Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sarawak Laksa

Entries in My Other Blogs :

Finally!!!  After years of waiting to savor how Sarawak Laksa tastes like, I finally got to really indulge in this much talked about delicacy from The Land of the Hornbills.  I have always heard people talking and raving about how delicious it is, and after trying it for the time, I couldn't agree with them more.

The recipe for making the laksa's spice paste is quite elusive because not many people know how to make it, not even Sarawakians.  Many people rely on shop-bought and mass-produced paste that looks much like the instant pastes people use for convenient cooking nowadays.  However, after being a foodie blogger (modest one actually!) I chanced upon a recipe by Dj Dayang.  I was so excited about the recipe, that I decided to immortalize it here in my own blog.  Thanks once again Dj Dayang.

For the spice paste (this makes about 200g) :
  • 8 shallots*
  • 4 cloves garlic*
  • 10 - 12 dried chili*
  • 1 inch galangal* (I used a thumb size)
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds, ground
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds, ground
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds. ground
  • 3 candlenuts*
  • 2 - 3 stalks lemongrass*
  • 1 inch roasted shrimp paste*
  • 1/4 cup dry roasted peanuts, pounded
  • 1/4 cup dry roasted sesame seeds, pounded
  • 3tbs vegetable oil
  • Salt for seasoning

In a blender, blitz all the ingredients labeled (*) then mixed with the ground and pounded ingredients.  Heat the oil in a wok and fry the mixed ingredients until well-cooked (an indication that the spice paste is cooked is that the oil floats to the surface)  Season with salt (and sugar, if required)  This paste can now be used to make the broth or it can be cooled completely and frozen for future use.

For the laksa proper :
  • 200g Sarawak Laksa spice paste (refer above)
  • 1 chicken breast
  • 1/2 kilo prawns (I replaced these with fishcakes)
  • 1 packet vermicelli (boiled and drained)
  • 4 eggs (boiled and halved)
  • 2 lemongrass, bruised
  • 250g coconut milk
  • 2 cups bean sprouts
  • 3 sprigs parsley, roughly chopped
  • 5 Kalamansi limes, halved
  • Salt and sugar to taste

Poach the chicken breast in 2 liters of water, seasoned with some chicken stock and the bruised lemongrass.  Once cooked, take the chicken out, cool and shred.  Then, use the same stock to boil the laksa spice paste. Add in the coconut cream and season with salt and sugar.  

To serve, put the vermicelli in a serving bowl, ladle in some of the broth, and arrange some chicken pieces, fishcakes, half a boiled egg, some bean sprouts, a springkling of chopped parsley and half a kalamansi.  Don't forget the laksa sambal.

For the sambal :
  • 6 shallots, pounded
  • 2 cloves garlic, pounded
  • A little bit of shrimp paste
  • A handful of dried shrimps, pounded (I replaced this with dried anchovies)
  • 4 tbs chili paste
  • Some tamarind juice
  • Salt and sugar to taste
  • 2 tbs vegetable oil

Heat the oil in a pan and saute the first five ingredients until aromatic.  Add in the tamarind juice, simmer for about one minute then, season to taste.

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