This page is still incomplete. I'm working on it, but there will be contradictions. The values below are the ones I have extracted from the original recipe. They will change when I have more experience. In particular, I can see now that I'm not going to add 62 chilies. There's also more information on Wikipedia, but it doesn't have a recipe for Penang Laksa; try here for that
Laksa is a term used for various noodle soups. I've identified at least three that I have eaten at various times:
I have a couple of recipes that I have been meaning to try, but nowadays various laksa pastes are available, and some of them are quite good. Problem: the names don't match what I knew in my youth. In particular, along with the recognizable Penang laksa, there are also curry laksa and Katong laksa. One of these may be what I knew as Singapore laksa, but I'm not sure.
Below, unedited, is a recipe for Penang laksa.
|8 pieces||asam gelugor (tran?)||1|
|30 stalks||daun kesum (Vietnamese Mint)||1|
|6 tbsps||tamarind-mixed with 3/4 cup water||1|
|2 kg||coarse rice vermicelli||2|
|2 stalks||bunga kantan (ginger flower)||2|
|1 tbsp||shrimp paste||3|
|3 cm||piece turmeric||3|
|10 stalks||lemon grass||3|
|1 bunch||mint leaves||4|
|3||cucumbers, thinly shredded||4|
|12||red chilles, sliced||4|
|15||green chillies, sliced||4|
|250 g||large onions, diced||4|
|120 g||preserved leeks, sliced||4|
According to this source, Bunga Kantan (Ginger Flower or Torch Ginger) tastes very much like Vietnamese mint, and can be replaced by it.
The following is the original mail message from which I derived the recipe above. Since it's not available on the web (indeed, it predates the web), I'm including it here.
I grew up in Malaysia and frequently travelled to various parts of the country with my father, who was an architect. One of his biggest projects was the FLDA (Federal Land Development Authority, which has since grown an E to become FELDA). In the course of the travels we often stopped for a late breakfast in a coffee shop. We would drink black local coffee (Kopi-o kosong) and eat Penang Laksa, a kind of noodle soup.
Laksa is a fairly well known dish, but that's what we call “Singapore laksa”, which tastes quite different. The following recipe is the oldest file originally created on my system:
There are older ones, but they've been created elsewhere and restored from tape. I'm leaving the original as a sign of those times.
=== grog@wantadilla (/dev/ttypl) ~/public_html/recipes 35 -> ls -l laksa-rw-r--r-- 1 grog lemis 2643 Jun 14 1991 laksa
041 SENT: 91-06-12 18:51 ORIGINAL 001 ATTACHMENT FROM: SMTPGATE @COMM (email@example.com) TO: LEHEY_GREG@TANDEM.COM Path: devnull!cs.utexas.edu!wuarchive!usc!orion.oac.uci.edu!nntpsrv From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MN Karsiti) Newsgroups: soc.culture.asean Subject: Penang Laksa Message-ID: <2853A8E5.email@example.com> Date: 10 Jun 91 16:29:25 GMT Organization: University of California, Irvine Lines: 55 Nntp-Posting-Host: emerald.eng.uci.edu Since there was some interest in Penang Laksa recently, I am posting the official (at least according to TDC, Malaysia) recipe. Ingredients: 1 kg fish 2 tbsps salt 2 kg coarse rice vermicelli 2 stalks bunga kantan (translation?) **1 clove garlic **1 tbsp shrimp paste **35 dried chillies ( this is going to be hot !!!! ) **3 cm piece turmeric **10 stalks lemon grass **500 gm shallots ** ground to a paste ("gilling hingga lumat") 8 pieces asam gelugor (tran?) 20 cups water 6 tbsps sugar 30 stalks daun kesum (tran?) 6 tbsps tamarind-mixed with 3/4 cup water. for garnishing: 1 bunch mint leaves 1 pineapple- sliced 3 cucumbers- thinly shredded 12 red chilles- sliced 15 green chillies- sliced 250 gms large onions- diced 120 gms preserved leeks- sliced method: * Soak the tamarind in water. Squeeze and strain out the juice. Bring to the boil with ground paste and dried tamarind, daun kesum, bunga kantan, sugar and salt. Boil for 10 minutes. * Add the fish and let the gravy to simmer for 15 minutes until the fish is cooked. Remove (fish) to cool. Set aside and flake (remove bones--make sure you get everything so you won't get sued by your guest). * Let the gravy simmer for 1 hour. * Remove the daun kesum and bunga kantan. Return the flaked fish to the gravy and bring to boil. * To serve, place the rice vermicelli (if it's dried - boil first) in individual bowls, put the garnishing on top and pour the gravy over. Happy cooking, Mohd Noh. p.s. taken (without permission) from "Malaysian Common Recipes" by TDC, Malaysi (added remarks in bracket were mine). Other interesting menus include: Rendang, Fried Rice, Nasi Lemak, Sambal Ikan Bilis, Beriani, Kurma, Murtabak, Roti Canai, Dhall, Fish Head Curry, Fried Mee, Nasi Minyak, Satay, Chicken Rice, and Peanut Sauce. ----------------------------- ATTACHMENT ---------------------------- 158 SENT: 91-06-12 18:51 FROM: SMTPGATE @COMM (firstname.lastname@example.org) Default Folder: M Default Message ID: 041 ENTER COMMAND>>Strangely, I've never made this recipe. Some of the details can be clarified, though:
After writing all this, I discovered that Wikipedia has what looks like a much better description of all kinds of laksa. It confirms my observation that asam jawa is used instead of asam gelugor in Penang laksa; it doesn't mention asam gelugor at all.
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