My mum, who was born and bred in Katong, is pretty well known for her Nyonya Laksa and even movie stars like Joan Chen crave for it when ever she steps into town.
So here it goes. If you use cheap ass ingredients or skip a step, it won't be right. If you live somewhere with no fresh coconut milk, you MUST move out to another town that has it! Lastly, if you pass this recipe around I will kill you. Just between you and me, Chef Jean Georges ( who incidentally opened the Restaurant at the Hotel Meriedian in Singapore ) came by before he opened up Spice Market in NYC and got this recipe from me. So feel good about it, as only you and the 3 star chef has it. That's about it folks.
My Mom’s Nonya Laksa Recipe
Ingredients for Rempah/ Spice Paste
2 thumb size pieces of fresh turmeric/ kunyit, peeled
10 slices of galangal
25 pieces dried red chilies, soaked in water to soften (or 1/2 to 3/4 packet of the ground chili paste of a large packet)
7 candlenuts (buah keras/ kimiri)
2 tablespoon of belachan/ terasi
400 gm shallots (small onion)
6 stalks of lemongrass/ serai, tender white part only, chopped
1 tbsp of ground coriander
*60 gm of dried prawn, soaked in water for 30 minutes and then ground fine.
This is NOT TO BE INCLUDED IN THE GRINDER WITH THE OTHER INGREDIENTS. THIS IS TO BE GROUND SEPERATELY FOR FRYING LATER.
Method for cooking Rempah/ Spice Paste
Grind all the ingredients for the Rempah first.
Heat up wok with about 250ml of oil and fry ground Rempah for about 1/2 hour to 45 minutes in low fire. Remove from heat and cool.
*Add the ground-dried prawns at this stage and keep frying. Also add the last bit of water that was used to the prawns. Use about 1 to 2 cups of each. The secret in cooking this lies in having patience.
As you are frying, add a tablespoon at a time, the thick coconut milk until 1/2 of that quantity is used (please reserve the other 1/2). By this time, also add 4 stalks of Daun kesom and keep stirring. Slowly add the thin coconut milk and keep stirring to make sure that no lumps form. Let this soup boil (while continuously stirring) for about 30 minutes and add salt to taste. The final step is to add the remaining thick coconut milk to thicken the soup. Do this on medium heat for a few minutes and then switch off fire. DO NOT COVER POT!
Ingredients for Garnishing:
700 gms bean sprouts (blanched in hot water for exactly 1 minute, then transfer to iced water bowl)
1.5 kg fresh rice vermicelli (Laksa noodles)
1 kg big tiger prawns (cooked and shelled) reserve 1 to 2 cups of water from pot for Laksa soup
1 or 2 cucumber (skinned, remove seeds in center, then julienne)
2 ozs. Daun kesom (polygomun or ram-ram), which needs to be cut into hair-like slivers
2 oz bean thread soak in boiling water
200 gms ground red chili (Separately, grind chili and add salt to taste. Place in a bowl for people to help themselves)
Fish cake (pleeeeze buy the premium one and not the cheap horrid chewy ones)
Coconut milk (Please make FRESH, not blooming packet things!):
1.5kg to 2kg fresh grated coconut (reserve the liquid from inside the coconut)
3 liters of filtered water
First squeeze without water for thick coconut milk, then second squeeze with water.
THIS RECIPE SERVES 10 PEOPLE OR 5 BIG PEOPLE OR 20 JAPANESE.
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