Whenever I think of asam laksa, I will start drooling. I am very picky when it comes to asam laksa. It’s very rare to find a stall that serves an authentic bowl of asam laksa. I am always disappointed with the consistency of the broth and how little fish they serve with it. The broth is either too sweet, too sour or bland! So, I decided to make it at home. For me, this recipe is a keeper. I am glad I noted down the tweaks I made to the recipe to suit my own taste and preference. The broth is the most important step and I was satisfied at how it turned out. To make a delicious bowl of asam laksa requires some patience as it involves a long list of ingredients and preparations. But, it’s all worth it when I get to whet my appetite with a bowl of delicious tangy-fish-based soup.
- 500 gm mackerel (ikan kembung)
- 8 cups of water
- 1 packet meehoon
- 1-inch galangal/lengkuas
- 1 stalk lemon grass (use only the white part, about 6-inches)
- 2 tsp belacan
- 8 small shallots
- 12 dried chilies, de-seeded
- 7 fresh red chillies, de-seeded
Seasonings for the stock:
- Tamarind (about golf-ball size)
- 6 pieces fried tamarind skin (asam keping)
- Salt to taste
- Sugar to taste
- 1 stalk ginger flower (bunga kantan), (use the flower bud), chopped finely
- 6 cili padi, sliced
- Cucumber (julienned)
- Pineapple (julienned)
- Red onions (sliced)
- Mint leaves
- Ginger flower (diced)
- Red chillies (sliced)
- Cili padi (sliced)
- Lime juice, to taste
- Prawn paste/Heh Ko
- Clean the fish (remove scales and guts).
- In a pot, bring 8 cups of water to a boil. Add in the fish and boil for about 10 minutes.
- Transfer the cooked fish into a bowl and let it cool.
- Meanwhile, soak the dried chillies in warm water and blend along with the rest of the prepared ingredients into a smooth spice paste. Set aside.
- Soak the tamarind in a half a cup of water and extract the juice.
- After the fish is cooled, remove the fish head and debone the fish. You have to pull the backbone off carefully, taking out most of the bones with it. Then, remove all remaining soft bones from the meat. Use a bowl of water to wash the bones off your fingers.
- Separate the heads and bones to be used for the broth later. Smash the head to extract all the juices out.
- Add the fish head and bones into the stock pot and let it simmer.
- To the stock, add the spice paste, chopped bunga kantan, asam keping, tamarind juice, cili padi and season with salt and sugar. You can adjust the seasonings as you go.
- Let it simmer for an hour.
- Strain the stock.
- Then, add the deboned fish meat and let it simmer for about 5 minutes or so.
- Blanch the meehoon in boiling water.
- Add the laksa broth, placing larger pieces of fish on top.
- Add the garnishes and tuck in!