Penang Laksa
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Penang Laksa

About this recipe: This sweet and sour noodle soup dish is popular both in Malaysia and Singapore. This recipe comes from my friend Sharon's Peranakan mother. Buy the freshest fish you can find so the dish doesn't taste fishy.

Pat Central Region, Singapore

Ingredients

Serves: 8 

  • 500g laksa noodles, cooked, rinsed and drained
  • 1 kg ikan parang, ikan kembong or ikan tengirri (all from the mackerel family)
  • Stock ingredients
  • 1 litre water
  • 8 to 10 pieces assam gelugor (sometimes called tamarind skins)
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 6 laksa leaves (daun kesum)
  • 2 pink ginger flower (bunga kantan) stems, bruised (reserve the buds for garnish)
  • Spice paste (rempah) ingredients
  • 3 stalks lemongrass, trimmed and chopped
  • 1 (5 cm) piece turmeric, peeled
  • 8 fresh red chillies (or to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon belacan (shrimp paste)
  • Garnish ingredients
  • 5 fresh red chillies, sliced
  • 2 pink ginger flower buds, sliced finely just before serving
  • 1 fresh pineapple, cored (add to stock) and shredded
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and shredded
  • Handful of mint leaves
  • 3 tablespoons heiko (black prawn paste), mixed with hot water to make a drizzling sauce

Directions

Prep:30min  ›  Cook:1hr  ›  Ready in:1hr30min 

  1. Steam the fish until opaque and the flesh flakes off easily with a fork, about 10 minutes. When the fish is cool, remove the flesh from the bones and set aside. Reserve the “juice”, i.e. the water that accumulates on the plate that the steamed fish sits on.
  2. In a large pot, combine the water, assam gelugor, sugar and salt. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, using a mortar and pestle or a food processor, grind the spice paste ingredients into a smooth paste. Add to the pot.
  4. Add the laksa leaves, the stems of the pink ginger flowers, and the pineapple core to the stock. Simmer uncovered for 30 minutes to reduce and intensify the flavor. Strain and discard the solids.
  5. Add the cooked, flaked fish meat and the fish "juice" to the stock. With the fish meat added, it should be a light gravy-like consistency. Taste and adjust seasonings, if desired. Keep the gravy hot over a low heat on the stove for serving.
  6. To serve, put a handful of laksa noodles in a metal strainer and immerse in a pot of boiling water to scald the noodles for half a minute. Drain and put into a bowl.
  7. Pour a ladleful of gravy over the noodles, making sure to scoop up some fish meat. Garnish as desired and serve with heiko.

Make ahead

Steam the fish and boil the noodles a day ahead to cut down on cooking time the day you want to serve this dish.

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