Wednesday, 6 June 2012


Tasty, tasty holiday treat! The last time I had laksa I was in Malaysia and I'll always remember how amazing this noodly, spicy soup was out there. 
This particular balance of ingredients was suggested in Rick Stein's Far Eastern Odyssey, currently my favourite book, and turned out tasty as can be - even with a few of my convenience tweaks thrown in.

A warning: this can take a while to make because of all the chopping to make up the paste before you start cooking! I made enough for four dinners, we'll have the leftovers of the first half for lunch tomorrow and pop the rest in the fridge for another time.

The Curry Paste
The spice paste contains lots of ingredients, all chopped or ground up, and popped into a mini food processor to be made into a smooth paste (or you could do it in a pestle and mortar, old style). If you don't fancy making the paste, buy a pot of pre-made from the supermarket and skip to the next section.

Dried Shrimp

1 tbsp Shrimp Paste

10 Dried Chillies

Several garlic cloves

A peice of galangal

Two stalks of lemongrass

1 tbsp Coriander Seeds

1 tbsp Turmeric

Handful of peanuts

Several Shallots

3-4 tbsp oil

The finished paste

* Just by the way: you can use ginger instead of galangal, any onion instead of shallots and can buy frozen, pre-chopped lemongrass as well as shrimp paste at the supermarket. The rest of the ingredients shouldn't pose a problem, except the dried shrimp which you can leave out if necessary.

The Laksa
Heat up a glug of oil in a pan and fry the paste for a few minutes. Add 750ml of stock, preferably fish stock. I was stuck so I used 500ml dashi and 250ml vegetable stock. Also a can of coconut milk, 1 tbsp palm sugar and 2 tbsp nam pla (Thai fish sauce).

While that's coming to a simmer, pour boiling water over some dried, flat noodles and leave to soak. They'll be ready in a few minutes.

Add some king prawns to the soup and leave to simmer for a few minutes. Pile the cooked noodles into bowls along with sliced cucumber, bamboo shoots, beansprouts, red chilli, spring onion, mint and coriander.

Ladle the soup over the top along with the prawns. Goes nicely with Jubilee champagne!


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