However I did start my Saturday on a high note; after my breakfast in bed with my reading materials and composing a quick post for my blog, I cycled down to Victoria Street in Richmond to gather some ingredients for a very special dish that I have been planning to cook for ages.
Yes! The special dish is yet another laksa but this time from the Malay heartland of Kelantan. I first tasted this beautiful dish during my first trip to the capital of Kelantan, Kota Bahru as an innocent and youthful 13 year old. I fell in love with the charming town and its friendly people immediately; the local food also left a lasting impression on me even at that tender age. Everything was so different from what I was used to, yet many dishes also reminded me of Thai food that I was so familiar with and laksa Kelantan also known as laksa putih (literally translates as white laksa for the pale appearance of the broth) is a very good example of that.
I have mentioned previously about the similarities between asam laksa and keang som (a fish based Thai dish from the south, recipe up soon) and as a closed cousin of the former, Kelantan laksa with it's trademark ulam* (a wonderfully refreshing selection of raw vegetables and herbs that also accompanied many Thai meals. It appears on the dinner tables all across the northern states) really shows you the cross cultural influences between Kelantan and its northern neighbour.
This very colourful dish is based on a recipe by my favourite blogger friend Makcik Manggis, a native Kelantanses whose blog Jom masak.. jom makan-makan has been an inspiration for me to cook authentic Malay food since I started blogging 3 years ago.
Apart from being utterly delicious, this is also the most democratic dish in the world.... well if there is such a thing. One is able to decide on the thickness of the broth, the selection of the ulam that suits one's taste and omit the coconut milk if you are after something something a little lighter.
Without further ado please look at what is needed and the very simple preparation for this deliciously obscure dish!
P.S I would love to wish all my Hindu friends and readers a safe and happy Deepavali!
serves 4 to 6
for the broth you'll need;
500 g of mackeral or sardine
3 to 5 pieces of asam gelugur (asam peel)
about 2 l of water
1/2 a ginger flower, halved lengthwise
a small bunch of daun kesom (Vietnamese mint)
250 ml of coconut milk (optional)
for the spiced paste;
2 garlic cloves
a small knob of galangal
a small knob of ginger
4 dried chillies, soaked in hot water for 10 min (I used 6, hence the slightly reddish appearance)
and my selection for the all important ulam;
1 red onion, finely sliced into half rings
half a ginger flower, finely sliced
a small bunch of long beans, finely sliced
a handful of bean sprouts, tails removed
1 small cucumber, julienned
a small bunch of mint, picked and finely sliced
a small bunch of daun kesom (Vietnamese mint), picked and finely sliced
a small bunch of daun xxx (water parsley), finely sliced
you'll also need;
1 bag of laksa noodles/lai fen/ fresh thick round rice noodles
hard boiled eggs, halved