Laksa is a popular spicy noodle soup which is found in South East Asia more particularly in Malaysia, Singapore and some parts of Indonesia. Historians say it was invented in China as the word laksa might have originated from the Chinese word “la sha” meaning “spicy sand” which makes sense as the food is spicy and the way the spices are processed is by grounding them so that they have the same fine but rough consistency of the sand.
Laksa can be categorized into two types which is Curry and Asam, they are both soup based dishes but the difference is that the Curry is made out of coconut milk while the Asam comes from the extract of some sour fruit like tamarind. Different noodles can also be used such as vermicelli (rice and mung bean) as well as the thick rice noodles; it all depends on your preference.
I recently just discovered this dish around 2004 when I lived in Malaysia; at first I don’t really want to try it out because of how it looks (Laksa is not really presentable if you see this dish in hawker stalls), during that time I usually judge food just by how it looks like. My friends and colleagues always ask me to try it out, I always turn them down until one day I let them try my home cooked Sinigang and their reaction was it tasted like Assam Laksa which led me and convinced me to try it out. We went to this restaurant in Giant Kelana Jaya that specializes in Laksa (too bad I forgot the name), I ordered the one they said tastes like Sinigang and after the first scoop of soup it was Wow! Since then I was not afraid to ugly looking food items as most of them taste better than the good looking ones.
2 large squid, sliced
300g shrimps, shelled and deveined
300g white fish, cubed
200g fish cakes
400 ml coconut milk
2 cups seafood stock
4 boiled eggs sliced in half
2 stalks spring onions, chopped
lime or lemon slices
3 medium red chillies, chopped and seeds removed
1 tsp shrimp paste
4 shallots, peeled
2 stems of lemon grass, outer layer removed and chopped
1 tsp galangal, chopped
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tbsp water
1. Gather all the paste ingredients in a food processor or blender. Blend the ingredients until it forms a paste.
2. Cook rice noodles according to packet instructions.
3. In a separate pot add oil and the paste, stir fry for in medium heat until fragrant.
4. Add seafood stock, fish cake, fish sauce (according to your taste) and coconut milk then bring to a boil.
5. Once boiling add mussels, shrimps and squid. Cook for 3 minutes.
6. Add fish and cook for 2 more minutes.
7. Place the noodles in a bowl then pour seafood gravy. Mix in the beansprouts while gravy is hot.
8. Top with 1/2 sliced egg per bowl, spring onions and freshly squeezed lime juice.