It's FF's birthday and I purposely took a day off. Asked him what he wants to eat on his birthday. ''Surprise me!'', is all that he says. I was contemplating on cooking his old time favourites , but it would hardly be a surprise then. It has to be something he haven't had at home, something that would remind me of the good times and good sunny places. I make laksa from scratch . Making it require a bit of work but it was fun.
The Laksa turned out delicious and hearty with just enough spiciness to tickle the palate. Perfect for today's cold and icy day. A slice of his favourite still-warm cake Apple crumble and I got myself one happy camper. Happy birthday to my number one fan, FF!
Laksa ala Emily.
3 pcs. dried chillie
1 tbsp. dried shrimp
1 tbsp. toasted belacan
2 cloves of garlic
1 thumb size ginger
1 thumb size galangal
1 thumb-size turmeric
( I used 1 tbsp. powdered since I can't find fresh one)
2 stalks lemongrass
juice of 1 lime
3 kaffir leaves
1 tsp. coriander leaves paste
( you can take a handful of chopped fresh coriander)
400-450 g chicken
( I used a whole poussin, or young chicken)
150 g shrimps
fishballs 3- 4 pcs/ person ( optional)
1/3 cup coconut oil
800 ml chicken stock
400 ml coconut milk
2 stalks lemongrass
3 kaffir lime leaves
1-2 tbsp. palm sugar
1 tbsp. fish sauce
1 tbsp. lime juice
a handful of bean sprout
pork crackling ( optional)
your choice of noodle, about 50-75 g/person
egg, 1/ person
Soak dried shrimp in 1/4 cup water and let it stand for 20 minutes. Drain. Prepare laksa paste ingredients by chopping them roughly.
Using a food processor or a mortal and pestle, grind ingredients together until it turns into a paste.Do not hesitate to use the belacan. This toasted shrimp paste might smell like Satan's ass but it's essential to the recipe and will actually turn the whole dish heavenly aromatic once cooked.
Prepare other ingredients .Wash and clean poussin, you can use chicken leg, thigh or breast instead. Cut into serving pieces.
Bring chicken stock into a boil. Add chicken pieces. Let it simmer for 15-20 minutes or until chicken is cooked but to overly so. Nobody wants dry and overcooked birds. Take chicken piece out from the pot and set aside.
Add fish balls into the stock. Cook for 3-5 minutes. Take out and set aside.
Cook shrimps until it turns pink. Also about 3-5 minutes. Fish out and set aside.
Heat coconut oil in a wok or pot. Dump the laksa paste into it.
Cook for 7 minutes of until oil separates. The smell coming from the work is just divine.
Pour the hot stock into the wok/pot. Bring to a boil.
Put the chicken pieces back. Add lemongrass, smash it with the back of the kind first to release its aroma. Then the lime leaves.
Add the coconut milk. Season the laksa with fish sauce, lime juice, palm sugar, salt and pepper. Keep on testing until it suits your taste. In many recipes, fried tofu could be added, but since it's not available in my place, I just omit it.
Now for the fun part. Assemble the laksa. First cook noodle of your choice according to the package's intruction. I used both rice and egg noodle. Divide into individual serving bowl. I used 50 g of egg noodle on each bowl and 20 g rice noodle. The whole dish can make up to 4-5 large bowls.
Put chicken over the noodles.
Arrange shrimps and fish balls over it.
Carefully ladle laksa soup unto the bowl. I like my laksa to be not overly soupy but it's a personal preference.
Add the rest of the toppings like bean spouts, pork crackling , chopped greens like coriander or spring onion and chopped red chilis if you like it really spicy. If you want soft boil eggs then bring a pot of water into a boil. Add the eggs and let it simmer gently for 6 minutes. Take eggs out from the hot water and submerge in cold water for 2 minutes. Then once cool enough to handle, carefully peel eggs. Waa lah! You will have soft , runny egg yolks.
Enjoy your laksa!
Enjoy your laksa!