An assault plan was quickly drafted and ingredients were sought.
Early today we attacked the ingredients with gusto with my 2 lovely and able assistants (who, incidentally were just as guilty, goading me into cooking for them!). About 2 hours later (well, three if you include all the time preparing the ingredients) were all were a bunch of wolves set upon a fresh kill!
|Tadaaaaa! Lunch is served!|
|Chomp! First bite!|
|What? Who me?|
|Hantam sajalah, janji sedap!|
Mama Norhan's Modified Laksa Johor!
|Laksa Johor in yer face!|
- 2 kg Fresh white fleshed fish (Tenggiri, Kembung etc)
- 300 gm Dried ikan bilis (rinsed and soaked in water)
- 500 gm Fresh whole small shrimp (shells and all)
- 300 gm Dried shrimp (rinsed and soaked in water)
- 100 gm Dried white fleshed fish (Kurau or Talang, flesh only)
*Boil all the above separately in water enough to cover the ingredients. Once boiled, carefully separate and remove all fish bones. Stabby fish bones in any Laksa dish is a bad, bad idea! Puree every thing in some of their own boiling liquid. Reserve some of the boiling liquid to thin gravy later, on as needed basis.
- 1 cup cooking oil
- 6 nos large Onions, sliced thinly
- 6 pips garlic, sliced thinly
- 1 good sized knob of ginger, peeled and sliced thinly
- 5 tbsp Beef curry powder
- 4 stalks Lemongrass, or,
- 2 stalks Torch ginger flower
- 6 pcs of Asam gelugur slices
- 1 Handful of Kesum & Selasih leaves (of the stalks, remove before serving)
- 500 ml Coconut cream
- 1 tbsp Salt, to taste
- 1 tbsp Pepper, to taste
- Beansprouts, rinse and drain
- Cucumber, remove seed core and sliced into thin 4 cm batonnets
- Daun Kesum (Vietnamese Mint), pick the leaves only
- Daun Selasih (Thai Basil), pick the leaves only
- Whole red onions, sliced thinly
- Salted white radish, soaked to remove excess salt, then diced
- Calamansi Limes, sliced into 2 and pips removed
- 1 Packet of Spaghetti (I prefer San-Remo)
*Cook in oiled and salted water to slightly beyond al-dente (Manufacturer's guidelines, plus an additional 3 to 4 minutes). You need it to be slightly overcooked to help the gravy adhere later. Drain in a colander and portion for 10 persons
- 100 gm shallots, chopped
- 100 gm red onion, chopped
- 200 gm red chillies, chopped
- 50 gm red bird's eye chillies
- 1 tomato, chopped
- 50 gm belacan, dry toasted and crumbled
Heat oil in a large pot and sauté sliced red onions. When soft, add garlic and ginger. Be careful not to burn. Once all have released their aromas and slightly golden, add in the curry powder. Carefully cook out raw flavours.
Add in puréed cooked fish, salted fish, ikan bilis, shrimp and dried shrimp into the pot and stir well. It will be thick and gloopy. Laksa Johor should be thick. Toss in the Lemon grass/Torch ginger. Stir well occasionally to prevent catching.
Over time, the gravy will thicken as the puréed ingredients expand and absorb the cooking liquid. Do not be alarmed as this is desired. Just be sure to stir and scrape the pot bottom to prevent scorching.
Once simmering, add the coconut cream. The addition of the cream will thin the gravy considerably. Continue cooking. If gravy appears too thick for your liking add in some of the reserved boiling liquid (or plain water) to thin. The gravy now will have a yellowish brown colour to it.
Add in salt and pepper, and adjust to taste. Note that the salted fish, ikan bilis and dried shrimp from the ingredients already carry a lot of salty flavours. Add in the handful of Kesum & Selasih leaves (or the trimmed stalks, if using). Give a good boil and stir once over and remove from heat. Gravy will thicken as it cools. Add in boiled water and reheat to correct consistency.
To savour, plonk in a portion of pasta in a deep plate (soup plate, to you and me), add about tablespoon each (or more, of course) of the sliced raw onions, bean-sprouts, cucumber batonnets, diced salted white radish, picked Kesum & Selasih leaves, and lime. Pour over about 3 ladles of thick gravy. Add some Sambal Belacan for heat. To have it ole skool style, give a few shakes of Kicap Manis Cap Udang (it must be Habhal's Kicap Cap Udang, NOTHING else will do!).
Due to the thick gravy, Johoreans eat this dish with their right hand, like any other rice dish.
Eat to hearts' content.
* This recipe is free to be shared but I expect it to shared forward so many more will get to enjoy Laksa Johor.