what I had. Instead of a tin of coconut milk I had some coconut milk powder, because I was only cooking for two and it easier that way to have just the amount you want.
I put fivespice and sesame on my chicken as instructed (actually it turns out Jamie puts sesame seeds on at the end, but I thought that I was following the instructions there). I failed to bash them flat so they took a lot longer to cook – I’d recommend getting some flatter bit of chicken to start with. I replaced the okra with nothing, because who wants okra?
At the end instead of “styling” the meal in a cauldron and a board I just put it into two big bowls. I found the picture a bit confusing as to how you were supposed to actually eat it!
This was tasty, and since the replacements that I made were mainly swapping things that I don’t like for things that I do like I’d say it was just as tasty (for me) as if I had followed the “correct” recipe.