Penang Asam (Assam) Laksa Recipe

Penang Asam (Assam) Laksa Recipes

Ingredients :

600g (1.25 lb) small Chubb mackerel (in Malay - ikan kembong)

1.5 liters (6 cups) water

5 tbsp tamarind pulp, soaked and squeezed for juice

2 wild ginger buds, sliced

3 sprigs polygonum (in Malay - daun kesum), sliced

1/2-1 tbsp sugar, to taste

600g (1.25 lb) fresh coarse rice noodles (laksa)


Spice paste -

5 shallots

2 lemon grass

2.5 cm (1 inch) fresh turmeric

3 dried red chilies, soaked in warm water

6 fresh red chilies

1 tsp dried shrimp paste


Garnish -

1 cucumber, peeled and shredded

6 sprigs polygonum (in Malay - daun kesum), sliced

few sprigs mint, torn

3 large red onions, sliced

3 red chilies, sliced

1/2 fresh pineapple, cut in shreds

small bowl of black prawn paste (shrimp paste)

Method :

Simmer the cleaned whole fish in water until cooked. Remove fish, cool, and remove the flesh from the bones. Break up the fish. Strain the stock carefully and return to a large pan with the fish, tamarind juice, ginger bud, polygonum and sugar.

Blend the spice paste ingredients finely and add to the fish stock. Simmer for 20-30 minutes.

Prepare all garnish ingredients. Blanch the noodles in boiling water, drain and divide between 6 bowls. Pour over the fish stock and garnish the top of each bowl. Allow diners to add the black prawn paste themselves, as the taste is rather pungent.

Helpful hints - If Chubb mackerel is not available, choose another well-flavored fish to ensure the soup has its characteristic fishy taste.

There are two definite groups within Malaysia - those whose favorite is Laksa Lemak, a spicy noodle soup bathed in coconut milk gravy, and those who prefer the sour, fragrant Penang version, which has a pronounced fishy flavor. Try both and see which group you fall into.

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