This laska combines fresh ingredients with a commercial laksa paste, meaning a lot of the prep work is done for you. To make this recipe even easier, place the garnishes in the centre of the table, allowing diners to assemble their laksa to taste.
- 1½ tbsp dried shrimps
- 6–7 garlic cloves, chopped
- 4–5 eschallots, chopped
- 5–6 cm piece ginger, chopped
- 1–2 long red chillies, chopped, or to taste
- 80 ml (⅓ cup) vegetable oil
- 12 large green prawns, shells removed and reserved
- ⅓ cup laksa paste
- 1.5 litres (6 cups) chicken stock or water
- 400 ml coconut cream
- 12 fish balls
- 12 small fried tofu puffs, halved
- 1 tsp white sugar
- fish sauce, to taste
- 1–2 limes, juiced
- 200 g dried rice vermicelli noodles
- 200 g fresh egg noodles
- 200 g shredded poached chicken (poaching water can be used for the broth)
- bean sprouts
- finely sliced spring onion
- finely sliced long red chilli
- coriander leaves
- fried shallots
- lime wedges
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Soak shrimps in 125 ml (½ cup) hot water for 10 minutes then transfer the mixture to a food processor. Add the garlic, eschallots, ginger and chilli, and process until a smooth paste forms.
Place a large saucepan over high heat. Add the oil and reserved prawn shells and fry 1–2 minutes until the shells turn red. Remove with a slotted spoon. Add the blended paste to the oil and fry for 1 minute before adding the laksa paste. Fry for 2–3 minutes until fragrant, then add the stock and bring to the boil. Add the coconut cream and reduce heat to a simmer. Add the fish balls, tofu and sugar. Season with fish sauce, salt and lime juice to taste.
Bring another large saucepan of water to the boil. Cook the rice noodles and egg noodles, separately, for 2 minutes then transfer to a colander and rinse with cold water.
Add the prawns to the laksa, turn off the heat and allow to gently poach for 2–3 minutes until cooked through.
To serve, divide the noodles and prawns among bowls. Ladle over the broth and top with chicken, bean sprouts, spring onions, chilli, coriander, fried shallots and lime wedges.
• Dried shrimps, laksa paste, fish balls and tofu puffs are all available at Asian supermarkets.
Photography by Alan Benson