My best friend E’lain was born and raised in Singapore … thank goodness! Over the last ten years, I’ve been lucky enough to visit Singapore with her and eat like a true Singaporean. I love the upscale hawker markets with their lane upon lane and stall upon stall of the best food Asia has to offer. One dish I’ll always hunt out like a bloodhound is a Malaysian laksa. As far as I’m concerned, this dish is the princess of the curry world: polite, fragrant, simple and modest. The flavours are a perfect blend of coconut and light spice, and even the chilli is a mere hint. Nothing like you’d find in a king balti. For any curry virgins out there, I urge you to add this dish to your repertoire.
|1 tsp||rice bran oil or vegetable oil|
|3cm||fresh galangal, peeled and finely chopped, or 2 tsp from a jar|
|2cm||piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped|
|2 cloves||of garlic, peeled and finely chopped|
|1 stalk||of lemon grass, trimmed and finely chopped|
|2||fresh red chillies, split lengthways|
|1 tsp||curry powder|
|2||Kaffir lime leaves|
|2||small tomatoes, roughly chopped into 2cm chunks|
|200ml||hot vegetable stock|
|1 x 400ml tin||of light coconut milk|
|150g||skinless salmon fillet, chopped into rough 2cm chunks|
|8||raw king prawns, shelled|
|2 tsp||fish sauce|
|200g||vermicelli noodles, soaked according to the packet instructions|
|Optional: fresh coriander leaves, to serve|
Heat the oil in a wok over a medium to high heat. When hot, add the galangal, ginger, garlic, lemon grass and chillies and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Sprinkle over the curry powder and turmeric, and continue to fry for 30 seconds before adding the lime leaves and tomatoes. Fry the mixture for 2-3 minutes, until the tomatoes begin to break down. Pour in the hot stock and the coconut milk. Give everything a stir, then bring the mixture to the boil. Reduce the heat and let the soup simmer for 10 minutes to allow the flavours to infuse.
Add the salmon chunks and the prawns to the soup with the fish sauce. Simmer gently for about 2 minutes, until cooked through.
Divide the noodles between serving bowls, pour over the hot laksa and scatter with coriander leaves, if using.