Malaysian FoodMalaysian Food

Penang Laksa  / Assam Laksa

Penang Laksa  / Assam Laksa

[ Noodles in Tangy Fish Gravy ]

         INGREDIENTS :

  • 2 lb fresh or dried thick round rice noodle
  • 3 oz tamarind paste
  • 10 cups water
  • 2-2 lb fresh wolf herring [ikan parang] or Spanish mackerel - cleaned, kept whole
  • 3 heaped tbsp sugar
  • salt and pepper
  • 14 sprigs laksa leaves [Vietnamese mint or polygonum odoratum] [Substitute: fresh mint sprigs]
  • 2 wild ginger buds [bunga kantan] [Substitute: 4 inch fresh ginger]
  • 4 pieces dried tamarind skins [asam gelugor] [Substitute: cup key lime juice]
  • 3 tbsp prawn paste [haeko - pronounced 'hey-ko', otak udang in Malay], mixed with 1 cup warm water [optional]
  • 6-8 garlic
  • 5 stalks lemon grass, thinly sliced
  • 8 oz shallots
  • 1 inch fresh turmeric root [lengkuas]
  • 3 tbsp or to taste, chili paste
  • 1 tbsp belacan, also spelt belachan or blacan [dried shrimp paste]         

      [Items in red to be ground or blended]


         Ingredients for Garnishing :

  • 1 large seedless cucumber, skinned and thinly shredded
  • 2 red onions, very finely sliced
  • 1 fresh pineapple, cut into thin strips [Substitute: 4 or 6 oz canned pineapple]
  • 10 sprigs fresh mint leaves, stems discarded
  • 1 torch ginger [bunga kantan], finely chopped [optional]
  • 4 red Serrano chilies, seeded and finely sliced [optional]
  • Prawn paste [locally called haeko, or otak udang, in Malay] [optional]

Cook's Note : haeko [pronounced 'hey-ko'] [spelling varies] or Prawn Paste [Otak Udang, in Malay] is made much like belacan; but is different in consistency and tastes a little sweet. It's black in color with a thick consistency like molasses.

Don't Forget The Belacan!!

Don't Forget The Belacan!!




  for foodies all around the world

         To Prepare Gravy :

  • Using a mortar & pestle or blender, grind garlic, lemongrass, fresh turmeric, shallots, chili paste and belacan into a paste
  • Soak tamarind in 8 oz of warm water, squeeze and sieve into a saucepan - repeat 3 times with the same water, pour into a stockpot
  • Bring tamarind water to a boil, add ground paste, sugar, laksa leaves, wild ginger buds, asam gelugur [dried tamarind slices], season with salt and pepper, boil rapidly for 15 min
  • Add cleaned whole fish, immediately reduce heat to low, simmer gently until fish is cooked, about 15 min
  • Carefully remove fish from stock, let fish cool, remove & discard bones, flake the fish meat, set aside
  • Simmer stock uncovered for 20-30 mins to reduce and intensify flavor
  • Remove and discard the laksa leaves, wild ginger buds and dried tamarind skins [assam gelugur]
  • Add the cooked flaked fish meat to the stock [with the fish meat added, it should be a light gravy-like consistency]
  • Taste for salt and add accordingly. Keep gravy hot on low heat, for serving


         To Prepare :

  • If using dried noodles, bring a pot of water to a rapid boil, parboil noodles until 'al dente'
  • Remove noodles from boiling water, immediately run under cold water to stop cooking, drain well
  • If using fresh rice noodles, use a sieve to blanch noodles in hot water briefly
  • Assemble individual serving bowls - put a handful of noodles in each bowl, ladle piping hot gravy over the noodles
  • Sprinkle a little of each garnishing on top - shredded cucumber, onion, mint leaves, torch ginger [optional] and Serrano chilies [optional]
  • Add a dollop of prawn paste [haeko or otak udang [optional] - and serve hot immediately






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