This has got to be one of my favourite kind of meals—it’s soupy, it’s spicy and creamy, it’s full of veggies and seafood, and healthy to boot!—a combination of Indonesian and Thai ingredients and flavours that burst in the mouth and feel like there is sunshine radiating from the plate in this Special Dish for the Week:
On a recent trip to T&T Supermarket, the Asian grocery store at the edge of Vancouver’s Chinatown, to pick up some specialised ingredients for my multitude of Bali dinners following my recent self-directed healing retreat in Bali, I picked up some rice vermicelli noodles.
I have been salivating over the thought of making some type of a laksa meal since I was reminded of this delicious dish during my recent travels.
Laksa is actually a Malaysian dish of Chinese origin, though through the use of ingredients and spices, it can be varied in flavour. I use an Indonesian seafood recipe with spices that I am familiar with from Thai cuisine, and it turns out to be a taste sensation.
I start by finely chopping the spice and vegetable ingredients:
- 1 stem of lemongrass, cut into 2 inch lengths
- 8 leaves of kaffir lime leaves, thinly sliced
- 4 small Indian eggplants, cubed into 8ths
- 4 shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
- small piece of green cabbage, thinly sliced
When the sliced ingredients are ready, I sautée the spices:
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp Sambal Oelek
- 1 tsp shrimp paste (a bit more if using shrimp sauce)
- 2 tbsp fish sauce (or 1.5L fish stock or bone broth, whichever is on hand, but using stock requires longer cooking time to reduce the volume)
I then add 2-3 cups of coconut milk to make the soup, into which I add the chopped spices and vegetables when the soup is lightly bubbling hot.
I let the veggies soften and absorb some of the soup’s flavours.
Meanwhile, I boil up some water, and place my package of rice vermicelli noodles in the hot water for about 10 minutes. (This dish could also be made with buckwheat soba noodles, for some Japanese influence on the taste, texture and nutrient composition.)
I drain the noodles in a colander, and set them aside covered with a lid.
After 10 minutes of warming up the vegetables, I add the seafood:
- shrimp, dethawed and peeled
- red snapper, sliced into small chunks (or any other white fish fillet)
I let the dish warm and cook for another 10 minutes, and I serve it by placing a generous portion of warmed rice vermicelli and topping it with a couple ladlefuls of the laksa soup, veggies and seafood.
I enjoy this pure sunsine in a bowl dish with a glass of my favourite Apothic Red wine and a flower by my side.
Meal ideas & recipes from Periplus Mini Cookbooks “Step by Step – Indonesian Cooking”.