Posted on 26th July 2009
Ta dah! My first attempt at authentic Malacca nyonya laksa.
Blame the low quality picture on my digicam. It's time to get a new camera?
Anyways, recipe for this coming right up! :)
Well, firstly let me credit my grandma for handing down this recipe to me. But as you all may have known, my grandma has no hard and fast rule about the exact quantum of each ingredients. It's based on years and years of experience in the kitchen. So how did she 'hand down' this recipe to me? By walking me through the whole process once a couple of months back. I was like watching live TV on AFC.
Anyways, my attempt to recreate exactly the nyonya laksa is pale in comparison to my grandma's nyonya laksa which I grew up eating and loving. However, it's nearly there and I do believe that one day, perhaps years and years in the future, I am able to replicate something similar to hers!
Recipe for Authentic Malacca Nyonya Laksa
Ingrediant A : For Chili Paste
10 - 12 dried chilies (soaked in warm water for it to soften, remove seeds if you want it to be less spicy)
5 candle nuts [Buah keras]
1 - 1.5 inch of gelengal/wild ginger [Lengkuas] [Can be substitute with ginger, but will not taste as good]
1 whole garlic
12 - 15 pieces of shallots
3 lemon grass, trim the leaves [Serai]
1 - 1 1/2 tablespoon of dried shrimp paste, toasted [Belacan]
1 - 1 1/2 tablespoon of fresh turmeric root (or turmeric powder) [Kunyit]
A few pieces of chili padi (if you want it to be extra spicy)
Ingrediant B : For Rich Laksa Gravy
1.5 liters of coconut milk (equivalent to 2 coconut) [Santan] [Can be substitute with milk, but will not taste as good]
1 - 1.5 liters of chicken stock
Fresh shrimps (optional)
Beancurd puff [Taukey]
Noodles (you have a choice of rice noodles [bee hoon], yellow egg noodles [mee], flat noodles [keuy teow] or for a healthier alternative, you can try using spaghetti)
Shredded blanched chicken, or you may want to use a whole chicken thigh
Hard boiled eggs, halved, unshelled
Cockles, blanched with boiling water, unshelled [See hang]
Bean sprout, slightly blanched with boiling water [Taugay]
Cucumber (sliced thinly)
Vietnamese mint leaves, cut finely (as garnish) [Daun kesung]
1. Grind ingredient A into a blender until you get a fine chili paste.
2. Heat up wok with oil and fry the chili paste until fragrant*.
3. Add in coconut milk and let it simmer for a while.
4. Throw in the shrimp, fishball and fishcake. Add chicken stock and some salt to taste.
5. Leave it to boil, and lastly add in the beancurd puff and switch off the fire.
6. In a bowl, arrange all the cordiments (according to individual preference). Pour hot laksa gravy over.
7. Enjoy! :)
*This is very crucial - if the chili paste is not fried till fragrant, your laksa gravy will not taste that good. To know if the paste is fragrant, the oil will separate [keluar minyak]. It took about 5 - 7 minutes for my paste to turn fragrant, but then again, this very much depends on the type of wok used and the temperature of the fire.
FYI : Apparently, Nyonya Laksa (also spelt as Nonya Laksa) is also known as Laksa Lemak or Laksa Siam (in Penang)
New updates (30th May 2011)
So I've tried experimenting and tweaking with his recipe a couple of days ago. And from that experiment, I've learned this.
One, you can always substitute coconut milk with the healthier milk (be it fresh milk, UHT milk, etc), but it doesn't really bring out the flavor as much as a coconut milk could. If you can, get freshly squeezed coconut milk, but if you can't, those in the pack that you can get off the shelves will do.
Two, it will taste better if you could bruise some Vietnamese mint including stalk [just crush them by using the back of your knife] and add them to the gravy, just about 5 minutes prior to switching off the fire. The aroma of the Vietnamese mint will infuse with the gravy, giving a really nice, aromatic flavor. However, you may also want to add freshly chopped ones as a garnish as well [this is when you serve], to give it the fresh, herby taste.
Three, you may want to reduce the proportion of chicken stock and increase the proportion of coconut/milk accordingly. The thing is, I’ve tried to experiment with milk, and it does taste way creamier (in a good way!). However, am not sure if too much coconut milk can overkill the gravy! It's all up to preference, I suggest you experiment, tweak and modify the recipe to your tastebuds' fancy.
Four, with this gravy (and also as with all other coconut-based curry), you may want to leave it overnight. So if you intend to serve it for lunch, cook the gravy the night before, and keep it refrigerated. Heat it up the next morning, and it is ready to be served. I swear to you that it taste so much better, so much more flavorful and thicken. If there are leftover gravy, worry not, as you can deep freeze the gravy in the freezer and it can be kept for weeks/months. Again, the flavor just intensifies the longer you keep it, and you will love it even more! :)
No better quality pictures, as we were all hungry and wolfed down everything before I remember to snap one! :)
Updated 6/10/11 - IPhone pic from Dan Wong when we invited the guys over for YA cell.