The first time I was exposed to laksa was my trip to Singapore for a wedding. Curry laksa was part of the country’s signature cuisine (along with their Haisanese chicken rice)– orange color, rich, creamy, tangy and spicy yummy all at the same time. I wanted it for my every meal.
As I returned to the state, I tried to recreate the masterpiece only to come with disappointment that every recipe on the Internet uses a commercial laksa paste, which is not available in the states (very much like Thai Iced Tea comes from a commercial powder). I guess the Malyasian and Singaporean kept their secret laksa recipe well locked up.
As a matter of fact, I did bring home a couple package of laksa paste from Singapore to try — it’s not the same! Overly spicy and overpowering with no tanginess to it. I don’t care what the bloggers says, but commerical laksa paste is terrible. Fork over a few bucks and go to a restaurant, well worth it.
Despite not finding the secret recipe for curry laksa, I did come across this kind blogger who shared a recipe on a different type of laksa paste -Sarakwa laksa.
“Laksa is a popular spicy noodle soup in the Peranakan cuisine, which is a combination of Chinese and Malay cuisine. Laksa consists of rice noodles or rice vermicelli with chicken, prawn or fish, served in spicy soup; either based on rich and spicy curry coconut milk, or based on sour asam (tamarind or gelugur)”
So this recipe I found is a sour asam that’s tamarind base so it is less spicy and creamy (a country Malaysian-type). It is nothing like curry laksa I had in Singapore, but it is equally delicious. This recipe makes a huge portion – filled 1 whole quart mason jar and 2 small pint mason jar. The laksa paste definitely tastes better as it ages — I still have some that’s been about a year now in the fridge and the flavor keeps getting better. I remember I used it immediately after making it and found the taste too sour and underwhelming and thinking to myself what i’m going to do with all the laksa paste I have left. Happy to say that I made so much now. On the bottom of the post, you will find some variation ideas.
Sarawak laksa paste (adapted from 3hungrytummies.blogspot.com)
makes 8 cups
10 shallots (325g), chopped
5 single garlic bulbs (300g), chopped
1 large knob of galangal (325g), chopped
10 long red chilies, cut into chunks
5 lemongrass (white part only), chopped
50 g macadamia nuts
1/2 cup seseame seeds, toasted
3/4 cups peanuts
50g cummin seeds, dry toasted and grinded
6 star anise, toast and grind
7 cloves, toast and grind
1-2 whole nutmegs, toast and grind
10 green cardamom seeds, discard skin, toast and grind
5 tbsp salt
1 packet of tamarind bulbs, mixed with a cup of boiling water then strained **using only 1/2 of the strained mixture**
4 cups pf oil
- Blend all the ingredients in (A) well.
- Grind all the ingredients in (B) until fine.
- Combine (A), (B) and (C).Mix well.
- Heat a large flat bottom skillet with oil then on medium heat, stir fry the mixture until most of the liquids have evaporated and mixture becomes a dark brown. Don’t let it burn.
- Let it cool and put it mason jars. Refridgerate for at least 1 month before using.
Sour Asam Laksa Soup:
2 cups organic chicken broth
2 stalk celery flower
6 mushroom stalks
2-3 tbsp sarawak laksa paste, to taste [could be as much as a whole pint]
1 tbsp fish sauce
6 mini shrimps with head (I used Ikea’s Sweden shrimp)
6 mushrooms cap, quartered
1)Boil and simmer for 30 minutes.
2)Strain the soup so the giant pieces of herbs/aromatic is discarded.
3)Put broth back in pot and add the ingredients under (B)
4)Add 6 mushrooms cap and simmer for 10 min until soft
5)Before serving, add 1/2 lb cod and boil until just cooked. flake before serving.
Other serving idea:
- add some veggie or herb greens or shrimps or squid or chicken shreds along with noodles.
- If making a big pot of noodle soup, you might have use a pint worth of laksa paste.
- After straining, add a can of coconut milk to make authentic noodle soup laksa.
Other uses for sarawkwa laksa paste
- they make great base for seafood soup
- they make a great base for curry sauce when mixed with a homemade curry paste like this “Ground Beef Curry” recipe
- they make great base for stir-fry that u expect to be spicy and sour