I have to say I am not a big fan of spicy food. But, sarawak laksa sure is an exception.
I had a friend who gave me some sarawak laksa paste approximately 4 months ago and that saves me a lot of work from having to make my laksa from scratch! Perhaps once I ran out of paste, then I will start to worry about the ingredients I am going to need to fetch for my laksa.
Above picture is the Sarawak laksa paste I used and it is still my favourite!
Even though you have the ready made sarawak laksa paste in hand, it does not mean that all you have to do is add water and that’s it. If all you do is add laksa paste and water alone, the concoction you have at the end will just taste spicy but flavourless.
Hence, I cannot stress enough the importance of making a good chicken and prawn stock to go with the laksa paste. A couple of spoonfuls of belacan makes the difference too.
So how do you make a good chicken and prawn stock? I tend to fry the prawn shells + heads then put them into a blender. Add the chicken broth into the blender.
and tada! blitz them into the above picture!
Add this into the chicken broth with bones and boil for an hour or so. You get a lovely prawn and chicken stock. You can stop here if you are making chicken kueh tiao soup. However for sarawak laksa stock, the difference is you add in laksa paste before you start boiling the soup for an hour. At the end, you add coconut milk plus a couple of spoonfuls of belacan to enhance the prawn flavour resulting in a heavenly soup! Don’t forget to sieve the stock twice to ensure no remaining small pieces of prawn shells.
I cook the chicken the same way I cook my chicken rice. After the chicken is done, I debone it (follow my previous deboning post) and bring these bones back to the stock pot to boil for the next hour.
This is the picture of the remaining laksa stock after ladling into bowls. Not much left but you can see how thick and creamy it is. Delicious!
Shredded egg at the front and shredded chicken meat behind.
Anyway now for the recipe adapted from tummies’ kitchen (http://3hungrytummies.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/sarawak-laksa-malaysian-monday-95.html):
For Laksa Broth you’ll need;
1) 250g of homemade Sarawak laksa paste. Unless you really really want to make the laksa paste from scratch, you can refer here: http://3hungrytummies.blogspot.co.uk/2011/11/secret-of-sarawak-laksa-paste-revealed.html
2) 1 corn fed chicken, size affects the timing of the simmering (1.2kg 30 minutes, 1.7kg 45 minutes)
3) 1kg of prawns (the more prawn shells you have the better…tastier broth)
4) 400ml of coconut milk
5) salt and pepper to taste
6) 2 tablespoons of belacan paste
7) Rice vermicelli, soaked in warm water for 10 minutes and drained.*
8) Bean sprouts, blanched for 5 seconds just before serving or can just serve fresh
9) young coriander leaves (coriander sprouts are usually used for this dish)
10) Eggs – beaten, seasoned and fry into thin omelet. Slice after. (After the eggs are cooked, I love to randomly thinly chopped the eggs rather than neat chopping)
11) Lime wedges to serve
*Cook vermicelli in boiling water for a minute and drain just before serving or depending on instructions on packet.
Bring 4L of water till boiling hot and add the whole chicken breast side down. Shut the lid immediately and turn the fire down to a simmer for 45 minutes (timing dependant on size of your chicken), remove chicken and submerge in cold water for 5 minutes.
Peel prawns but keep the tails intact, keep shells for stock. Fry the shells with 1-2 tbsp of oil till fragrant but not burnt. Put into blender with some chicken broth and blitz.
When the chicken is cool enough to handle, debone and keep bones for stock. (instructions available on previous post on how to debone chicken. Or do it the authentic sarawak laksa way which is just shred it with your fingers). Shred the deboned meat and cling film after to avoid the meat from becoming dry.
Return the chicken bones and blitz prawn shells together with the laksa paste to 3 L of the chicken cooking water, return to a boil and simmer for an hour.
While the laksa broth is simmering away, prepare the rest of the toppings.
Sieve broth to remove all prawn shells and bones. Bring the sieve stock back onto the stove and add coconut milk and cook for a further 5 minutes. Check for seasonings. Add belacan and taste. Adjust belacan and seasonings accordingly.
Place rice vermicelli, blanched bean sprouts, chicken, prawns and omelet then ladle some broth over. (I added some tofu pok as extra ingredient, but bear in mind that authentic sarawak laksa does not have tofu pok).
Top with coriander leaves and serve with a wedge of lime.
Squeeze a wedge of lime to two over, mix well and enjoy! Deliciously yummy!