For my first complete meal in the Royal Selangor Get Your Jelly On challenge , I present you my favourite dinner, lunch or even breakfast soup: laksa lemak. You probably thought, how does one present laksa in a jelly cone – is it jellified? I considered it, but couldn’t quite visualise it… so I used the mould to give my vermicelli a fancy shape.
Rich in colour and fragrance the soup has a great depth of flavours that lingers on after every spoonful and all you want to do is dive in for another sip. I like my laksa spicy, I think it needs to be. And while I like a little extra lime juice in mine and often use wheat angel hair spaghetti instead of rice vermicelli or mee (egg noodles), I stick with the traditional fillings of prawns, tofu and sometimes hardboiled egg.
Since for me laksa lemak is a comfort food, I like to spend a little extra time in the kitchen to craft the paste from scratch, about 10 minutes extra. I find the flavours of this paste quite good and the level of spice which I like to be around 7/10 can be easily adjusted to cater for everyone. And then there is the lemak, or coconut milk, which lends the soup an exotic flavour, tones down the heat a little and makes the broth more voluminous.
My mouth is watering already, luckily I have some leftovers for breakfast!
Don’t forget, each comment on the Royal Selangor Get Your Jelly On challenge posts on my blog (Day 1, Day 2, etc) is your entry to win an Olympus VG-110 camera. Giveaway is open worldwide! Entries close October 30, midnight AEST. Winner will be announced on the blog on October 31.
Prawn and tofu laksa lemak from scratch
There are a lot if ingredients, but it’s more or less one of those throw everything together recipes. I love it because it contains no additives, preservatives or MSG often found in pre-made laksa pastes. Plus both the ingredients and flavours can be adjusted for spiciness and various allergies or dietary requirements.
For the laksa paste:
- 3cm long piece of fresh galangal, julienned
- 8 coriander seeds
- 1 tbsp dried tumeric
- 2 garlic cloves, sliced
- 1/2 long red chilli or to taste, de-seeded and chopped
- 1 tsp dried shrimp
For the laksa:
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 2 sprigs spring onion, chopped
- 2 lemongrass sticks, leaves peeled and white part only
- 6 kaffir lime leaves, julienned
- 1/4 cup coriander leaves and sprigs
- juice of 1/2 large lime (or of 1 whole small lime)
- 1/2 red long chilli, seeds removed
- 1 tbsp peanut oil for frying
To make the noodles:
- 2 cups rice vermicelli noodles, cooked
- 1/2 cup coriander (cilantro) leaves
- a few slices of a red long chilli, chopped finely
- 10 large prawns, cooked peeled
- 1/2 cup bean sprouts
- 1 small lime, halved
- (hard boiled egg, tofu puffs or tofu)
To make paste: place coriander seeds in a medium saucepan (the same as you will use for the curry). Place saucepan over medium heat and toast for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and into a mortar and pestle. Add dried shrimps. Grind until both are powdered. Add garlic, galangal and chilli and continue grinding all of the ingredients into a smooth paste.
To make the noodles: prepare rice vermicelli according to packet instructions. Once ready, add chopped coriander and chilli to the noodles and mix.
Spray the inside of the moulds with some oil spray. Place moulds into mugs so that they are upright. Fill moulds with noodles and allow to set while you prepare the soup.
To make the laksa: heat oil in the saucepan and fry off the spring onions. Add paste, stir for 2 minutes. Add stock, kaffir lime leaves, coriander, sugar and juice of half a lime, inlcuding the skin. Bring to the boil then simmer for 15 minutes for the flavours to develop. Add coconut milk to the sauce and simmer for a further 5 minutes. Remove all lemongrass, coriander, lime, spring onions and kaffir lime leaves with a slotted spoon and discard. Return laksa to the heat just before serving.
To serve: flip the moulds into the base of wide-bottomed bowls and release the noodles. Pour piping hot laksa all around the noodles, add cooked prawns (sliced cooked egg, tofu or tofu puffs) and garnish with some fresh bean sprouts and extra coriander if you wish. Squeeze half a small lime onto the noodles, then mix it all in and enjoy!