Curry in a hurry…..
One of my favourite dishes has to be laksa, I’ve eaten versions of it in its spiritual homes of Malaysia and Singapore, often quite different, always quite wonderful.
A laksa is essentially a one dish meal of noodles and seafood, variations on a theme abound as fusion cookery took its course but essentially it should be fish and noodles in a cross between a soup and a curry.
Different regions cook different versions, in Singapore you are likely to find a laksa made with coconut milk; rich, creamy and satisfying whilst Malaysian’s leave out the coconut and cook something more akin to a red/brown curry. Laksa Lemak is a classic laksa, full of strong flavours such as red chilli, dried shrimp, lemongrass and laos powder. It also features one of my favourite Asian herbs Vietnamese Coriander which is an essential flavouring, use fresh coriander if you can’t get hold of any.
The paste used in a laksa is the building block upon which the rest of the dish is assembled, unlike other curry pastes it is not as time consuming but a little attention whilst making it will pay dividends later.
Here’s a recipe for Singapore laksa paste, you can use it in other ways if you wish. It can be used as the base for a curry recipe or make a note of it until I post a recipe for Singapore laksa in a day or two, I’ll give you the recipe for the paste now as it can be made in advance and will give you time to get hold of the ingredients plus it prevents this post from being longer and more boring than you might already be finding it…
Singapore Laksa/Laksa Lemak Spice Paste
2 chopped small onions
4 cloves of crushed garlic
1 tbsp crushed blanched candle nuts (or blanched plain peanuts)
2 tbsp soaked dried shrimp
2 bulbs of fresh lemongrass finely chopped
2 tbsp chopped fresh galangal or fresh ginger
1 tsp shrimp paste
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp ground turmeric
2 tsp ground coriander
Put the lot into a food blender and blitz until smooth, you may need to add a little vegetable oil to help it all come together. Scrape the sides of the bowl down and blend again. Put in a bowl and refrigerate until required.