Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Whenever I buy mint leaves, they are excuses to cook Penang Laksa or Phở. It's not every day one finds the leaves in the market, although some are grown locally. I got a bunch of the imported stuff from the wholesaler.

The faithful Thai Red Curry Paste is a good candidate for this dish. Although some may dispute the fact, the last time I checked all the ingredients are in there, give and take a couple of ingredients. Its sour taste is no different from the Assam Fish. Only some of the condiments used are different.

The fish used is called locally Luk-Hu, instead of the oft-used wolf-herring, mackerel or sardine. It has white fine texture, but still firm and holds together when cooked.


20 Shallots

4 Fresh Chilies

4 Dried Chillies

2 Stalks Lemongrass

6 Sliced Shallots

1 Small Knob Tumeric

50 gm. Belacan

8 - 10 Pcs. Tamarind Peel

1 Kg. Luk Fish


Prepare the paste: Cut all the above ingredients, except tamarind peel, into small pieces before being blitzed.

Left is the lump of ground chili paste. My mom has her standby frozen ground dried chillies and turmeric. The turmeric gives the soup a nice color; moderation should be exercised when using it, or else the soup will turn into a ghastly color.

With about 4 tbsp. of oil, fry the paste over medium heat. Keep stirring and turning to prevent burning. Drizzle a bit of oil if needed. Fry until the color turns slightly maroon and aromatic smell emits.

Transfer the paste in soup pot. Deglazed the wok with ½ a cup of water, and pour the liquid into the pot.

Pour 1.5 liter of water into the pot and bring it to a boil.

Meanwhile, clean up the fish, and cut it into manageable size to fit into the pot.

Drop the fish pieces into the soup...

... and let it poach for 20 minutes.

Remove the fish pieces and let them cool.

Introduce the tamarind peel to the soup. The amount can be varied to the degree of sourness one desires. Let it simmer for another 15 minutes to achieve the sour taste. Then adjust taste with sugar & salt. (Tamarind pulp is not used to maintain the 'clearness' and 'fresh' color of the soup. Use it if you have it)

When the fish is cooled, remove the bones, then break them into chunks.

Meantime, boil the Laksa noodle until done. Prepare the condiments of pineapple chunks, mint leaves, juliened cucumber and chilies, slices of Bombay onions, and prawn paste (hair-ko).

Then you ready to go...

... fill your bowl with noodle, then pour over the warm sour soup...

... top with fish chunks...

... and the rest of the condiments of pineapple, cucumber, onions and chili. Finally drizzle with the shrimp paste (2:4 tbsp. paste to hot water), and garnish with mint leaves.

The only item we forget to get was the Bunga Kentang (ginger flower), which adds a citrus aroma.


Ai Shiang said...

Everytime I look at these pictures. They seriously make me very hungry.

Kong-Kay said...

you betcha! the sourness of the broth makes you hunger for more...

Food For Tots said...

Is your mom a Penangite? The big bowl of PAL makes me very homesick now......

Kong-Kay said...

nope, she likes to muck 'bout in the kitchen (got her genes). my dad is.


As the name implies, it's all about nothing! Kongkaying is like grasping in the air - more like hot air with occasional fartulence. Hopefully, something aromatic will come out of it! If not...

May the Farce be With You!


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