Laksa is a spicy noodle soup, generally with wheat noodles, that is very popular all through South East Asia. I have done my version with buckwheat noodles and yes there are quite a few steps but the end result is flavour packed and well worth making it from scratch. You wouldn’t want to use the readymade sachet mixes anymore.
400 grams salmon fillet, bones removed, skin removed but saved
12-16 large tiger prawns peeled with tails on
1.2 litres of fish stock (recipe below)
0.8 litres of coconut milk
50 ml of Thai Fish sauce
Juice from one lemon
Juice from one lime
270 grams of buckwheat noodles, cooked as described on the packet
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon Kashmiri chilli powder
3-4 Keffir lime leaves
Sea salt to taste
For the laksa paste
4-5 hot red chillies (more if you like)
6 cloves of garlic peeled
1 thumb of ginger
2 stalks lemon grass – outer layers discarded and the white portion roughly chopped
½ cup fresh coriander roots, stems and leaves (well washed)
3 tablespoons sesame oil
Suggested for garnish
Spring onions, finely sliced at an angle
Put the ingredients for paste into a food processor and puree to a fine paste. Mix the salmon and lemon juice together and leave to marinate at room temperature while you make the laksa.
Crispy salmon skin:
Score salmon skin and sprinkle sea salt. Face flesh side down between baking paper. Weight down. Cook at 130oC for about 50 minutes to 1 hour until crisp. Use as garnish.
Heat a large pot and add the paste; fry for I minute stirring well. Add turmeric, Kashmiri chilli powder and the kefir lime leaves. Stir to combine and pour in the coconut milk and fish stock. Bring the pot to boil and simmer for 20-30 minutes with the lid partially covered. Add the fish sauce and lime juice and taste for seasoning. Add the prawns. Stir gently for a minute. During this time cut the salmon into 16 pieces and add them to the pot. Mix gently for a few seconds. Working efficiently so as not to overcook the prawns and salmon, warm the bowls by adding hot water from the kettle, divide the noodles between them and ladle on the soup. Sprinkle with your choice of garnishes and serve piping hot. Serves 4 to 6 as a main course.
1 kilogram of heads and bones of white flesh fish such as blue cod or snapper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion diced
1 medium fennel bulb diced
2-3 celery stalks diced
2 cloves garlic
4 cups water
Coriander stalks and roots
1 teaspoon pepper corns
2 tablespoons sea salt
Place fish bones and heads in a large bowl and cover with cold water. Stir in sea salt and make sure it is dissolved. Let stand one hour. Drain, rinse fish well under cold water.
In a large saucepan, heat oil.
Fry onion, fennel, leek, celery, and garlic. Cook stirring until slightly
softened or for about three minutes. Stir fish heads and bones. Add 4 cups
water (liquid should barely cover the bones and heads). Add coriander stalks
and roots and peppercorns.
Bring liquid to a bare simmer and cook for 12-15 minutes. Use a spoon to skim off any scum. Strain through a fine mesh strainer. Fish stock can be refrigerated, covered for about 5 days and frozen for up to three months.