There is a fair bit of preparation to this recipe, but it is totally worth it :)
Assam laksa is one of my favourite noodles, but I have stopped ordering it whenever we eat out because chances are all you'll get are loads of noodles and some watered down soup, with a few slivers of cucumber and pineapple.
Fffffish? I'd be happy if I can find a chunk that's bigger than my thumbNAIL.
So what's the next best solution?
You make your own.
This is actually my mum's recipe. Mum has always been an adventurous cook ie she is not one to follow a recipe to a T. She likes to
So when i saw mom's recipe list, I was like "Er mum, how come there is tom yam paste in the list?!" Mum gave me this "duhh...what's wrong with that" kinda look. LOL.
You can't taste the tom yam flavour at all, but it gives depth to the soup, plus a real sour kick, with the sweetness coming from the prawn paste and the fish meat.
Mum's right again!
Assam Laksa - with a Thai twist
To make the soup stock:-
- 2 cans (425g each) of sardines/mackerel in tomato sauce - yup, one shortcut here! forget about boiling fresh fish, forking the meat, straining the soup etc...
- 1 stalk bunga kantan, sliced
- 1 bunch chien hong leaves (daun kesum) - rinsed
- 2 stalks lemon grass, white parts only
- 1/2 bunch mint leaves (with stalks), rinsed.
- 4 pieces of dried tamarind
- 1 tsp tamarind paste
- 2 tsp belacan granules
- 1 tbpsn prawn paste
- tom yam paste 100g - I use Tesco homebrand
- 2.5 tbspn sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2.5 litre water
- 1 cucumber, skin on, grated
- pineapple pieces
- 1 large onion, sliced
- mint leaves, rinsed
- beansprouts (I love beansprouts in all my noodles, so i added it. This is purely optional), rinsed, blanched and set aside
- 1 packet of dried vermicelli (400g), soaked in tap water to soften, blanched and set aside
1. Pour out the fish and the tomato gravy into a deep bowl. Separate the fish from the sauce. Roughly fork the fish and divide into 2 bowls. Set aside the tomato gravy.
2. Bring the water to a boil and add all the ingredients for the soup stock. Add in the tomato gravy and 1 bowl of the fish meat. Reserve the other bowl of fish meat as topping.
3. Bring the soup to a boil and let simmer for half hour to 45 minutes, stirring occassionally. Season to taste. It should be slightly more sour and pungent as the taste will be a little bit diluted when the noodles are added.
4. Assemble the noodles and ladle the soup onto it. Add in the toppings and serve immediately.
|Tesco brand of Tom Yam paste, and bunga kantan|
To get the right kind of taste and fish texture for this laksa, i bought one tin each of the three leading brands of canned fish in the market - Ayam brand, King Cup and Yeo's.
Ayam brand is the priciest, followed by King Cup and Yeo's (both are almost similar in price). Not surprisingly, Ayam brand gives the biggest chunk of fish, the meat texture is soft, fresh and sweet.
King Cup's fish is slightly chunkier than Yeo's but both yield rather flaky and dry meat. Yeo's tomato gravy is the sweetest amongst the three, whilst the sauce for Ayam brand and King Cup tasted the same.
In summary, I would use Ayam brand for this laksa, and especially for making sandwiches as the meat is moist, soft and sweet.