27 June 2012

Curry Laksa

I had a fabulous time last Sunday showing 14 ladies how to cook curries from different parts of the world. We cooked an Indian chicken curry, a Sri Lankan lamb curry, a green prawn curry from Thailand and finally a Curry Laksa from Malaysia.


No surprise to me because I love Malay food...the winner on the day was the Curry Laksa. Malaysian food is a lovely blend of the different cultures who live there, Indians, Chinese and native Malay and a curry laksa showcases all the amazing flavours typical in Malaysian cuisine. The flavours hot, sour, salty and sweet are similar to other South Eastern Asian cuisines; the difference is the depth!

Malaysian curries for example benefit from a chile paste that can take an hour or two of simmering for the flavours to amalgamate into something stunning.

The laksa gets it's depth of flavour from a rich chile paste, laden with shrimp paste, dried shrimp, ginger and lemongrass. The sweetness comes from the coconut milk and palm sugar, the salty - from the shrimp paste and the sour from the lemongrass and lime leaves that expertly cut across the richness of the creamy coconut broth.

This Laksa isn't a 30 minute dinner, but it can be if you prepare the chile paste in advance and freeze.

Curry Laksa (Curry Mee)

Chilli paste
  • 200 grams red onions
  • 200 grams red chillies1
  • 100 grams lemongrass (inside white pieces only)
  • 50 grams galangal
  • 50 grams dried shrimp
  • 50 gram shrimp paste – cooked in dry pan for 1 min to release flavours
  • oil

Blend with oil into a fine paste, saute slowly 1 – 2 hours until until colour changes and oil comes out of mixture, add 3 lime leaves, chopped finely
The secret to the chile paste is to saute it until the oils are released and the colour darkens considerably. It will take anything from an hour to 2 hours.
 from this...

to this...

Laksa Paste
  • 100g shallots chopped 
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 inch piece of galangal (or ginger if no galangal)
  • 3 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 4 tablespoons chilli paste
  • 2 tablespoons sliced lemon grass
  • 10 peppercorns
  • 3 candlenuts (or macadamias)
  • 1 teaspoon shrimp paste 

Grind all to a fine paste in a food processor or mortar and pestle.

  • 200 grams prawns, peeled and deveined
  • 200 grams fried tofu cubes or tofu steak, cut into pieces
  • 300 grams shredded, cooked chicken meat
  • 300 grams blanched bean sprouts
  • 600 grams blanched yellow noodles
  • 300 grams blanched rice noodles
  • 4 eggs, hard boiled and cut in half
  • 3 cups coconut milk
  • 2 cups chicken or fish stock
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons palm sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt, or to taste
  • shredded lime leaves
  • fish sauce to taste

  1. Heat 3 tablespoons oil and saute laksa paste until fragrant (3 minutes)
  2. Add coconut milk, stock, sugar and fish sauce and salt (to taste) and bring to a low boil
  3. Add chicken and prawns and boil slowly until prawns are cooked (about 3 minutes)
  4. Add tofu and cook a further minute
  5. Place noodles in bowls and pop beansprouts, tofu, eggs, prawns and chicken on top of noodles and ladle soup on top. Garnish with coriander leaves and chopped spring onions.  Serve with roti bread or paratha, and extra chili paste.

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