A Nyonya Melaka Laksa Curry from Malaysia
When I was in Melaka (Malacca), Malaysia we stumbled across a tiny, cute restaurant called Jonker88 in one of the main streets. People were waiting in line to get in (too bad I don’t have a photo), so we figured the food must be good…And so it was. It was the first time I tried Laksa and it was amazing. The smell, the taste, the colors were all just perfect. I think this must have been one of the best curries / laksa I have tasted. As always this dish went into our little recipes-to-remember book and here is our try. It’s quite challenging to make a good laksa but the result will always be tasty. I didn’t manage to exactly recreate the Melaka Laksa we had, but I came a long way. Still, it’s too good to keep it to myself. So here it is.
Are you wondering what that weird ‘Nyonya’ word is? Basically Nyonya is a cuisine in Malaysia it’s a mixture of the Chinese cuisine, the Malay/Indonesian cuisine combined with other influences. Malaysia is a diverse country where a lot of cultures live together. The Malay, Chinese, Singapore, Indian, Indonesian and Thai people have lived together for hundreds of years, blended and formed a unique cuisine which has a bit of all. But the Nyonya cuisine is overall known as a combination of the Chinese and Malay cuisines. Want to know more? Check the all-knowing wikipedia.
Making this melaka laksa takes three simple stages. The recipe starts with a delicious and spicy spice-paste which will give the laksa most of its taste. If you find this paste too hot just add less chillies or add more if you want some extra punch. When that’s done, it’s time for the broth. Sauté the spice paste in a splash of rice bran oil, add some stock and a little more deliciousness and bring that to a boil. Meanwhile you cook some egg noodles, chicken eggs, julienne a cucumber and fry a few tofu cubes. Well that’s that, add everything together and you got your homemade Melaka Laksa. Sounds easy? The recipe looks a little daunting but after reading this short instruction I bet you’ll be fine. Now check the recipe below! Have fun.
By the way I just remembered I have a picture of another day we stood in a waiting line trying to get in a Satay restaurant. It seems strange that when you’re hungry and looking for a place to eat that you would wait in a line outside. But I gues it has all to do with the fact you just don’t want to miss out on something that other (local) people are waiting for outside. We waited for at least 45 minutes before we got in…Crazy! The funny part was that we ended up sharing a table with a Chinese guy and a Japanese guy who surprised us by sweating their heads off because of the spicy satay. Never thought we would ever beat asian people in spicy food. ;)
If you took the time to make this Melaka Laksa yourself, Let me know how it was in the comments below! Was it good enough to have another bite?
Nyonya Melaka Laksa
- 10 shallots peeled and sliced
- 3 inch (30gr) skinned Turmeric Root
- 2 inch (50gr) Galangal root
- 5 stalks lemon grass, sliced
- 25 dried chillies, soaked
- 10 candlenuts
- 4 tsp shrimp paste
- ½ cup (120mL) rice bran oil (or other oil)
- 4 cups (1 ltr) chicken or shrimp stock
- 2 cups (500mL) coconut milk
- 15 tofu puffs, briefly scalded in hot water
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 pound (400gr) Cooked egg noodles
- ⅓ pound (300gr) bean sprouts
- 3 oz. (80gr) fried tofu, chopped in small cubes
- 1 cucumber (sliced thin or julienne)
- 1 pound (500gr) Prawns, boiled and peeled
- 4 chickend eggs, boiled and sliced in halves
- 1 oz (28gr)Polygonum Leaves (Daun Kesum or Holy basil)
- 8 pcs Rempejek (Peanut cookies from Indonesia)
- Use an electric blender or kitchen machine to pulse the shallots, turmeric, galangal, lemongrass, soaked dried chillies, candlenuts and shrimp paste untill you have a smooth paste. Add a bit of water if necessary.
- Take a large and heavy saucepan and heat ½ cup of rice bran oil.
- Sauté the spice paste untill its fragrants fill your kitchen.
- Add the stock and bring to a boil, add the coconut milk, tofu puffs and salt.
- Bring to a boil again and keep stirring, turn the heat off when it comes to a boil.
- Blanch the egg noodles and place them in bowls and garnish with some cucumber and beansprouts.
- Pour the Laksa broth and portion the tofu puffs into the bowls.
- Top with Prawns, the eggs, Polygonum leaves, fried tofu cubes and Rendejek
As toppings you could also use fish cake, fish balls, quail eggs insted of chicken eggs.