Gallery: 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...

High-tech
High-tech

But in a modern kitchen, the blender is best.

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 garnish
To garnish

Mung bean sprouts, cucumber, slices of fish cake, hard-boiled eggs, shrimp, finely sliced laksa leaf (if you can find it), and the spicy chili sauce sambal for heat. (Recipe included!)

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.

And serve!
And serve!
20110801-laksa-primary.jpg
20110801-laksa-primary.jpg