Curry laksa

So it appears that we still have our old kitchen as the builder has had to delay his start date, but has assured us that the work will still be completed as planned.

I spotted some lovely shell-on king prawns in the supermarket on Tuesday, and knew immediately what I was going to have dinner tonight. Curry laksa. I think this will probably pass off as a cross between curry mee and prawn mee, however, I’ll still call it curry laksa as it tastes very similar to what you’d get here in London, and also what I’ve sampled in food courts in Perth and Sydney. 

I used Gary Mehigan’s recipe for Classic Laksa from Good Chef/Bad Chef.  The curry base turned out a tad sweet, so I’d probably reduce the palm sugar to 1/2 tbsp next time.  Here is the recipe, modified slightly, for ease of reference:

Ingredients:

A) Chilli Paste

  • 4 red chillies, chopped
  • 2 dry chillies (soaked in hot water for 20 minutes)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 2 tsp shrimp paste, roasted
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp coriander stems
  • 1 tsp galangal
  • 1 stalk of lemon grass (green part only), roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp lime zest
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup candle nut/macadamia
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder

B) Broth

  • 1 can coconut cream
  • 2 pieces fried tofu blocks
  • 300g king prawns (buy with shells on, then remove shells and gut the vein. Keep shells)
  • Prawn shells
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp palm sugar (add more if needed)
  • 500g chicken stock (add more if you want the soup less thick)
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 3 tbsp fish sauce
  • laksa paste
  • 1 cup of bean sprouts
  • a bunch of coriander leaves
  • 1 tbsp curry leaves
  • a handful of mint leaves
  • your choice of noodles, blanched and drained just before serving

Method

  1. Blend the ingredients for the laksa paste in a food processor, or use a mortar and pestle. I used the latter, and I think bruising the ingredients enhances the flavours even more
  2. Heat the oil in a big pot and fry the prawn shells and curry leaves for 2 minutes
  3. Add all the laksa paste into the oil and leave to cook for 10 minutes. This is essential to remove the raw chilli taste from the paste
  4. Add the coconut milk and leave to cook for a further 10 minutes
  5. Pour in the stock and half the coriander leaves, and leave to cook for 10 minutes over a low simmer
  6. Place a strainer on another big pot and sieve the broth. Squeeze out all the juice from the strainer using the back of a spoon
  7. Place the pot with the sieved broth back on the heat and add in the tofu. Cook for 5 minutes and add in the prawns which should only need 2 minutes to cook
  8. Plate up – place some noodles in a bowl, followed by a generous helping of bean sprouts. Pour the laksa broth into the bowl including the tofu and prawns. Garnish with coriander and mint leaves.
  9. Note: you could serve the laksa with sliced boiled egg, cooked chicken, fish cakes and various condiments like fried shallots, chopped chillies, chilli oil or sambal belacan.

The broth was delicious, the prawn base came through with a hint of chilli, but what was apparent was the lack of MSG you’d get in food courts and certain restaurants. The king prawns were very tasty, my only regret is that I should have bought more!  The house reeks of shrimp paste, but I’ll give it a good airing on Saturday morning. I’d open the windows now but it is cold out. Brrr…. definitely a perfect night for Curry Laksa.

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