Laksa

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.

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This recipe is for two people

Preparation time 25 minutes, cooking time 15 minutes

Ingredients

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.

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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.

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Indonesian Prawn Curry

A delicious Indonesian curry with King prawns and potatoes.

This curry uses the same paste used for my two other Indonesian dishes currently on my blog, Nasi Goreng and Mee Goreng. The paste is fried in a little oil, then par boiled potatoes, fish stock, coriander leaf and coconut milk are added.  The curry is simmered for 35 minutes until the potatoes are cooked and absorb the wonderful aromatic flavours. Just before serving butterflied king prawns are added and poached in the sauce.

The dish works well with rice, noodles or breads such as Paratha. It is quite filling by itself due to the potatoes.

You only require half the paste for this recipe, the same as Nasi and Mee goreng. The remainder can be stored in an airtight refrigerated container for up to 5 days or stored in a freezer – it defrosts really well and doesn’t lose its flavour.

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Serves 2 people

Preparation time 10 minutes, cooking time 35-40 minutes

Ingredients and method

For the curry paste:

1 tsp black peppercorns
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
Handful peanuts
1 tsp sesame seeds
1 tsp turmeric
2 white onions – peeled
Thumb of root ginger – peeled, roughly chop
2 stalks lemon grass – discard outer husks, thinly slice
6 cloves garlic – peel
2 large red chillies
1 tsp shrimp paste
1 dessert spoon brown sugar
1 Tbsp. Ketchup manis
Juice of 1/2 a lime
Method: Use a min blender to blitz into a smooth paste. Chopping the tough ingredients before blending helps make a smooth paste. Only use half for this recipe, the remainder can be frozen or stored in the fridge (see notes above).

For the main dish

1/2 the curry paste

1-2 tbsp. vegetable oil

350g raw king prawns – peel, devein, butterfly

2 portions of potatoes – cut into 3-4cm cubes

350ml fish stock

500ml coconut milk

2 tsp dried coriander leaf

Method: start by par boiling the potatoes in boiling water for 6-7 minutes, rinse and drain then set aside. Heat 1-2 tbsp. of oil in a wok or deep frying pan then fry the paste for 4-5 minutes, add a little fish stock if it begins to catch on the pan. Add the potatoes, dried coriander, 300ml fish stock and the coconut milk, stir well. Heat until sauce starts to bubble then reduce to a simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the sauce has reduced too much then add a little extra fish stock to loosen the sauce. After this add the prawns and poach them in the sauce until they turn from grey to pink. Heat sauce until it starts to bubble again then serve.

 

 

Mee Goreng

The noodle version of Nasi Goreng, this dish uses the same paste and flavours for those that prefer noodles to rice. A truly authentic Bali flavour.

In this recipe I use some pre cooked chicken and some different vegetables to the Nasi Goreng recipe although the flavour of the dish is really very similar. This recipe is a great way to use up pre cooked chicken, alternatively pre cook some diced chicken or use prawns instead. I have added some green beans, broccoli stems and baby corn to add a little texture to the dish.

I froze half the paste from my Nasi Goreng recipe, which defrosts well and retains that wonderful flavour of Bali. If you are cooking this dish first either freeze the remaining paste and defrost before cooking or store in an airtight container in a fridge for up to 7 days.

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Serves two people

Preparation 15 minutes, cooking time 15 minutes

Ingredients

For Mee Goreng paste:
1 tsp black peppercorns
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
Handful peanuts
1 tsp sesame seeds
1 tsp turmeric
2 white onions – peeled
Thumb of root ginger – peeled, roughly chop
2 stalks lemon grass – discard outer husks, thinly slice
6 cloves garlic – peel
2 large red chillies
1 tsp shrimp paste
1 dessert spoon brown sugar
1 Tbsp Ketchup manis
Juice of 1/2 a lime
Method: Use a min blender to blitz into a smooth paste. Chopping the tough ingredients before blending helps make a smooth paste. Only use half for this recipe, the remainder can be frozen or stored in the fridge (see notes above).

