#SamLikesItHot: Seafood laksa
MANILA, Philippines - Plump noodles and seafood in an exotic-tasting creamy warm broth. For the 3rd installment of our comfort food series, we are traveling to Chinese-Malay territory to make laksa!
The flavors of this dish may be an acquired taste to some [I couldn’t stand cilantro until an ex-boyfriend whipped up his version of Pad Thai years ago] but once you are reeled in, I guarantee that you will be hooked.
This laksa recipe boasts of laksa paste that is made from scratch, but don't be intimidated — it’s a cinch to make and really delivers on flavor!
It makes about 3 servings and you’ll need:
- 1 stalk lemongrass [white part only], chopped
- 1-inch piece ginger, chopped
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 bird’s eye chilies [labuyo] or to taste, chopped
- 3 heaping tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1 t ground turmeric
- 1 t fish sauce + more to taste
- A pinch rock salt [optional]
- 2 T neutral-tasting oil
- 4½ cups water
- 1½ fish broth cubes
- ½ cup coconut cream
- 6 large shrimps, shelled and deveined with tails intact
- Bean sprouts, as desired
- Squid balls, as desired
- Fish tofu, as desired
- 3 servings, plump egg noodles
1. Take the lemongrass, ginger, garlic, bird’s eye chili, cilantro, turmeric, fish sauce and rock salt to a mortar and pestle and grind to a paste. You can also blitz this in a food processor or blender but I went with my mortar and pestle because it has been collecting dust in my cupboard.
I added a pinch of rock salt to add an abrasive element to the mix, to better grind the stuff. You can leave it out if blitzing and just season with fish sauce only.
2. Get a medium pot going on medium-high heat and add oil. When ready, add the laksa paste and toast for 5 minutes. Get ready to be assaulted by exotic perfumes with some heat thrown in!
I believe this process is called “blooming”, a common practice when you want to draw out maximum flavor from your ingredients, especially spices. It’s considered an all-important part of making curry.
3. Add water to the pot. Crumble in the fish broth cubes. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 30 minutes. Add in coconut cream. Bring to a boil one more time and simmer for another 10 minutes. When done, taste and adjust seasoning.
4. Add shrimps, squid balls, fish tofu and bean sprouts to the pot and cook until the shrimps turn color. You can play around with your ingredients here, of course. You can even use a different protein but make sure you switch the broth cube to go with it.
5. To serve, place cooked egg noodles into a bowl. Add laksa broth and top with seafood and bean sprouts. Garnish with fresh cilantro.
You guys. YOU GUYS. This is fresh!
I think the most comforting thing about this dish is that you can make a really decent one from scratch at home! I recommend that you double the laksa paste so you can adjust the intensity of your broth. If you have leftover paste, just make some more broth and freeze so you can bust it out on a rainy day.
It’s hard to believe that another month, another food series is coming to an end. We’ve had a really good savory run so far so I’m capping things off with a super decadent chocolate-y dessert next week. *evil grin*
Until then, re-laksa and have some yummy noodles! Har, har! - Rappler.com
Check out our other recipes:
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Sam Oh is a professional TV and events host, radio jock and foodie. Catch her on radio at First Thing In The Morning with Sam and Gibb on Magic 89.9, Monday to Thursday, 6am to 9am. She is also a food blogger. If you have questions or recipe requests, email email@example.com with subject heading SAM LIKES IT HOT.