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Laksa Lemak


Laksa Lemak, also known as nyonya laksa, is a type of laksa with a rich coconut gravy. Lemak is a culinary description in the Malay language which specifically refers to the presence of coconut milk which adds a distinctive richness to a dish. As the name implies, it is made with a rich, slightly sweet and strongly spiced coconut gravy. Laksa lemak is usually made with a fish-based gravy (with vegetarian food stalls omitting fish) and is heavily influenced by Thai laksa (Malay: Laksa Thai), perhaps to the point that one could say they are one and the same.

Laksa Lemak
Laksa lemak is usually made with a fish-based gravy (with vegetarian food stalls omitting fish) and is heavily influenced by Thai laksa (Malay Laksa Thai), perhaps to the point that one could say they are one and the same.
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For the spice paste
  1. 8 red chillies
  2. 10 shallots
  3. 1 stalk lemongrass
  4. 3 cm piece galangal
  5. ½ cm length of fresh turmeric (or ½ teaspoon turmeric powder)
  6. ½ teaspoon dried shrimp paste (belachan)
For the Laksa
  1. 6 sprigs laksa leaves (Vietnamese mint)
  2. 1½ litres water
  3. 360 ml thick coconut milk
  4. 1 heaped tablespoon palm sugar
  5. salt, to taste
  6. 500 g fresh yellow noodles (or dried rice vermicelli, cooked and drained)
  7. 150 g beansprouts, root ends removed, blanched for 1 minute in boiling water
  8. 1 chicken breast, steamed to cook, and shredded
  9. 100 g peeled prawns, steamed to cook
To garnish
  1. 3 sprigs laksa leaves, shredded
  2. 1 cucumber shredded
  3. 3 eggs, cooked as a thin omelette, folded over and shredded
  4. 2 red chillies, thinly sliced into rings
  5. 2 spring onions, finely sliced into rings
  6. 6 tablespoons sambal belacan
  7. 6 lime wedges
Instructions
  1. Begin with the spice paste. Combine the red chillies, shallots, lemongrass, galangal, turmeric and shrimp paste in a food processor.
  2. Pulse to chop then blend to a paste (add oil as necessary).
  3. Heat a little oil in your wok, add the spice pasta and fry gently for about 10 minutes, stirring gently from time to time.
  4. Add the laksa leaves and water and bring the mixture to a boil.
  5. Stir in the coconut milk, palm sugar and season to taste.
  6. Bring back to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook gently, uncovered, for about 12 minutes.
  7. Divide the cooked noodles, beansprouts and shredded chicken between six deep serving bowls.
  8. Top with the shredded laksa leaves then ladle over the soup mixture.
  9. Garnish with the cucumber, omelette strips, chilli rings and spring onions.
  10. Serve accompanied by the sambal belacan and the lime wedges.
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