Laksa is a popular Malaysian hawker dish. It's traditionally made with two kinds of noodles, beansprouts, shredded (or curried chicken), fish balls, fried tofu puffs, , quail eggs, shrimp and blood cockles. Blood cockles are not available here in NY, so I used mussels instead. A fragrant coconut curry broth is ladled over everything and the dish is served with a spicy sambal condiment. This is my version from last Friday night:
This is a shot of the kitchen counter with everything laid out on it and ready to be assembled into individual servings. From bottom to top - yellow noodles, rice vermicelli noodles, shrimp, fish tofu, fish balls and fish cakes, quail eggs, beansprouts, mussels, flowering chives and shredded chicken.Here's a short video of a famous laksa shop in my hometown of Seremban called Laksa Asia - the woman who runs the stall is my laksa inspiration if only for the fact that she has been serving consistently delicious, mouth-watering laksa at the same location for over thirty years. A true laksa goddess - I wish I had the guts to go up to her and give her a hug!
In the second video, you get a better look at what's inside her steaming cauldron - tofu puffs floating in the broth soak up all the yummy goodness of the curry broth.
laksa served at this famous local spot. On the right, there is a whole hard-boiled egg. In the middle, near the top, is a slice of fish cake. To the left of that are a couple of those mind-blowing fried tofu puffs - my absolute favorite! In the foreground, to the left are a few blood cockles - a shellfish found primarily in Asia. In Malaysia, these are called kerang. I find that folks either love them or hate them - I LOVE them. While the name "blood cockle" is off-putting, it's just a description of the beautiful deep red color of these clams - there's nothing actually "bloody" about them. I think we need to work on the branding of these delicious clams - perhaps if we called them "yummy cockles" instead, more people would be inclined to taste them. If you love clams, mussels and oysters, my bet is that you will love these. We can't get these here in Brooklyn so I sadly substitute with mussels instead. Back to the picture - see how the sambal is served? In a tiny little side dish perched on top of the soup spoon - brilliant! Rice vermicelli and beansprouts are in the foreground to the right, and yellow noodles can be seen peeking out of the broth at the very top of the picture next to the soup spoon. Aaaahhhhhh, all this describing of this bowl of laksa is making me crave a bowl right now - I need a reason to cook up a giant pot of laksa for another feast - who's hungry?