For the main dish:

2 portions of pre cooked medium thick egg noodles
2 portions of pre cooked chicken – see notes above for alternatives
Vegetable oil – 2 tbsp for dish plus extra to shallow fry prawns and fry egg
1 carrot – cut into thin batons
4 birds eye chilies – keep whole
1 red onion – cut into thin strips
6-8 baby corn – thinly sliced
6-8 broccoli spears – trimmed
8-10 fine green beans – trimmed, cut into 2-3cm lengths
1 tbsp. tomato paste
1 tbsp. ketchup manis
1 tbsp. light soy sauce
2-3 tbsp. peanuts
2-3 tbsp. onion flakes
5cm cucumber – deseed, peel, cut into crescents
2 round tomatoes – cut into eighths
Handful coriander leaf – roughly chopped
2 eggs – fried sunny side up

Method: Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a wok or deep-frying pan until smoking hot, add the curry paste and stir fry for 1-2 minutes. Add the baby corn, broccoli, green beans, carrot, onion and birds eye chillies and fry for a further minute. Next add the pre cooked chicken and stir fry until heated through. Add the pre cooked noodles and stir through until combined with paste, chicken and vegetables. Add a tablespoon of tomato paste, ketchup manis and light soy sauce and stir into the noodles until combined then add the onion flakes and peanuts. Stir fry for a further minute until dish is heated through. Add the coriander, tomatoes and cucumber, stir through the dish then turn off the heat. In a separate pan add a little oil and quickly fry 2 eggs sunny side up. Serve immediately with the fried egg on top of the noodles.

 

Nasi Goreng

Indonesian fried rice dish with King Prawns, vegetables and a fried egg.

I visited Bali in 2014 as part of my honeymoon and had this dish several times as I liked it so much. The best version I had was at “Breeze” the excellent beach side restaurant at The Samaya hotel in Seminyak, on which I base this recipe.

The flavour in this dish comes from a wonderful curry paste like so many South East Asian dishes. This is fried in hot oil before adding some sliced carrot, chillies and red onion. Pre cooked jasmine rice is added next, which is best cooked in advance and kept in fridge for 1-2 hours – it just tastes better. Cooked prawns are then added with light soy, ketchup manis, tomato paste, peanuts and onion flakes which are stirred through the rice. Chopped coriander leaf, fresh tomato and cucumber slices are added and stirred through the rice. The dish is then served with the essential fried egg on top.

The recipe for the paste below gives two portions, the leftover half can either be frozen or stored in fridge in an airtight jar for up to seven days. You can use this same recipe to make the noodle version Mee Goreng or use the paste as a base for a curry then add coconut milk to make a sauce.

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Serves two people

Preparation time 20 minutes, cooking time 10 minutes

Ingredients

For Nasi Goreng paste:

1 tsp black peppercorns

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

Handful peanuts

1 tsp sesame seeds

1 tsp turmeric

2 white onions – peeled

Thumb of root ginger – peeled, roughly chop 

2 stalks lemon grass – discard outer husks, thinly slice 

6 cloves garlic – peel

2 large red chillies

1 tsp shrimp paste

1 dessert spoon brown sugar

1 Tbsp Ketchup manis

Juice of 1/2 a lime

Method: Use a min blender to blitz into a smooth paste. Chopping the tough ingredients before blending helps make a smooth paste. Only use half for this recipe, the remainder can be frozen or stored in the fridge (see notes above).

For the dish:

2 portions of pre cooked Jasmine rice – best stored in fridge for 1-2 hours

Vegetable oil – 2 tbsp for dish plus extra to shallow fry prawns and fry egg

12-18 raw King prawns – devein and butterfly 

1 carrot – cut into thin batons

4 birds eye chilies – keep whole

1 red onion – cut into thin strips

1 tbsp. tomato paste

1 tbsp. ketchup manis

1 tbsp. light soy sauce

2-3 tbsp. peanuts

2-3 tbsp. onion flakes

5cm cucumber – slice and quarter

2 round tomatoes – cut into eighths 

Handful coriander leaf – roughly chopped

2 eggs – fried sunny side up

Method: Start by cooking the Prawns by shallow frying in very hot oil, this method is quick and helps to seal in the juices, as soon as they start to turn from grey to pink remove them from the oil and drain on absorbent paper. Next heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a wok or deep-frying pan until smoking hot, add the curry paste and stir fry for 1-2 minutes. Add the carrot, onion and birds eye chillies and fry for a further minute then add the rice. Stir fry the rice until it fully breaks up and combines with the paste then add the pre cooked prawns. Add a tablespoon of tomato paste, ketchup manis and light soy sauce and stir into the rice until combined then add the onion flakes and peanuts. Stir fry for a further minute until dish is heated through. Add the coriander, tomatoes and cucumber, stir through the dish then turn off the heat. In a separate pan add a little oil and quickly fry 2 eggs sunny side up. Serve immediately with the fried egg on top of the rice.