I love eating laksa, any kind of laksa.... Nyonya, Johor or even Penang laksa. But I seldom cook it as my family is not really a great fan of laksa. Besides, cooking laksa requires a lot of work, so I'd normally have to satisfy my craving for laksa only when I'm eating out. Even then, I try not to have this calorie-laden noodle too often.
My early memories of laksa is when I was living in Kampung Kembangan in the 70s. I remember my mother would often call the travelling laksa hawker into our house compound. It was often a young man who would be carrying two large baskets, filled with the ingredients & gravy for the laksa, hung on the two ends of a bamboo stick. I was just talking to my mum about this & it turned out that it was not always the same guy who came to sell. Apparently, these men were selling laksa which was prepared by a lady who lived in Kampong Siglap (which was not very far from Kampung Kembangan). Hence the name Laksa Kampong Siglap. However, the laksa is actually laksa Johor (except that spaghetti is used for laksa Johor) but because it was this lady from Kampung Siglap who popularised it in Singapore (at least in the eastern part), it's called Laksa Kampung Siglap.
I also just found out my mother loves eating laksa so much that, during our kampung days, she had laksa for teatime almost everyday! It was so cheap.....only 10-30 cents a bowl, depending on how many pieces of laksa cap you want. (Laksa cap refers to the homemade laksa noodle strands which are formed into oval- or bun-shaped pieces. Please look at the laksa noodle that I made before to see what I mean.) Now in Singapore, Laksa Kampung Siglap is not as widely available as the Nyonya laksa. For sure you can get it from Geylang Serai Market, but I like to have my laksa fix at Mukmin Restaurant in Bedok.
Laksa Kampung Siglap (a.k.a. Laksa Johor)
1 kg laksa noodle
300g bean sprouts (tauge)
laksa leaves (daun kesom) - diced*
cucumber - cut into strips*
150g fresh prawns
400g fresh Japanese Mackeral (Ikan Kembong) or Wolf Herring (Ikan Parang)
2 tbsp ground toasted grated coconut (kerisik) - You can buy or make it yourself like this.
3 tbsps fish curry powder
250ml coconut milk (If using fresh grated coconut, squeeze milk from 1 coconut.)
1000ml water (combined prawn & fish stock & plain water)
1 handful laksa leaves (daun kesom)
3 pieces asam gelugor or asam keping
salt - to taste
3 tbsp cooking oil
Grind to fine paste:
3 cloves garlic
2 medium onions
2 cm galangal (lengkuas)
3 lemongrass stalks (serai) - white part only
2 tbsp dried prawns -rinsed & soaked
1x3-cm-piece dried salted threadfin fish (ikan kurau) - rinsed & soaked
- Boil fresh prawns in some water until they are cooked. Then remove the prawns from water, de-shell & pound or blend flesh. Keep the stock for the gravy.
- Boil the fish in some water. Remove the fish from water, de-bone & flake. Set aside. Keep stock for the gravy.
- Heat up oil in a saucepan. Combine ground paste & curry powder. Sauté until dry & fragrant.
- Add in water, coconut milk, flaked fish & pounded prawn, kerisik, laksa leaves, asam gelugor & salt. Stir frequently until the gravy starts to boil. Then leave gravy to simmer. Adjust the thickness of gravy by simmering longer for thicker broth or adding more water for thinner broth.
100g dried chilli
salt to taste
- Soak dried chilli in hot water until soft. Rinse with clean water. Then, pound or grind chilli to fine paste. Add salt.
- Blanch some laksa noodle in boiling water. Drain & place in a bowl. Top it with tauge.
- Pour gravy & garnish with daun kesom, cucumber & chilli paste.
I'm linking this post to Asian Food Fest #11 Sept 2014 : Singapore, hosted by Grace Phua of Life Can Be Simple.