As Penang asam laksa (spicy noodle soup from Peranakan culture, usually served with thick rice noodles) top my food craving list, I always scout for this recipe online and today I am ecstatic to find this Penang asam laksa video from YouTube which traces its origin back to trymasak.my. Since the recipe was written in Malay, I translated it into English for a wider reach.
There're two variants of laksa, namely curry laksa and asam laksa. Curry laksa (coconut-based curry soup with noodles) is more commonly known in Kuala Lumpur or Singapore whilst asam laksa (sour fish-based soup with noodles) is more popular in Penang. Between the two, I'd veer on the latter version which acquires the sour taste from tamarind (or asam in Malay) which right away aroused my taste buds bringing forth a subtle drool. Having said so, I'm going to feature this Penang asam laksa recipe from TryMasak here in no time.
1 packet of dried laksa
500g mackerel (ikan kembung in Malay), poached and then flaked.
4 sprigs of polygonum leaves (a.k.a Vietnamese coriander, laksa leaf or daun kesum in Malay)
4 shallots, skin peeled off
1 ginger flower (bunga kantan in Malay), quartered (lengthwise)
4 slices of dried tamarind (asam jawa in Malay)
6 bird's eye chillies (cili padi in Malay)
1/2 palm sugar slice (to taste) (gula melaka in Malay)
1 tsp of fried shrimp paste (belachan goreng in Malay)
A pinch of salt (to taste)
1. Half-filled a stockpot with water. When it reaches rolling boil, pour in the dried laksa noodles (thick rice noodles) and boil until the laksa noodles soften. At this point, remove the laksa noodles and drain the dripping water on a metal sieve. Set aside. Alternatively, commercially available wet laksa can also be used, if you opt for this, then cut down your boiling time.
2. In a blender or food processor, blend shallots, bird's eye chillies, fried shrimp paste (belachan goreng) with some water added in until it reaches a homogenous paste. Then pour this mixture into a stockpot and top it up with water until the pot is half-filled. Heat up the pot and stir the soup well. Then add in polygonum leaves (a.k.a. laksa leaf), ginger flowers (which is cut into 4, lengthwise) and dried tamarind slices.
3. Now back to the blender or food processor. Add in the poached and flaked mackerel (with fishbone discarded), blend until fine. Then add this blended fish paste into the stockpot followed by palm sugar. Stir constantly until the mixture is homogenous and boil. Reduced the flames and let it boils for another 15 minutes. Add some salt to taste.
4. The laksa is now ready to serve. Place the laksa noodles in a bowl, topped with cucumber strips, some fresh greens, polygonum and some chopped bird's eye chillies. You can also add half of the hard-boiled egg for a more substantial noodle soup if you fancy. Then topped with thick sweet shrimp paste (also known as petis udang in Malay or ?? in Chinese), mint, pineapple slices and thinly sliced onion. Well, it really goes with the rhythm of your desire.
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