Eva & Debra’s curry laksa

This yummy laksa delivers real punch, jam-packed with traditional ingredients to treat tastebuds.

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

3 litres water
500g raw prawns, peeled and deveined, tails left on
4 Mount Barker boneless, skinless chicken thighs
125ml vegetable oil
800ml coconut cream
200g fried tofu puffs, halved
500g fresh hokkien egg noodles
500g packet dried rice vermicelli
200g bean sprouts
3 hard-boiled eggs, halved
100g fish cake, thinly sliced
1 bunch mint leaves
1 bunch vietnamese coriander (Laksa leaves)
salt, to taste

Laksa Paste

5 cm galangal, peeled and chopped
5 cm turmeric, peeled and chopped
250g french shallots, peeled
10 garlic cloves, chopped
15-20 dried red chillies, seeded then soaked in hot water for 30 minutes to soften (Depends on how hot you would like the laksa)
6 large fresh red chillies, seeded and chopped
10 candlenuts, roasted
50g dried shrimp, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes then drained
2 tablespoons belachan, toasted
2 lemongrass stalks, chopped

Method

Pour the water into a large stockpot and bring to the boil, then turn the heat down to a simmer, add the chicken and let it cook in the hot water for 20 minutes.

Remove the chicken, set aside to cool, then shred the chicken into small pieces.

Add the prawn heads and shell into a frying pan with oil. Fry until slightly brown and fragrant. Make sure to bash on the heads with a wooden turner to release all the flavours.

Add the prawn heads and shell to the pot and bring to the boil again. Reduce the heat to medium–low and simmer for 30-40 minutes. Scoop out the heads and discard them.

Meanwhile, put all the laksa paste ingredients in a food processor, and process to a fine paste. Add a bit of water to make the paste smooth.

Heat the vegetable oil in a frying pan over medium heat and fry the laksa paste for about 15–20 minutes. The paste should be dark brown and a layer of red oil will separate from the spices.

Add the cooked laksa paste to the stock, stirring to mix well.

Pour in the coconut cream and bring to the boil.

Season with salt

If the soup is too thick, add some water or prawn/chicken stock till the consistency is right. Note, don’t put too much otherwise it will dilute the taste.

Add the fried tofu puffs, then lower the heat and let the soup simmer until ready to serve.

Half fill another large pot with water and bring to the boil.

For each serve, grab a handful each of hokkien noodles and rice vermicelli, and a few prawns.

Put them into a wire mesh strainer or a sieve and dunk the noodles and prawns into the hot water for 1 minute.

Add a handful of bean sprouts to the strainer and blanch for a further 15 seconds, drain and shake off any excess water, then transfer to a serving bowl.

Top each bowl of noodles with half an egg, a few slices of fish cake and some shredded chicken, then ladle the hot laksa broth along with a few tofu puffs over the top.

Garnish with mint leaves and Vietnamese coriander. Serve with the reserved laksa paste on the side, to add to the soup as desired.