This recipe is adapted from a recipe from my friend, Tammy Kang, whom I used to work with in Kuala Lumpur. We used to love seeking out all the best “makan” joints – street foods being on top of our list. Laksa is really the king of street foods. Laksa Johor is my all-time favorite of the laksa family. We use many different kinds of fragrant herbs like kaffir lime leaves and if you can get it, bunga kantan, a pink ginger flower bud, and of course, laksa leaves, or more commonly known in the US as Rau Ram.
Chef’s tip: Instead of using a ikan kurau masin (salted dried fish), I use the bacalhao salted cod which is more easily found here and offers just as much sweetness and umami flavors.
½ lb salted cod
½ teaspooon kosher salt
1 lb cod
10 dried Japanese chilies or 5 fresh red jalapeno
1 inch of ginger
1 inch of galangal
1 inch fresh tumeric
1 tablespoon roasted belachan
½ teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoon dried shrimp, soaked
3 tablespoon toasted desiccated coconut
¼ cup of canola oil for frying
3 cups coconut milk
3 pieces of lemongrass, bruised
5 stalks laksa leaves
3-4 cups fish or chicken broth
1 Tablespoon kosher salt
1 cup of shredded English cucumber
1 red jalapeno
½ red onion
1 cup of fresh pineapples
1 cup of mint leaves, whole
2 tablespoons laksa leaves, finely minced
1 Tablespoon ginger flower, finely minced
8 oz spaghetti, some salt and olive oil
1 lime, quartered
Preparing the salted cod:
1. Soak the salt cod for a couple of hours. Change the water if needed.
2. Remove the bones and mince the fish fine. Soak the dried shrimp for at least an hour.
Preparing the fish:
3. Salt the fish. Steam the fish until opaque and cooked through, about 10 minutes.
4. When cooled, remove bones and skin. Coarsely flake the fish with a fork.
Preparing the spice paste:
5. Grind together spice paste ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Set aside.
6. Grind dried shrimp, salt cod, and toasted desiccated coconut into fine flakes.
Preparing the laksa soup base:
7. Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat until just hot. Stir in spice paste. Stir constantly, until the red oil separates from the spice paste about 8 to 10 minutes. Add fish mince.
8. Lower the heat, slowly add coconut milk, lemon grass, tamarind slices, laksa leaves, chicken broth and bring to a slow simmer, stirring constantly. Simmer for at 20-30 minutes. Salt to taste. Remove tamarind, lemongrass and laksa leaves. Add flaked fish.
Preparing the vegetables:
9. Finely julienne cucumber and jalapeno. Slice the onion. Cut pineapples into small wedges. Chiffonade the laksa leaves and ginger flower.
10. Beat eggs with a pinch of salt. Make thin omelets. Slice them into ¼ inch strips.
Preparing the noodles
11. Bring a pot of water to boil. Boil spaghetti till el dente. Drain.
12. Place a serving of noodles, vegetables, herb, eggs in bowls and ladle laksa broth over.
13. Serve with quartered limes and sambal.
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