Laksa a Taste of Malaysia
Let me tempt you with a bowl of luscious laksa
It's delicious, it's addictive, it's rich, slightly sweet and strongly spiced. It's laksa!
Even the name is delightful. It rolls off your tongue and tempts your tastebuds. Try it.
So what exactly is laksa? It's a coconutty broth with lemongrass and galangal and diced Vietnamese mint piled with tofu and poached seafood and chilli and sambal - and, and, anything else you want to put into it. .... all combined with fat egg noodles and skinny rice vermicelli.
Laksa in Four Simple Steps - Simple
No matter what style of Laksa you want to make, the four steps are the same - lay out the ingredients, prepare the noodles, make the paste, add ingredients. This one is with seafood. If could easily be with chicken.
- Prepare the seafood. Peel and devein the prawns. Set aside
- Place rice noodles in a bowl and cover with boiling water, leave to soak for 10 minutes. Then drain the noodles in a colander, rinse them in cold water and set aside.
- Add oil to a pan and, when warm, add the laksa paste and cook over a medium heat for 2 minutes. Add coconut milk and stir, then leave to simmer gently for 10 minutes.
- When the coconut milk mixture is ready, add the noodles, any ingredients such as cucumber, beansprouts etc and juice of one lime. Add salt to taste, bring back to a simmer, add the prawns and cook for 3-5 minutes until the prawns have turned pink.
Soak noodles in boiling water 10 mins
Add paste to warm pan 2 mins
Add milk simmer 2 mins
- 250 g rice vermicelli
- 20 ml (1 tbs) peanut oil
- 1/4 cup good-quality laksa paste
- 750 ml (3 cups) fish or vegetable stock
- 400 ml coconut milk
- 750 g green prawns de-veined shelled tails on
- 250 g scallops
- 100 g deep-fried tofu quartered
- 100 g bean sprouts trimmed
- 1/2 cup each fresh coriander Vietnamese mint and Thai basil leaves plus extra to serve
- 1 small red chilli
- seeds removed cut into thin strips
- 500 g chopped peanuts to serve
- Fried Asian shallots to garnish
- 1. Place the vermicelli in a bowl, cover with boiling water and leave for 10 minutes to soak. Drain and set aside.
- 2. Place oil in a wok over medium-high heat. Add the laksa paste and stir-fry for 1 minute. Stir in the stock, bring to the boil, then add the coconut milk and simmer for 2 minutes. Add the green prawns, scallops and deep-fried tofu and cook for 2 minutes before adding 1 teaspoon of salt.
- 3. Divide the noodles between serving bowls, top with the bean sprouts and the fresh herbs. Pour the laksa soup over the noodles, dividing the seafood equally among the bowls. Garnish with slices of chilli, peanuts, shallots and the extra fresh herbs.
- Notes & tips
- * * Ingredients should be available from Asian supermarkets. If the Vietnamese mint and Thai basil are unavailable, substitute with extra fresh coriander.
Serve your Laksa in bright bowls - That extra touch!
Bright and cheerful melamine for indoors or out
More fabulous colour for the kitchen
Want to make your own Laksa Paste?
You can get very nice laksa paste in jars. Any supermarket in Australia stocks it and plenty of small corner shops do too but, if you want to make your own, it's not difficult at all.
The problem is having all the ingredients at the one time. I rarely do.
How to make your own Laksa Paste
If you really must!
* 1 Red Onion
* Pinch of Sea Salt
* 2 tablespoons Ginger (Chopped)
* 4 Cloves
* 1 teaspoon Turmeric (Chopped)
* 1 Stalk Of Lemongrass (Bottom 1/3 Only - Chopped)
* 10 Dried Chilis
* 6 Candle Nuts (Or Macadamia)
* Â½ teaspoon Shrimp Paste
* 1 bunch Coriander Root (And Stems)
* 10 Vietnamese Mint Leaves
* 1 teaspoon Coriander Seed
* 1 teaspoon Fennel Seed
* 4 Cardamom Pods
* 1 teaspoon Cumin Seed
* 4 Cloves Garlic
* Â½ teaspoon Cinnamon
1. Blend all ingredients in a blender, place in a suitable container, cover with a little oil. You can refrigerate laksa paste for up to a month.
Yum! A bowl of Laksa
Said to be the creation of long-ago Chinese migrants to Malaysia, this mouthwatering meal in a bowl traveled down from Malaysia, through Indonesia, to end up as one of Australia's favourite dishes.
Take one spoonful, and you will immediately understand why.
Prawn versus Shrimp
What's the difference between prawns and shrimp? Solely a linguistic one.
In Britain the term "shrimp" is the more general of the two, and is the only term used for Crangonidae and most smaller species. "Prawn" is the more special of the two names, being used solely for Palaemondiae and larger forms, never for the very small ones.
In North America the name "prawn" is almost entirely replaced by the word "shrimp" and used for even the largest species, which may be called "jumbo shrimp".
In Australia we eat 'prawns'- we boil them, steam them, poach them or throw them on the BBQ - and those 'shrimp' things are very tiny creatures usually found in a can, or made up into a paste.
The tiny shrimp fished in southeast Asia are made into blacang, a fermented shrimp paste used as seasoning.
Singaporean, Malaysian & Indonesian Cuisine
A glossary of ingredients, seasonings, spices and herbs is followed by recipes for stocks, condiments, pickled salads, sambal chilli sauces and assorted spice pastes. These spice pastes (used in many of the recipes) are what gives this cuisine its fragrant, rich and savoury flavours.
A 'must have' for those who want a taste of Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia .. with easy instructions for any level of cook
Laksa means 'ten thousand' - there are ten thousand ways to make it
© 2008 Susanna Duffy