This is one of my favorite dishes mostly because it is an all-in-one dish (suitable for lazy people like me!) and secondly because there isn't a single fat or oil or what-so-ever related to it (suitable for lazy people like me; lazy to exercise that is!)
As everyone may already know, this is a very aromatic dish with equally aromatic broth. This is due to the many aromatic herbs used to make the broth and garnish the dish. And two of the most important aromatics that this Laksa cannot do without are the ginger torch buds and the Kesum leaves (or less popularly known here as the Vietnamese mint) You see, you only need a little (which goes a long way) so, it is worth planting some in your own patch (or pot!)
This dish which, as I mentioned earlier, lack the 'fat factor' is not a favorite of any of my children. And since none of them are home today (including the youngest who has gone for a school trip!) I decided to give in to my craving for this Asam Laksa by making some using the aromatics from my patch (plus some birds eye chilies from there too!) from my small garden patch!
For the broth :
- 4 large local mackerels (I used Selayang)
- 1 small can sardines in tomato sauce
- 4 shallots, sliced
- 10 birds eye chilies
- 5 dried chilies, soaked
- 1 cm shrimp paste
- 2 pieces Asam Gelugor
- 2 stalks lemon grass, bruised
- 10 Kesum leaves (picked from the stems)
- 2 ginger torch buds (halved length ways)
- Salt and sugar to taste
Clean the fish. Place in a pot and put some water just enough to cover the fish. Place the Asam Gelugor and boil the fish until they are cooked. Take out the fish, flake the flesh and discard the bones. Strain the stock of any bones (if leftover scales!) and reserve for the broth.
Meanwhile, place the shallots, birds eye chilies, dried chilies and shrimp paste in a blender, and blitz until fine. Pick the bones from the sardines, rough flake the flesh. Place this, the blended ingredients and the lemon grass into the pot, together with the reserved fish stock and top up with enough water to double the amount. Allow to boil for about 7 to 8 minutes. Season to taste. Let boil for another minutes, then turn off the heat.
For the Laksa :
- 500 g fresh Laksa noodles
- 1 cucumber, shredded
- 1/2 ripe pineapple, shredded
- 1 large red chili, shredded
- 2 red onions, sliced
- 2 ginger torch buds, sliced
- A handful of mint leaves
- Some lime wedges
Place the Laksa noodles in a bowl. Ladle in the broth just enough to cover the noodles. Then top with the all the garnish. Squeeze the lime and it is ready to be served.
Note : I always like to use sardines (discard the tomato sauce except for 1 tbs) because it helps to counter the sourness of the broth. I remember my late mom would never make this dish without cashew shoots (if only I could find some over here!) But like I said, I surrender to my cravings!