Spicy Saturday: Laksa

The finished spicy, yummy Laksa

After the Indian Banquet debacle (bread like wood, one recipe didn’t even get to, another as sweet as jam), I decided to keep it simple(r). So I plumped for a tried and tested recipe from my favourite cook of all time Rick Stein. It’s a seafood Laksa; a cross between a spicy soup and a curry. It’s simple, it’s delicious and I picked it as a confidence booster for my dented  ego.

There are only three steps. The first is the stock and it’s made all the more flavoursome by first frying the prawn heads and shells, adding stock and letting it simmer for 10 minutes or so. Strain the liquid and set aside. Dead easy.

Fry the prawn shells

Then you make the paste. Roughly chop  (see exact amounts below) dried & fresh chillies, cashew nuts, lemongrass stalks, garlic, galangal or ginger, and shallots to a hand blender or pestle and mortar. Add turmeric powder, shrimp paste and a couple of tablespoons of water. Blend to a paste. Fry the paste in oil until fragrant (about 5-6 minutes) add the strained stock and simmer for 10 minutes.

Fry paste until fragrant

Then finally add the coconut milk, prawns, squid, fish sauce and sugar. Cook until the seafood is tender.

Add cooked noodles and beansprouts to the bottom of noodle bowls, pour over the laksa sauce and garnish with coriander, mint, chopped chillies, spring onions and batons of cucumber. Voila. This has to be one of my favourite dishes because it is easy and very tasty. Serve with ice cold beer or Pinot Grigio.

The recipe

250g raw unpeeled prawns
Vegetable oil, for shallow and deep-frying
400ml coconut milk
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp palm or light brown muscovado sugar
300g dried rice vermicelli noodles
100g beansprouts
3 spring onions, trimmed and thinly sliced on the diagonal
A handful of mixed mint and coriander leaves

The paste

3 dried red kashmiri chillies, split open and the seeds shaken out
2 medium-hot fresh red chillies, deseeded and roughly chopped
20g nuts (macadamia, unsalted peanuts or cashew nuts)
2 stalks lemongrass, core chopped
3 fat garlic cloves
3cm piece peeled galangal or ginger, roughly chopped
1 tsp turmeric powder
75g shallots, roughly chopped
2 tsp blachan (shrimp paste)
1 tbsp vegetable oil

There are 21 comments

    1. andylmoore

      Laksa for lunch – not the tidiest of lunches to have. A colleague at work used to have Laksa and to protect his shirt would tuck a bin liner as if a very large napkin. Bit of an odd sight in the office.

  1. homeimprovisations

    I love Laksa, and for some reason haven’t made it for ages. Reading your post has inspired me to return to the recipe! Also, thanks for stopping by my blog– I lived in Japan for a while and have a few Japanese recipes up my sleeve that I hope to be posting soon!

    1. andylmoore

      That’s great. Glad it’s reminded you to cook it again. It’s one of my favourite – straight forward to do but dead yummy.
      Thanks for dropping by!
      Looking forward to reading more of your blog.

    2. andylmoore

      I’m really looking forward to seeing a Japanese recipes. I love Asian, love Japan, but haven’t cooked a lot of Japanese food (apart from curry udon, which isn’t really cooking, it’s using the Japanese curry sauce! Still yum though).

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