Penang Laksa (Curry Mee)

Laksa is a popular noodle soup in Malaysia, Indonesia and Southern Thailand.  We love soup, noodles and curry, so I decided to make a Malaysian curry laksa for this week’s date night starter.  There are many versions of this dish and I opted for Penang Curry Mee.

Pig blood’s cubes and cockles are traditional toppings for this dish.  Not ingredients you typically find in South Africa.   But let’s be honest – I would have left it out anyway.

I found a very authentic looking recipe (complete with pig’s blood cubes and cockles) on the Rasa Malaysia website.  You can find the original recipe here.

Curry Mee

Serves 6

Ingredients
Chili Paste

10g dried and seeded red chilies
50g fresh seeded red chilies
25g onion
3 cloves garlic
20g dried shrimp
4 tbs oil

Soup Base
Chili Paste

10g shrimp paste
100g onion
50g garlic
3 stalks lemongrass
10g dried and fresh seeded red chilies
20 white pepper corns
4 heaped tbsp coriander powder
5 tbsp oil

Stock

7 cups water or prawn shell stock
75g rock sugar or white sugar
200ml coconut milk
2 tbsp chicken stock powder
Salt to taste
12 cubes deep fried tofu

Other ingredients

Yellow noodles
Dried rice vermicelle
Fresh beansprouts
Prawns
Calamari tentacles
Mint leaves (optional)

Preparing the chili paste

Chop the onion, garlic and chilies.

Blend all the ingredients except the oil  into a fine paste. Add a little bit of water if you have difficulty blending it.

Heat the oil and fry the paste over low-medium heat for 5-8 minutes.

Set aside to use later.

Preparing the chili paste for the soup base

Cut up the chilies, lemongrass, onion and garlic.

Blend with the rest of the spice paste ingredients (except the oil).

Add some water if needed to help with the blending process.

Heat the oil and fry the paste on medium to low heat for 5-7 minutes.

Preparing the soup base

Add the water/prawn stock to the spice paste and bring to boil.  I used some prawn shell stock that we had in the freezer and it brought loads of flavour to the dish.

Add the chicken stock powder, sugar and salt.

Lower the prawns and calamari tentacles into the stock with a metal strainer. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes until the prawns turn pink and the calamari opaque. Remove and set aside.

Add the coconut milk and tofu, stirring continuously to prevent the coconut milk from curdling.

They use tofu puffs (deep fried tofu cubes that you buy in Asian supermarkets) in the recipe.  I could not find any so deep fried my own tofu.  It came out as tasty as tofu could possibly be.

Preparing the other ingredients

Fill a pot halfway with water and bring to boil.  Cook the bean sprouts for 30 seconds and remove from pot with a slotted spoon.

Add the dried rice vermicelli to the pot and cook for 1 minute.  Remove from pot with a slotted spoon.

Cook the noodles for 2-3 minutes and remove from pot with a slotted spoon..  I used some of the noodles that I made  for my Miso Pork Belly Ramen and then dried.

Assembly

Place some of the noodles, rice vermicelli and bean sprouts in a bowl.  Ladle over some of the broth and add the prawns and calamari.

Serve with 1 tsp chili paste.  Mix the chili paste with the broth and noodles.  Top with some mint leaves if you wish and enjoy.

Verdict

The soup was less creamy than other laksa recipes as you use less coconut milk.  This made it perfect for a starter.  The flavour of the prawn stock and spice paste also came through more without the very intense flavour of coconut.

It was quite a bit of work for a soup – but well worth it.

 

 

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