Laksa

A delightful Singaporean specialty. Combines a rich coconut gravy with fish and tofu

Ingredients:

3 long fat stalks of lemon grass, mincing only their tender hearts and reserving the rest of the stalks for another use
4 hot red chilies, discarding the stem and as many seeds as you wish to reduce the fire of the paste
4 slices of galangal (substitute ginger if you can't find this fresh) thumb-size lump of ginger
1 teaspoon shrimp paste
3 large cloves garlic
4 Tablespoons peanut oil
1 teaspoon ground tumeric
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup tamarind paste
1/2 pound noodles (thick or thin rice, wheat, or beanthread noodles are fine--rice noodles are most traditional)
4 cups cooked chicken
2 Tablespoons peanut oil
prepared spice paste (it's about a cup)
4 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup Asian basil (laksa leaf), chopped
1/4 cup nam pla (or other fish sauce)
1 can coconut milk (13.5 fl. ounces/400 ml.)
crisp bean sprouts
Asian basil
sambal or garlic-chili hot sauce
preserved carrots
julienne cucumber

Directions:

FIRST MAKE THE SPICE PASTE (days before is fine)

3 long fat stalks of lemon grass, mincing only their tender hearts and
reserving the rest of the stalks for another use
4 hot red chilies, discarding the stem and as many seeds as you wish to reduce
the fire of the paste
4 slices of galangal (substitute ginger if you can't find this fresh)
thumb-size lump of ginger
1 teaspoon shrimp paste
3 shallots, peeled and chopped
3 large cloves garlic
4 Tablespoons peanut oil
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
1 teaspoon ground tumeric
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup tamarind paste

Put the minced lemon grass hearts, chilies, galangal/ginger, shrimp paste, shallots,
garlic, and oil in a blender and liquify it into a speckled mush. Add the cilantro,
turmeric, sugar, and tamarind paste and blend at the highest speed until it is a
colorful but uniform paste. Scoop into a glass jar (it will stain plastic) and refrigerate
until you're ready to use.

NOW GET THE NOODLES AND CHICKEN READY:

1/2 pound noodles (thick or thin rice, wheat, or beanthread noodles are
fine--rice noodles are most traditional)
4 cups cooked chicken

Cook the noodles according to package directions, rinse, and set aside. Cut the
chicken in bitesize juicy cubes

THEN MAKE THE GRAVY

2 Tablespoons peanut oil
prepared spice paste (it's about a cup)
4 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup Asian basil (laksa leaf), chopped
1/4 cup nam pla (or other fish sauce)
1 can coconut milk (13.5 fl. ounces/400 ml.)

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat, then stir in the paste--and
keep stirring until it is a little browned (don't burn!), about 3 minutes. Pour in the
chicken stock, bring to a boil, then reduce heat, stir in herbs and fish sauce, and
simmer for 5 minutes. When you're ready to begin assembly, stir in the coconut milk
and bring to a simmer.

GET THE GARNISHES READY (your choice how many)

crisp bean sprouts
Asian basil
sambal or garlic-chili hot sauce
preserved carrots
julienne cucumber

TIME FOR FINAL ASSEMBLY!

1. Divide the noodles among the large bowls.
2. Arrange the chicken over the noodles
3. Pour the gravy over all
4. Either arrange garnishes on top or pass them separately

See other recipes submitted by Trudy L