What does one do when their favourite Malaysian restaurant closes it’s doors after many years and you can no longer get one of your favourite dishes a curry laksa. You continue your journey around town and visit other Malaysian restaurants that have this wonderful dish on the menu. For those occasions when one just wants to stay home and enjoy a night in with delicious comfort food, this dish fits that criteria. For me, a curry laksa is comfort food with the fresh seafood, it’s rich gravy and a wonderful array of sweet, sour, salty and spicy flavours . My family love staying in when this dish is on the menu and for those that have never had the opportunity to try this dish, I would recommend you give this recipe a go. If you do not enjoy seafood, you can add chicken or vegetables. Traditionally laksa is made with rice noodles, prawns, chicken, tofu puffs and fish balls.
600 grams raw prawns (peeled & deveined with tails left intact , keep heads to cook with paste)
1 squid tube (cut into pieces and scored)
250 grams fish balls
250 grams Rockling fillet (choose a firm fleshed fish)
250 grams dried vermicelli noodles
250 grams egg noodles
1 litre fish stock (home made)
6 tofu puffs (cut in half)
100 grams green beans (cut in half)
fresh mint leaves (garnish)
100 grams bean sprouts (garnish)
800 ml coconut milk
20-30 grams palm sugar
salt to taste
Laksa Paste (can be made ahead of time)
8 candle nuts
20 grams shrimp paste
2 dessertspoons fish sauce
2 tablepoons shrimp skins
4-6 red chillies
3 stems lemon grass (white part only)
3 cloves garlic
1 piece of ginger (3 cm)
1 piece of galangal (3 cm)
4-6 red shallots
1 tablespoon ground turmeric
1 dessertspoon ground cumin
1 dessertspoon ground coriander
1/4 cup of oil (vegetable, sunflower or canola)
extra oil for cooking
Fish Stock (can be made ahead of time)
2 large fish heads (gills removed)
1 onion diced (roughly)
1 carrot diced (roughly)
2 litres of water
1 bay leaf
2 star anise
2 kaffir lime leaves
2-3 pieces of lemon grass
Preparation Time: 30 minutes (approximately)
Cooking Time: 1 hour (approximately)
Serves: 4-6 people (approximately)
For the fish stock, add oil to a pot over medium heat, and saute′ the onions and carrots. When the onions are translucent, add the fish heads, bay leaf, water and cover with the lid and bring to a gently boil. Reduce the heat, remove the lid and allow the stock to simmer gently for 30 minutes removing any impurities that will appear on top of the water. Use a spoon to clear away the impurities to leave you a clear stock. Turn the heat off after 30 minutes add the star anise, kaffir lime leaves, lemon grass and peppercorns and allow for all these ingredients to infuse into the stock for another 30 minutes. Strain the stock and place aside.
For the laksa paste, add the candle nuts, shrimp paste, fish sauce, shrimp skins, chillies, lemon grass, garlic, ginger, galangal, shallots, turmeric, cumin, coriander and oil into a blender or magi mix and blitz until it forms into a paste. Put in a bowl and place aside.
Place the noodles in two bowls add boiling water just covering the noodles. Allow to stand for 1 – 2 minutes. Drain, add cold water to stop them from sticking together.
Prepare all the seafood, put into separate bowls and place aside. In a large pot over medium heat add oil and paste and cook for a few minutes, stirring. Add the prawn heads, continue stirring for another 3-5 minutes. Add the fish stock and allow the prawn heads to infuse for a further 2 minutes. Remove the prawn heads from the broth using a slotted spoon and discard.
Add the palm sugar to the broth and allow to dissolve for 2 minutes. Add the fish balls, prawns, calamari, fish and cook for 1 minute. Then add the coconut milk and allow to come to a gentle simmer. Last add the tofu and the beans. Add seasoning to the broth and gently simmer for a further 1 -2 minutes or until seafood is cooked.
To serve, put a small handful of noodles into each bowl, divide the broth with the tofu, seafood, beans and fish balls equally into each dish and garnish with beans sprouts, coriander and mint leaves.
The fish stock can be made ahead of time. With the stock ready to go the dish will only take you approximately 40 minutes to prepare including the fresh curry paste. For a chicken laksa use home made or good quality chicken stock.
The laksa paste can also be made ahead of time, place in a container and into the fridge until needed.
It is always helpful to prepare yourself ahead of time with good ingredients this provides a great dish in the end.