Hawker Style Curry Laksa – Recipe

by Jason

When I spent time in Malaysia, there were a few things that I anxiously awaited to greet me in the morning; intense humidity and a bowl of noodles – more specifically, curry laksa. You would think this steamy bowl of spicy curry noodle soup is ideal for the bitter cold of the permafrost tundra during our eight-month long winter season, right? Wrong.

This fragrant and spicy noodle soup filled with shrimps and fishcake is one of those dishes that eat well in the heat. Why? Because it makes you sweat and actually cools you down. It raises your internal temperature to match the temperature outside – your blood circulation increases, you start sweating and once your moisture has evaporated, you’ve cooled off. With the seasons finally turning, I wanted to share with you my favourite laksa recipe I managed to lift of one of my favourite hawkers in m’sia.

laksa-9Many mornings I would watch the lady at the hawker stand prepare bowls upon bowls of this curry noodle in a constant rhythm, the cadence in which she blanched the noodles, dressed the bowl, down to her ladling the soup in and handing it to her husband (who sold steamed buns) to garnish was like a well choreographed dance. One morning I arrived at the hawker stalls early, before the breakfast rush and asked her to tech me how to make it. She laughed at me because she said it’s so simple to make.


laksaThe main component to this laksa is the curry paste – the lady obviously made her own. I don’t use red curry paste often enough to justify making my own so I buy it. Having tried various brands, this has become my favourite and is usually the one I use for most curry dishes (found at any Asian grocery store).

Ingredients
Curry:
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 can Maesri red curry paste
1 can coconut milk
1 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoon sugar
3 kafir lime leaves (optional)

For the bowl:
1/2 lb of ground pork (blanched)
5 tofu puffs (sliced in half)
Fish cake (sliced) or fish balls
Yellow chow mein noodles
Rice noodles
Shrimps (peeled and deveined)
Bean sprouts (washed and drained)
Lime wedges

laksa-3In your wok, or pot, heat up your oil and spoon in the entire can of curry paste and stir gently until fragrant (1). Add coconut milk, chicken stock and lime leaves and simmer for 15-20 mins.

laksa-4
Prepare your noodles according to the package. Drain and set aside. In a small pot, boil some water to blanch the ground pork. Break apart with a spoon and simmer for 5 minutes or until they pork is cooked, drain and set aside.

laksa-5
After your curry has been simmering for 15 mins, add the tofu puffs and fish cakes (or balls). Blanch your shrimp in the curry for 3 minutes, remove and set aside.

laksa-6
To assemble your bowl, add yellow noodles and rice noodles, top with shrimp, fish cakes, tofu puffs, fresh bean sprouts, ground pork and freshly sliced chili (optional) with a side of sliced limes and serve immediately.

laksa-11
One whole can of red curry paste may be a lot if you’re a wimp… I mean, if you can’t handle spiciness; I suggest start with half of the can then add the coconut milk and chicken stock. If you find it mild you can always add more, tasting along the way. A trick the hawker stand taught me was to add 2-3 tablespoons of heavy cream to the bottom of the bowl before you add your noodles. This will obviously take a little bit of the spicy edge off, but it also adds an incredible creaminess to the soup.

Tips:
(1) Don’t walk away! Once you can’t smell it anymore, it means you’ve burned the curry and will have to start over!

Having trouble finding a particular ingredient? Check out my Asian grocery store round up to find a market near you!

Hawker Style Curry Laksa – Recipe
Recipe Type: Noodles
Cuisine: Chinese
Author: Jason Lee
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4
This fragrant and spicy noodle soup filled with shrimps and fishcake is one of those dishes that eat well in the heat. Why? Because it makes you sweat and actually cools you down. It raises your internal temperature to match the temperature outside – your blood circulation increases, you start sweating and once your moisture has evaporated, you’ve cooled off. With the seasons finally turning, I wanted to share with you my favourite laksa recipe I managed to lift of one of my favourite hawkers in m’sia.
Ingredients
  • Curry
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 can Maesri red curry paste
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 kafir lime leaves (optional)
  • Assembling the bowl
  • 1/2 lb of ground pork (blanched)
  • 5 tofu puffs (sliced in half)
  • Fish cake (sliced) or fish balls
  • Yellow chow mein noodles
  • Rice noodles
  • Shrimps (peeled and deveined)
  • Bean sprouts (washed and drained)
  • Lime wedges
Instructions
  1. In your wok, or pot, heat up your oil and spoon in the entire can of curry paste and stir gently until fragrant (1). Add coconut milk, chicken stock and lime leaves and simmer for 15-20 mins.
  2. Prepare your noodles according to the package. Drain and set aside. In a small pot, boil some water to blanch the ground pork. Break apart with a spoon and simmer for 5 minutes or until they pork is cooked, drain and set aside.
  3. After your curry has been simmering for 15 mins, add the tofu puffs and fish cakes (or balls). Blanch your shrimp in the curry for 3 minutes, remove and set aside.
  4. To assemble your bowl, add yellow noodles and rice noodles, top with shrimp, fish cakes, tofu puffs, fresh bean sprouts, ground pork and freshly sliced chili (optional) with a side of sliced limes and serve immediately.
  5. Remain sexy
One whole can of red curry paste may be a lot if you’re a wimp… I mean, if you can’t handle spiciness; I suggest start with half of the can then add the coconut milk and chicken stock. If you find it mild you can always add more, tasting along the way.
A trick the hawker stand taught me was to add 2-3 tablespoons of heavy cream to the bottom of the bowl before you add your noodles. This will obviously take a little bit of the spicy edge off, but it also adds an incredible creaminess to the soup.

 

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1 comment

gene h April 25, 2014 - 4:02 pm

YES!!! ^)

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