Laksa Lemak - Noodles in Spicy Coconut Milk Gravy Recipe

Laksa Lemak - Noodles in Spicy Coconut Milk Gravy Recipes

Ingredients :

1/2 cup oil

6 sprigs polygonum (daun kesum - in Malay words)

2 wild ginger buds, finely sliced

6 cups water

1.5 cups thick coconut milk

1 heaped tbsp sugar

salt to taste

500g (1 lb) thin fresh yellow noodles, or dried noodles, cooked and drained

150g (5 oz) beansprouts, blanched

1 chicken breast, steamed and shredded

100g (3.5 oz) peeled prawns, steamed


Spice paste -

8 red chilies

10 shallots

1 lemon grass

2 cm (3/4 inch) galangal

0.5cm (1/4 inch ) fresh turmeric

1/2 tsp dried shrimp paste


Garnish -

3 sprigs polygonum (daun kesum), sliced

1 wild ginger bud, finely sliced

1 cucumber, in matchstick shreds

3 eggs, beaten, made into thin omelettes and shredded

2 red chilies, sliced

2 spring onions, finely sliced

6 tbsp sambal belacan

6 small round limes or lemon wedges

Method :

Chop and blend all the spice paste ingredients finely, adding a little of the oil if necessary to keep the blades turning. Heat remaining oil and gently fry the blended ingredients for 10 minutes, stirring from time to time. Add the polygonum, ginger buds and water and bring to the boil. Add thick coconut milk, sugar and salt. Reduce heat and simmer very gently, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes.

To serve - Plunge noodle sin boiling water for a few seconds, to heat through. Divide the noodles, chicken, beansprouts and prawns between 6 individual noodle bowls and top with the shredded polygonum and ginger bud. Pour gravy on top and add a little cucumber, omelette, chilies and spring onion. Serve with the Sambal Belacan and cut limes in a separate dish.

Helpful hints - The gravy can be prepared in advance, and the garnishing ingredients readied although not sliced to ensure maximum fragrance and freshness. If fresh noodles are not available, use dried rice vermicelli (mee hoon) or any dried Chinese wheat-flour noodles.

This Nonya version of laksa, a spicy noodle dish, comes from Malacca (Melaka). Although it takes some time to prepare, it is well worth the effort.

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