Slideshow: Snapshots from Malaysia: How to Make Curry Laksa (Nyonya Laksa)

The setup
The setup
Like so many Malaysian soups and curries, laksa starts with a spice paste of chilis, shallots, lemongrass, tumeric, ginger, belacan (shirmp paste), and candlenut.
Chop chop
Chop chop
All chopped roughly before a quick whirl in the blender.
Low-tech
Low-tech
Traditionally, the spice paste was mashed with a mortar and pestle. That's a still a good method for things like the chili-lime condiment sambal, for which a slightly rougher texture is preferred...
Cook it
Cook it
That spice paste is heated with oil and left to fry, developing and concentrating the flavors.
Starting to darken
Starting to darken
The spice paste will start to darken dramatically as it cooks. Only at this point do you add stock (prawn or chicken) to form a broth, and bring to a boil; last, the coconut milk is added, along with tofu puffs, just before serving to heat through.
You'll also need
You'll also need
Yellow mee and vermicelli.
To prepare
To prepare
On a base of the two kinds of noodles, layer the fish balls and mung bean sprouts...
Pour it on
Pour it on
Then pour over the laksa broth...
And top
And top
With shredded cucumber and coconut and cooked shrimp.