I am always intrigued by Malaysian cuisine, as it has evolved from various cultures over the years. It combines the spices from India, China and Thailand. It is so versatile yet unique in it’s own way. A taste close to home yet not. Here is one of the easiest and house special Laksa soup. It is very warming and comforting bowl of goodness on a cold evening. You can use chicken, seafood, fried tofu or all of them in this soup but I am going with seafood and vegetables.
For the Laksa Paste:
1 chopped onion
5 -6 cloves of garlic
a big chunk of ginger or galangal
2 big tbsp of turmeric
3 to 4 dried (or fresh) red chillies (add less if you like)
2 sticks of lemongrass
1tsp shrimp paste (optional but preferable)
For the Soup:
Handful of cauliflower florets
Handful of chopped spring greens
Handful of beansprouts
1 fillet of cod
1 tin coconut milk
2 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp sugar
2 to 3 tsp of fish sauce (or salt to taste)
Few drops of soy sauce (optional)
Blitz the ingredients together with water to form a nice yellowish paste. Add more turmeric if it isn’t bright yellow.
In a pan, heat the oil. Add the paste and cook it thoroughly for 5 minutes or until the oil separates. Then add cauliflower and water. Cook until the cauliflower is al dente and then throw in the greens and bean sprouts along with the fish. Add all the seasonings (fish sauce, sugar, lime juice and soy sauce). Once the fish is cooked, remove the fish separately. Last step is to add the coconut milk and let it simmer for just a few minutes. Make sure the vegetables are not overcooked.
Serve hot on a bed of rice noodles or jasmine rice. Garnish with fresh coriander.
Tip: If using shrimp paste, please remember to taste as you cook. Shrimp paste is very salty so be careful with the rest of the seasoning.