Laksa is a popular spicy noodle soup from Peranakan culture, which is a merger of Chinese and Malay elements found in Malaysia and Singapore. Laksa paste can be found in supermarkets
But nothing can beat laksa from stalls especially Chinese stalls. You want the best? Go Penang!
Wanna try your own?
FIRST MAKE THE SPICE PASTE
3 long fat stalks of lemon grass, mincing only their tender hearts and reserving the rest of the stalks for another use
4 hot red chilies, discarding the stem and as many seeds as you wish to reduce the fire of the paste
4 slices of galangal (substitute ginger if you can't find this fresh)
thumb-size lump of ginger
1 teaspoon shrimp paste
3 shallots, peeled and chopped
3 large cloves garlic
4 Tablespoons peanut oil
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup tamarind paste
Put the minced lemon grass hearts, chilies, galangal/ginger, shrimp paste, shallots, garlic, and oil in a blender and liquify it into a speckled mush. Add the cilantro, turmeric, sugar, and tamarind paste and blend at the highest speed until it is a colorful but uniform paste. Scoop into a glass jar (it will stain plastic) and refrigerate until you're ready to use.
NOW GET THE NOODLES AND CHICKEN READY:
1/2 pound noodles (thick or thin rice, wheat, or bean thread noodles are fine--rice noodles are most traditional)
4 cups cooked chicken Cook the noodles according to package directions, rinse, and set aside. Cut the chicken in bite size juicy cubes
THEN MAKE THE GRAVY
2 Tablespoons peanut oil
prepared spice paste (it's about a cup)
4 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup Asian basil (laksa leaf), chopped
1/4 cup nam pla (or other fish sauce)
1 can coconut milk (13.5 fl. ounces/400 ml.) Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat, then stir in the paste--and keep stirring until it is a little browned (don't burn!), about 3 minutes. Pour in the chicken stock, bring to a boil, then reduce heat, stir in herbs and fish sauce, and simmer for 5 minutes. When you're ready to begin assembly, stir in the coconut milk and bring to a simmer.
GET THE GARNISHES READY (your choice how many)
crisp bean sprouts
sambalor garlic-chili hot sauce
julienne cucumber TIME FOR FINAL ASSEMBLY!
1. Divide the noodles among the large bowls.
2. Arrange the chicken over the noodles
3. Pour the gravy over all
4. Either arrange garnishes on top or pass them separately