Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Lotsa Laksa

So in yesterday's post I mentioned Anthony Bourdain's awesomeness. I have loved him since he took me (figuratively, darn) to Malaysia in his show No Reservations and introduced me to laksa. This Malaysian noodle soup is a serious contender for best soup EVER. It's great to make these days, when everyone has that cold that hangs on for three weeks. What's the deal with that, anyway?

To make the paste, soak 6 dried chiles with stems and seeds removed (I used Ancho because they were the only ones I could find--they are very mild but you may want some that have a little more kick to them) in boiling water until they're soft. Grind them in the blender with a little of the soaking water, a couple cloves of garlic, about half a medium-sized onion, 5 macadamia nuts (I know you--you're tempted to leave this out but don't; it adds a good texture to the soup), a 2-second squirt of fish sauce, juice from half a lemon, about a teaspoon of salt, and a thumb's length of peeled ginger.

When the paste is smooth, get your soup pot hot and add a little oil, then fry the laksa paste a couple of minutes, until it is fragrant. Add 2 cans of coconut milk (make sure it's the unsweetened kind) and 3 cups of chicken broth, and simmer the soup for about 15 minutes. What you have now is known as "laksa gravy." Add whatever meat you'd like (I always choose tofu and usually a pound of shrimp as well) and continue to simmer until the meat is cooked.

While your gravy is simmering, start your noodles--use rice sticks that you find in the Asian section of your grocery store. Don't boil the rice sticks the way you would cook pasta; they'll get mushy. Just pour boiling water over the dry noodles and let them sit for a couple of minutes, until tender but still with a good bite.

To serve, put a good chunk of noodles into your bowl, ladle the gravy over, and garnish with bean sprouts, green onions, and Sriracha chili paste. A good squeeze of lime can't hurt either.

Guaranteed to clear your sinuses so you can get back to work...or not.


  1. That looks tasty! You can come to my house and make it for me anytime ;-)

    Rachel @ Maybe Matilda

  2. Wow, looks wonderful! You had me at "coconut milk" - yummmmmmmm.

  3. Oh wow! Thanks for sharing this!
    One of my best friends is Malaysian and she refuses to share any recipes until I visit her...not going to happen any time soon unless I win free tickets.
    (I also love watching Anthony Bourdain whenever I visit my parents. We experience the world together. He he.)

  4. Oh my, my husband would LOVE this. I think I'm going to have to try it!