Monday, November 12, 2012

Laksa Kelantan/Laksa Putih, Kelantan Laksa - "Malaysian Monday 96" And Happy Deepavali !

I must confess catching up with my dear friend A over a few drinks was a delight after a not overly pleasant evening. Feeling happy and alive again, I decided to compose this post before my much needed beauty sleep.

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!

recipe adapted from jom masak... jom makan-makan
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;
1 onion
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
chopped chillies
sambal belacan
hard boiled eggs, halved

Place the fish of your choice in the pot together with the water, asam gelugur and a pinch of salt. Bring it to a simmer and cook until the fish is completely cooked (about 10 minutes). Remove the fish and allow to cool.

Meanwhile prepare the spice paste by blending all the ingredients until smooth.

When the fish is cool enough to handle, remove the heads and separate the flesh from the bones. Remove the asam gelugur from the cooking water, blend the flesh with the fish cooking water and set aside.

Place spice paste in a pot and bring it to a simmer. cook gently for 10 minutes, to cook off the rawness and to enhance the flavour of the spices.

Add the blended fish broth to the pot follow by the reserved asam gelugur, ginger flower and vietnamese mint. Let it simmer slowly for 20 to 30 minutes. Add coconut milk if using and check for seasonings.

While the broth is simmering away, cut, dice and chop the all important ulam. Finely sliced cabbage, lettuce, pineapple, Thai basil are often used.

Ladle the aromatic fish broth over some thick rice noodles in a shallow bowl and add the ulam of your choice, hard boiled  egg and a wedge of lime. Don't forget to add a little sambal belacan on the side if a hotter dish is desired.

Squeeze a wedge of lime or two over, mix well and enjoy one of the most delicious noodle dishes in the world!

The crazy season has started, we decided a combined Nov/Dec roundup should work better for everyone during the busiest period of the year. I will be hosting the next event, so please send all your entries to me at . To find out more about MMM and on how to enter please click here


  1. My hubby is from terengganu and I think he surely love this. Will book mark this recipe

  2. Hi, good post. Just wonder what type of Laksa noodle that you use in Melbourne?

  3. So delicious! I love lots of ulam with laksa.

  4. Hi Tummy,
    Kelantan laksa, looks so yummlicious.
    Love the yummy fish broth too.

  5. Your Kelantan Laksa looks mouth-watering delicious. However, I've never tried this before.

  6. Harriet From CarltonNovember 13, 2012 at 2:43 PM

    What a beautiful looking dish! It looks so inviting with the very colourful toppings :)

  7. I have never tried Kelantan laksa before... I think this will be my weekend project :)

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