Make the laksa paste in bulk and store in a jar in refrigerator for a super quick, delicious and soothing meal anytime through the busy week. And believe me, homemade paste makes the best laksa ever!
When I ventured out to explore the laksa territory, I figured out that there are as many different recipes for laksa as there are stars in the sky. The reason for that could be that laksa is a popular noodle soup dish all over Southeast Asia and every region has added something of their own to this favourite cuisine. The fame of laksa has spread even beyond Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and Cambodia to the West.
There are two main variations of laksa; curry laksa which uses a coconut milk based broth and asam laksa that is based on tamarind paste. The ingredients for basic laksa paste include, garlic, ginger/galangal, lemon, chilli, fish flavour and Asian spices in different proportions.
In my recipe for laksa paste, I’ve mentioned as many possible substitutes for ingredients that are difficult to find, outside Southeast Asia, as I could think of. I’ve tried making the paste using all these different combinations with the result more or less the same.
My laksa paste is moderately spicy to suit the palate of my younger one who is a noodle soup fan. You can increase the quantity of chillies in the paste or serve laksa curry with some Sambal or chilli paste on the side.
For Item One:
2 chicken breasts, cut into strips or bite size cubes
5 cups chicken stock
1 cup coconut milk
4 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon fish sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 hard boiled eggs, sliced
Salt to taste
250g Rice noodles or any noodles you like
Spring onions, fresh coriander and lemon wedges to serve
2 tablespoons olive or sunflower oil
For Item One:
4 cloves garlic
1 medium onion
1 inch piece of ginger or 1 teaspoon galangal
2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds2 cups water
2 teaspoons sesame seeds
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 cup cashew nuts Or peanuts Or 2 teaspoons peanut butter
1 teaspoon shrimp paste Or 1 teaspoon fish sauce
2 stalks lemon grass Or 1 teaspoon lemon zest or 4-5 lemon leaves
Makes 1/2 cup paste
This Is What You Do:
Process with the remaining ingredients for paste in a food processor till a smooth paste forms.
To make the curry, heat oil in a deep pan on medium low heat, add the laksa paste, cook for two minutes or till its aromatic and darker in colour.
Add chicken pieces, stir fry another two minutes. Add sugar and chicken stock, bring to a simmer, add coconut milk. Add fish sauce, soy sauce and lemon juice.
Taste for seasoning, add salt if required.
Traditionally laksa curry is served with rice noodles, but you can choose any of your favourite noodles. Cook the noodles according to the instruction on packet. Spoon noodles in a bowl, pour curry over them, garnish with boiled eggs, spring onions, fresh coriander and lime wedges.