Laksa broth with noodles, tofu, tiger prawns, boiled egg and coriander garnish.
Laksa is my among my favourite dishes, its like a cuddle in a bowl. I have had this dish many times across South East Asia, and I can confidently say my recipe stands up to the very best. There are many different types of Laksa rather than it being a single dish, with many different styles from regional cuisines. My version is based on the classic curry Mee Laksa soup from Penang region of Malaysia.
The flavour of this dish comes from a wonderful curry paste which contains 24 ingredients in perfect harmony. It is fried to release all its flavours then coconut milk, fish stock, soy sauce and fish sauce are added. The dish is assembled in a bowl with cooked noodles on the bottom, broth ladled over the top then pieces of cooked tofu are added along with sliced spring onions, cooked tiger prawns, a boiled egg and a coriander garnish.
This might sound complicated, but its not. Its actually quite easy to make with results guaranteed to impress any foodie friends.
Please also view my recipe Mussels in Laksa Broth which is an excellent way to use the other half of the Laksa paste.
Notes: This recipe only uses half the paste, the other half can be frozen or stored in an airtight refrigerated container for up to 7 days. For the Tofu use pre fried pieces of silken tofu, either buy pre fried (available from Chinese supermarkets) or cut silken tofu into squares and fry in hot oil until golden brown. These can be portioned and kept in freezer for next time. For noodles I have used egg noodles but traditionally a mixture of rice and egg noodles is used, this is purely a personal preference. In terms of seafood I have used Tiger prawns but white fish, scallops and other shellfish can be added.
This recipe is for two people
Preparation time 25 minutes, cooking time 15 minutes
For the curry paste:
2 red bird eye chillies – stalk and seeds removed
2 large red chillies – stalk and seeds removed
1 large green chilli – stalk and seeds removed
2 heaped tsp ground coriander
1 heaped tsp smoked paprika
1 heaped tsp ground cumin
1 heaped tsp ground turmeric
2 tsp medium hot chilli powder
2 medium sized brown onions – peeled
2 sticks lemon grass – bruise, inner part only, thinly sliced (for smoother paste)
Thumb sized piece root ginger – peel, finely chopped (for smoother paste)
Generous handful of peanuts
6 cloves garlic – peel
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
2 tsp shrimp paste
2 tsp tamarind paste
3 heaped dessert spoons brown sugar
2 tbsp. fish sauce
2 tbsp. dark soy sauce
2 tbsp. hopped coriander stalks
Juice and zest of 1 lime
3 karrif lime leafs
4 cardamom pods
3 black peppercorns
Method: Add all the ingredients to a mini blender (or mortar and pestle) and blitz until a smooth paste is formed. Slicing the lemon grass and ginger before helps make a smoother paste. Use Half the paste for two portions, the remainder can be frozen (it keeps its flavours well) or stored in a refrigerated airtight container for up to 7 days. Please view my Mussels in Laksa Broth which is an excellent way to use the other half of the paste.
For the dish:
4-6 large tiger prawns – devein but keep in shell and head on,
Generous handful of pre fried tofu pieces – see notes in opening section
2 hard boiled eggs – add eggs to boiling water for 8-10 minutes, shell and half
2 portions of cooked egg noodles – see notes in opening section
4 spring onions – sliced on diagonal into 2-3cm lengths
Generous handful of coriander leaf – roughly chop
1 tbsp. dark sauce
1 tbsp. fish sauce
1-2 tbsp. vegetable oil
500ml fish stock – can use chicken as alternative
500ml coconut milk – do not use half fat, doesn’t work 😦
1 lime cut into wedges – to serve
Brown sugar – only use if required to balance flavour
Method: Start by heating 1-2 tbsp. vegetable oil in a deep frying pan or wok then add the paste. Stir fry for 6-8 minutes until the oil starts to separate from the paste. Add the coconut milk and fish stock and heat until it starts to boil then reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes. Add a tbsp. of fish sauce and dark soy sauce then taste test, if it requires more seasoning add a little extra, if it is too strong add a little sugar to balance it.
Heat 1 tbsp. of vegetable oil in a separate frying pan over a high heat. Once oil is smoking hot add the prawns and cook for approx. 90 seconds on each side, just until the prawns turn pink, then remove from heat and drain on absorbent paper. The hot stock will finish the prawns off, so make sure you do not over cook them.
Bring the laksa broth back to the boil then turn off heat and serve. Place the cooked noodles on the bottom of the bowl, then ladle the hot broth over the noodles. Add pieces of pre cooked tofu, sliced spring onions, boiled egg halves, the cooked tiger prawns and a little chopped coriander to finish. Enjoy.