Chicken laksa

Chicken laksa

By
From
Encyclopedia of Food and Cookery
Serves
4

Laksa is a Singaporean–Malaysian soupy noodle dish, said to be first created by the ancient Chinese who migrated to Malaysia. It is sold as a meal from hundreds of soup vendors, all of whom have their own special recipe. This South-East Asian fast food provides the diner with a rich, filling, many-layered experience.

Laksa starts off with a spice paste, which is made into a rich coconut broth. Then crab, fishcakes, prawns or chicken are added with noodles and a few or great many garnishes. The word laksa means ‘ten thousand’, because there are so many garnishes added.

Laksa can be elaborate or simple and these days is easy to make at home by using one of the many laksa pastes commercially available. Chinese chopsticks and china spoons are a must for laksa.

For a feast, finish this hot and spicy noodle soup with garnishes such as quartered hard-boiled eggs, matchsticks of cucumber, coriander or mint sprigs. Offer wedges of lime or lemon for diners to squeeze over the laksa.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1 x 1.5kg chicken, preferably free-range
1 onion, halved
1 x 2.5 cm piece ginger, sliced
1 tablespoon oil
2 tablespoons commercial laksa paste
750ml chicken stock or water
750ml coconut milk
125ml coconut cream
500g rice vermicelli, soaked in cold water
180g bean sprouts, tailed
35g shallots, crisp fried

Method

  1. Wash the chicken inside and out. Place in a large saucepan with enough water to cover. Add the onion and ginger. Bring to the boil, skim the surface, lower the heat, and simmer, covered, for 40 minutes. Remove the chicken, straining and reserving the cooking liquid. Cool, cut the chicken into large pieces and remove the skin and bones. Shred as much chicken as you wish to use into strips.
  2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the laksa paste mixture, stir until aromatic and oil separates from the paste. Add chicken stock or water and coconut milk, stirring constantly until boiling. Do not stop stirring, or coconut milk may curdle. Slowly add coconut cream, stirring to combine.
  3. Drain the soaked vermicelli and drop into the coconut milk mixture, adding extra stock if necessary to make enough of the soup liquor. Bring back to the boil then remove from heat. Drain the noodles, using a slotted spoon or tongs, and divide between 4 deep soup bowls. Add the bean sprouts and chicken. Carefully ladle the hot soup onto the noodles. Top with fried shallots and, if liked, some chilli paste.

Note

  • To make crisp-fried shallots, either fry thinly sliced shallots until crisp and golden in oil or toss in a little oil and cook in a microwave oven on high until golden, turning frequently.
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