March 12, 2011

Spicy Curry Noodles/Curry Laksa

Curry Laksa, is a popular hawker’s food in Malaysia and Singapore. It goes by many names--Curry Laksa, Curry Mee or Laksa Lemak. It is a spicy noodle dish with a rich flavor of fragrant spices infused in coconut milk. What does the word, Laksa means? Literally, it is the Indonesian word for “ten thousand” perhaps inspired by the many different ingredients that can be placed on top of this noodle dish. There are two types of laksa: a coconut based soup and the tamarind based Assam Laksa. I’ve had many versions--the basic is a rich and spicy coconut gravy with fried tofu, bean sprouts, fish cake, hard boiled egg and cockles (a saltwater clam), accompanied with a hot chili paste. For this post, I will be making the coconut version which I will be prepare with chicken pieces and prawns. For you noodle lovers—shall I tempt you with a bowl of curry laksa?

1 package cooked yellow or spaghetti noodles
½ lb. fresh prawns, pan fried and shelled
Fried tofu cubes (halved and quartered)
Cockles, scaled and remove meat (optional)
8 chicken thighs, cut into bite sized
1 canned coconut cream
1 ½ cans coconut milk
2 stalks Indian curry leaves
Cooking oil
4 stalks lemon grass, chopped in 2-inch lengths
5 candlenuts (buah keras)
10 dried chilies, (pre-soaked in water)
1 piece belachan (2-inch)
1 red onion, chopped
5 shallots, sliced
2 cloves garlic
¾ cup dried shrimps, presoaked
2 tsp. turmeric
2 tsp. coriander powder (ketumbar)
A handful of daun kesom and mint leaves
2 hard boiled eggs, sliced
Bean sprouts, scalded
Cucumber, julienned
1. Blend spices and pre-soaked dried shrimps to a smooth texture and set aside. Cook noodles according to instruction on package.

2. Heat 4 tablespoon of oil in frying pan over high heat. Add in curry leaves and blended spices. Reduce heat and cooked over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture is fragrant and most of the liquid has evaporated, with a thin layer of oil on the surface.
3. Add in the chicken meat and fry until the meat is coated with the chili paste. Add in half of the coconut milk and bring to a boil for about 20 minutes or until the full flavor of the spices has impregnated the gravy. Then add in the coconut cream and bring to a boil before turning off heat. Season to taste and add more water or coconut milk if you prefer thinner gravy. Remove from heat and set in a cool place.
4. To serve, simply put a handful of scalded bean sprouts into individual serving bowl and top with cooked noodles. Scoop hot gravy over noodles and garnish with fried prawns, cucumber, daun kesom, mint leaves, eggs and chilli paste.
Cook’s note: You can cook the spice paste ahead of time and keep in the refrigerator. To remove the oily smell from fried tofu cubes, heat some hot boiling water in a pot and add in tofu. Cover and let steep for about 5-8 minutes. Squeeze out excess water from tofu when water has cooled down.
Printable Recipe

1 comment:

Terrie said...

I tasted Laksa when I was in KL. Yummy. Many years ago I ate "Meat Bone Tea" in Singapore, it's great. I tasted in HK but no good as Singapore. I love pumpkins very much. The Japanese one seems can be eaten raw.