This laksa recipe is from Datin Munira Salinger, and was first published in the June 2012 issue of Flavours magazine. Click in the link for the full story on Malaysian laksas.
LAKSA KUAH MERAH
thick rice noodles (laksa) or spaghetti
150g freshly grated white coconut meat
50 to 100ml water
50 dried chillies, soaked in hot water (or 1/2 cup cili boh)
125g shallots, peeled (or 1/2 cup shallot paste)
20g ginger, peeled (or 1/2 tbsp ginger paste)
15 garlic, peeled (or 1/2 tbsp garlic paste)
40g rendang spice mix (from Adabi, Mak Siti, etc.)
150ml cooking oil
1 litre coconut milk (from 2 coconuts)
400g (3 cups) fish flakes (from 600g ikan kembung hat has been steamed and deboned)
60g (1/2 cup) dried salted fish (preferably kurau), soaked in hot water, then pounded
60g (1/2 cup) dried prawns, soaked in hot water,then pounded
3 pieces asam gelugor (garcinia atroviridis) or 2 tbsp tamarind pulp
60g peeled galangal (lengkuas), crushed
8 stalks lemongrass, crushed
1/2 cup toasted grated coconut (kerisik), ground finely
1/2 cup nyior magai
salt and sugar, to taste
8 fresh red chillies
5g belacan (dried shrimp paste), toasted
lime juice, to taste
cucumber, peeled, cored and shredded
long beans (raw), finely sliced
laksa leaves (daun kesum), finely sliced
turmeric leaves (daun kunyit), finely sliced
onion, finely sliced
hard-boiled eggs, halved or quartered
To prepare nyior magai
In a clean wok over low heat, fry the grated coconut lightly, stirring all the time, until fragrant but not coloured. Transfer to an electric blender and blitz with a little water. Set aside.
To prepare spice paste
Blend the chillies, shallots, ginger and garlic to a paste and mix with the rendang spices.
To prepare the kuah merah
Heat the oil in a pot. When hot, add the spice paste and fry on medium to low heat until aromatic, about 8 minutes.
Add the coconut milk, and stir to mix well. Add the flaked fish, salted fish, dried prawns, asam gelugor, galangal, lemongrass, kerisik and nyior magai along with 3 cups of hot water before seasoning to taste with salt and sugar.
When it boils, lower heat down to a simmer. Keep cooking on low heat until oil surfaces, stirring from time to time.
Add more hot water, about 1 to 2 cups, as the gravy thickens.
To make sambal
Pound the chillies and belacan together, and season to taste with lime juice.
Place a serving of laksa noodles in a soup plate and add toppings. Ladle the kuah over, and garnish with a wedge of lime and teaspoon of sambal.