This is definitely a keeper; I’d only eaten it once before, during a short trip to Kelantan a couple of years ago. I made a tweak in the type of fish used (as is often the case, what passes for cheap and readily available in Malaysia isn’t always the case here in Australia), and I also suggested using whatever herbs you can find at your local greengrocer rather than write off the recipe altogether simply because you can’t find laksa leaves or torch ginger flower within 500 miles of where you live. A post-broadcast suggestion is that you bruise rather than mince the lemongrass before simmering it in the sauce (unless you like munching on fine fibers).
- 1kg basa fillets
- 500ml coconut cream
- 500ml water
- 1 brown onion, pureed
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1-inch piece of ginger, minced
- 2 stalks lemongrass, bruised
- 3-5 pieces dried tamarind slices (substitute with a tablespoon or two of lemon juice)
- ½ Tbsp chicken powder
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp sugar
Salad suggestions –
- Lettuce or cabbage, thinly sliced
- Cucumber, julienned
- Spanish onion – sliced
- Bunga kantan (torch ginger flower) – thinly sliced
- Laksa leaves (aka polygonum aka Vietnamese mint)
- Pineapple, cut into thin strips
- Snake beans, cut into thin slices
- Rice spaghetti or rice sticks, cooked and drained
- 2 tomatoes
- 6 big chillies
- ½ tsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp belacan powder (optional)
- 1 tsp white vinegar or lemon juice
- Poach or steam fish until cooked. Mince the fish in a food processor, then simmer along with all other sauce ingredients.
- Adjust seasonings to taste.
- To make sambal, combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend. Adjust seasonings before use.
- Blanch noodles briefly in a separate pot of hot water, then strain and transfer into bowls.
- Top with salad ingredients, sauce and sambal to serve.