Love You Laksa (with recipe)

Prior to even leaving for Sydney, my parents told us about the amazing spicy curry soup that is Laksa.

There are different forms of the Chinese/Malay dish… but all I’ve experienced is the curry form. And MAN is it tasty.

It is somewhat similar in flavor to a Thai curry dish… but in soup form… slurp away!

Before my parents came to visit, Husband and I had a mini taste test of a couple of recommended restaurants that served laksa so that upon the parentals’ arrival, we could take them to our favorite.

The first place we tried was Happy Chef in Haymarket. We walked into a shopping mall, took an escalator up a floor and entered a food court.

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A food court filled with long, white, wipe-clean tables and a wide variety of amazing looking Asian food.

Husband and I found the Happy Chef stall and found something Little Moo could eat (since we didn’t want to burn her mouth out with spice).

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We decided on the prawn noodle soup and she gobbled it up.

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I think she ended up eating about 10 giant prawns. Giant like they were the size of her hands. Yes, her hands are small, but they’re big in relation to prawn size. (Sad that when they are called prawns, you can’t get the Jumbo Shrimp oxymoron thing)… anyway, back to the laksa…

Husband and I both ordered the combination laksa which was chock-full of bean sprouts, tofu puffs (a personal favorite that hangs onto the laksa like a yummy sponge), chicken, bbq pork, beef, seafood (prawns. scallops, squid… all cooked perfectly and not chewy at all).

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SPOILER ALERT: This was our favorite.

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The other place where we tried Laksa was Petaling Street Malaysian Hawker Food.

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We actually really liked the non-laksa dishes that we tried (at Happy Chef, we didn’t try anything other than laksa and The Moo’s prawn noodle soup). Petaling’s Roti was fantastic. I mean, I’ve never met a Roti I didn’t like… sooo… there’s that. And we ordered Marmite Pork Ribs for The Moo which we all gobbled up. (Marmite is like Vegemite… and within this dish, it just worked).
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However, the curry laksa was a bit “thinner” than Happy Chef’s. And maybe this is more authentic, but I like copious amounts of coconut milk. Plus… they didn’t give you napkins. Just put a box of tissues on the table. And tissues + sticky ribs = tiny bits of paper stuck to your fingers and they eventually end up in your mouth.

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So, we decided to take my parents to Happy Chef…

But, they were the experts. Their love affair with the curry soup started in Hong Kong and they ate tons of it when they had previously visited Australia.

And we all breathed a sigh of relief when they tried Happy Chef’s combination laksa and seemed to enjoy it. (Or they just spared our feelings and told us it was great… )

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Then this week, I decided I wanted to try to make my own laksa. It was a bit of a cheat because I used laksa paste… but it still took time to develop the flavors.

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I did a bit of improvising and was really bummed that I forgot to buy tofu puffs… but I think it was still pretty tasty.

My assessment… Using cucumber and fresh lime gave it a fresher feel than that other laksas. It had a nice spice and richness from the coconut milk. But I definitely missed the tofu puffs and there wasn’t that crazy variety of proteins… but all in all… YUM YUM YUM!

Here is the recipe I based mine off of: http://australian.food.com/recipe/malaysian-laksa-294600

– They use a few different ingredients and a lot more stock. But I thought it would thin it out too much.

And here’s what I actually used/did:
INGREDIENTS

(it says it serves 4… this served 2)

SPICE PASTE

2 teaspoons dried chives, finely chopped

1/2 onion finely chopped
1 Tablespoon garlic paste
2 chunks candied ginger, finely chopped

Prawns  Flavored Oil

4 tablespoons olive oil
3 Prawns, shelled and divined
Laksa Broth

185 ml laksa paste (I used Ayam brand Malaysian Laksa Paste)
1 cup chicken broth
14 fl.oz. Lite Coconut Milk
3 tablespoons fish sauce
1 lime, juice of
Toppings

160 g rice noodles
1 cooked chicken thigh

24 shrimp
2 tablespoons deep fried shallots

julienned cucumber

DIRECTIONS

Thaw raw, frozen peeled and deveined shrimp. (I do this under cold water in a colander and pat with paper towels until very dry… I know this isn’t recommended, but I do it… I’m a rebel.)

Make “Spice Paste” by mixing garlic paste, candied ginger, onion and chives. Set aside.

In a large pot, add olive oil and heat. Once the oil is hot, add 3 prawns and fry for about one minute or until they turn red.

Remove from pan and set aside.
To make the ‘Laksa Broth’ add ‘Spice Paste’ to prawn flavored oil and fry for a minute.

Add laksa paste and simmer for about two minutes.

Pour in the chicken stock and bring to boil,.

Then add coconut milk,  fish sauce and freshly squeezed lime juice. Bring to boil.
Half fill a medium pot with water and bring to boil. Add noodles for a few minutes until they become soft then remove into separate serving bowls.
In the same pot poach reserved prawn/shrimp meat until it’s pink then transfer them into the same bowl as the rice vermicelli and egg noodles.
Pour ‘Laksa Broth’ into the serving bowls (same bowls as the prawns/shrimp and noodles).
Then top with  chicken, fried shallots and cucumber.

More to come,

Jessica

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