Sharing below is a recipe taken from my collection (source: Singapore Women’s Weekly magazine, July 2007).
Prep: 30 min Cook: 20 min Serves: 4 – 6
- 8 shallots, chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 cm knob galangal, chopped
- 2 coriander roots, chopped
- 6 – 8 dried chillies, soaked in warm water for 15 min, seeded and squeezed dry
- ¼ cup oil (just use any vegetable oil)
- 3 cup water
- 600g prawns, shelled and deveined (shells reserved)
- 3 cup coconut cream
- 10 tbsp fish sauce
- 4 tbsp palm sugar, chopped
- 4 tbsp tamarind juice
- salt to taste
- 600g rice vermicelli or bee hoon, blanched in hot water for 5 mins, drained and arranged into small coils
- ½ cup shredded cabbage, lightly blanched, if preferred
- ½ cup diced long beans
- 6 quail eggs, hardboiled and shelled
- 1 cucumber, diced
- 6 lime wedges
- sweet basil leaves
- To make laksa broth, grind or blend 8 shallots, 6 cloves garlic, 2 cm knob galangal, 2 coriander roots, 6 – 8 dried chillies and ¼ cup oil into a fine paste. Set aside.
- In a pot, bring water to a gentle boil over medium-high heat. Add prawn shells. When shells turn pink, press shells with a ladle to extract flavour, then use a sieve to remove shells and discard.
- Cook fresh prawns in the stock. Remove and set aside.
- Stir-fry spice paste in a pan, with 3 cup coconut cream over medium heat till oil separates, about 3 – 5 min.
- Ladle in prawn stock and stir gently to mix well. Let the broth simmer for about 5 min, but do not let it boil vigorously.
- Season with fish sauce, palm sugar, tamarind juice and salt. Adjust to taste.
- Arrange coils of rice vermicelli on a large platter with vegetable garnishes, prawns and quail eggs in separate bowls.
- Place small pots of laksa broth on the side. Let the guests prepare their own dish and watch them have fun creating their own concoctions.
- To blanch vegetables, dip them in boiling water for 2 min, then in cold water to retain their crunchiness.