Thursday, October 7, 2010

Sarawak Laksa

Any visit to Sarawak, Malaysia especially to the major cities and towns like Kuching, Bintulu, Sibu and Miri would not be complete without a sampling or indulging in the very delicious Sarawak Laksa. Many locals swear by their favourite stalls and some stalls are really famous. You will have to be there early to catch a bowl.
This is the Recipe for Sarawak Laksa which I cooked. Good enough for 16 bowls.
  • 750 grammes of Bee Hoon (rice vermicelli) (pre-soaked)
  • 1.2 kilogrammes of medium-sized prawns (with head and shell)
  • 1.5 kilogramme chicken (whole bird minus the head and feet)
  • 5 eggs
  • 500 grammes of bean sprouts
  • 16 to 20 pieces of lime
  • 900 grammes of Sarawak Laksa paste (I used the “Swallow” brand)
  • Coconut milk from 1 1/2 coconuts (about 300 mls)
  • Salt and sugar to taste
  • 20 bowls of water (about 8 litres)
  • Coriander leaves (for garnishing)
Beat eggs and fry them thinly on a frying pan. Cut into strips. Set aside.
Boil 4 litres of water in a stock pot. Upon boiling, add 2 teaspoons of salt followed by     prawns. Boil the prawns till they start to float indicating that they are cooked. Remove the prawns and let it cool.
Separately, boil 4 litres of water in another stock pot. Upon boiling, add 2 teaspooons of salt followed by the chicken. Boil till chicken is thoroughly cooked. Remove chicken and let it cool.
Remove head and shell from prawn. Put back the head and shell into the first pot, cover lid and continue boiling for at least 2 hours on medium heat. Place prawn aside.
Remove chicken meat from bones and shred the meat using fingers. Put back the chicken bones into the second pot, cover lid and continue boiling for at least 2 hours on medium heat. Place shredded chicken meat aside.
Once both stock are cooked, remove heads and shells of prawns as well as chicken bones. Combine the stock into one pot. Add Sarawak Laksa paste and let it boil at medium to high heat for at least 30 minutes.
Using freshly boiled water, blanch the beansprouts in 3 batches for 1 minute each.Drain beansprouts and set aside.
Next, cook the pre-soaked beehoon in 4 to 5 batches by blanching them in boiling water for at least 1 minute. Drain and set aside.
After the Sarawak Laksa paste has been left boiling for at least 30 minutes, turn off heat and sieve and remove the spice from the stock. Bring the stock (now laksa soup) to boil again. Turn off heat and add coconut milk gradually whilst stirring. Add salt and sugar to taste.
To serve, first place cooked beehoon on a bowl. Add beansprouts, shredded chicken, prawns and egg strips. Then pour the laksa soup over the ingredients.
Garnish with coriander leaves and squeeze a lime over the soup before eating.
It is not recommended that the laksa be kept overnight as coconut milk is used.
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