There are many kinds of laksa available on the market. Penang is famous for it’s Penang Laksa and the secret lays with the bunga kantan (ginger flower / torch ginger) they use.
Laksa comes from the sanskrit language meaning ” 1000 ingredients ” and the best places to get the best laksa in town is at a hawker stall in Singapore or Penang. You can get a ready-made packet Laksa paste to shorten your time of preparation. My favourite was using Pong’s Katong Laksa paste. However, you may make the paste yourself too.
Ingredients: (makes 2)
200g PONG’s Katong Laksa
400ml Coconut Milk
100ml Condense Milk
1 teasp. Sugar
*If you don’t have the laksa paste, make your own.
6-8 fresh prawns (peeled and shelled, leaving the tails on)
1 hardboiled egg
100g pork (optional)
150g fried Tofu, sliced
100g boiled chicken (optional)
200-250g Laksa noodles (rice flour noodles without eggs!)
2-3 Stalks of mint leaves
Boil the water in a pot. Once boiling, add laksa paste and continue simmering for 10 mins. Lower heat. Add coconut and condense milk, carefully stiring all the time, making sure that the gravy now does not boil. Add sugar and salt to taste. Let it simmer very softly for another 10 mins. In the meantime, boil the eggs and slice, blanch the beansprouts for 2 mins, boil the noodles (do not overcook!) and lastly boil your prawns, either in the gravy itself, or separately. Put all this in a serving bowl.
Make sure that the gravy is hot (but not boiling) when you pour the gravy over the noodles. Serve immediately and hot, and enjoy!
* Making your own laksa paste:
- 2 big onions
- 4 cloves garlic
- 6 candlenuts
- 5 cm ginger
- 4 big red chillies (depending on how spicy you’d want it to be)
- 2 tablespoons of dried prawns, soaked to soften
- 1 tsp shrimp paste (belacan)
- 2 lemon grass
- bunga kantan (torch ginger)
- 6 cups chicken stock
- salt sugar
- tamarind juice
Blend all the ingredients in a blender, with a little bit of water. Heat an oiled pan, stir fry the remaining shells and head husks from the prawns. After a few minutes, remove the shells and husks from the oil. You’ve got now a good prawn base for the laksa paste. Add in all the blended ingredients and fry till fragrant. Add chicken stock and simmer. After 10 mins, follow the instructions as above starting from adding coconut/condense milk, etc. (do not add another 1l of water!)
Originating from the land of the Assam laksa, she is home-based in Germany. Authentic Asian cooking challenges her to bring fond foodie memories of home in her kitchen.