Tuesday, February 23, 2010

#20 Shrimp Laksa

Shrimp Laksa

This soup is inspired by the traditional Penang laksa. It turns out, different regions have different views on what constitutes a laksa and how to make this delicious dish. Apparently, the most popular is the Curry laksa – a fragrant and spicy, coconut based broth to which noodles and all sorts of meat and vegetables are added. In Penang I learnt, what they call laksa is a clear fish soup, topped again with noodles and a few vegetables.
I was feeling adventurous and tried to make the stock using whole shrimps instead of fish. It was... different but really delicious!

To make 4 serving you will need:
For the stock:
1.5 l water
250 g tiny baby shrimps, like the ones shown here
a stick of lemon grass, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
2 cm fresh ginger, chopped
1 red chilli, chopped
½ tsp paprika
¼ tsp turmeric powder
10 mint leaves

To finish the soup:
250 g river cobbler, or any other white fish fillet, chopped into 2 cm squares
2 tbsp fish sauce
3 tbsp tamarind paste
1 tsp palm (or brown )sugar
250 g noodles
1 small cucumber, sliced
1 small onion, very finely sliced
lettuce leaves, sliced
a few mint leaves

Wash the shrimps very well in several changes of water. Put them in a big pan with the water and salt, bring to the boil and cook for 20 minutes.
Add the lemon grass, onion, ginger, chilli, mint leaves and the spices and continue cooking for half an hour.
Add the tamarind, fish stock, sugar, stir and take off the heat. Set aside to cool for a while.
Liquidise in a blender until very, very smooth.
Put it back into the pot and add some water if you find it’s too thick. Bring to a rolling boil, add the fish and cook for 5 minutes.
In another pan, cook the noodles, according to packet instructions.
To serve: Put some noodles in a bowl, top with stock and a few fish pieces and garnish with the chopped vegetables.

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