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The Accidental Laksa


It was not my intention to make laksa at all, but somehow life has other plans.

While standing over the sink filling up my kettle for my morning tea, I heard the door opened. Hubby was out to market and just got back. I was thinking, "What should I make for breakfast? Maybe French Toast? Maybe ..."

*clang*

"Sh*t!"

*shuffle, shuffle*

Then I turned around and saw him walking into the kitchen with a plastic bag partially filled with black soy sauce. He broke the glass bottle and had the sticky dark soy sauce coating all the other stuff that were in the same bag. The dried shiitake mushrooms and dried shrimps were stained black. If I wasn't so angry with him for creating such a mess on the floor, I would have laughed at the sight of these black UFOs (Unidentified Floating Objects).

Anyway, the long story short, I had to think of a way to use up the no-longer-dried dried shrimps. And the very first idea that hit me was to make laksa. A quick dig into my fridge for the chilli paste and a phone call to my mom on where to find freshly grated coconut, I was all set to make laksa.

I can't claim that I made the laksa since the all-important chilli paste came from my mom. Though I did help her in the making of the chilli paste, I don't exactly know what goes into it and how much of each item. So I jokingly told her that she is just like the motto of those Chinese chefs teaching their apprentice - teach only 9 out of 10 steps.

While I haven't a recipe to share for this laksa (a situation which I intend to rectify ASAP), I have a few notes on making laksa:

1. Reliable coconut seller a must. Don't want to end up with a pot of gravy with a sourish tang. Especially in our hot weather, coconuts tend to go bad very quickly. And don't want to even consider those supermarket pre-packed coconut milk.

2. Laksa leaves (or Vietnamese coriander) is a must. You can't have laksa without it. By the way, I've dropped two stems of the laksa plant into water and they have started to root. Hope to have a pot of the plant going soon. *crossing my black fingers*

3. Cleaned bean sprouts is a must. Unless you have nothing better to occupy yourself for 30 minutes of your life.

4. Use "old" eggs. I have not read much into the science of boiling and peeling eggs, but I have seen somewhere that the key to have easy and nicely peeled hard boiled eggs is not to use eggs that are very fresh. In my haste to feed, I made hard boiled eggs with the tray I just bought from the supermarket and prayed that their supply chain is not really very efficient so that these eggs are "old". Then I thought myself weird to be praying that I had paid good money for "old" eggs.

5. Geylang Serai Market is the one-stop-shop for all the ingredients to make laksa. I'm sure it is the place to get ingredients for many of the other Malay or Nonya dishes. And no, you don't need to speak Malay. There are many Chinese shop vendors there.

In the meantime, I am going to do some homework on laksa recipes.

Post edit: Found a laksa recipe at Serious Eats. The slide show of the process of making the laksa is a must watch.

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