SOUR FISH SOUP WITH NOODLES / ASAM LAKSA

SOUR FISH SOUP WITH NOODLES / ASAM LAKSA

Asam laksa is a sour fish-based soup. Asam is the Malay word for tamarind, which is commonly used to give the stock its sour flavor. Asam Gelugur (dried Tamarind Peel) is also added for extra tartness.
The main ingredients for asam laksa include shredded mackerel fish, finely sliced vegetables including cucumber, shallots, red chillies, pineapple, mint, daun kesum (Vietnamese mint or laksa mint or Polyganum Leaves) and pink bunga kencong in Bahasa Indonesia / Bunga kantan in Malay (ginger buds). I couldn’t find any bunga kencong here in the U.S., but bless my mom’s heart, she brought me bunga kencong. She dried it at home for easier packaging.

Asam laksa is normally served with either thick rice noodles or thin rice noodles (vermicelli) and then garnish with sliced cucumbers, pineapple, chili, bunga kencong and mint leaves. In Malaysia it is also topped with “petis udang” or “hae ko”, a thick sweet prawn/shrimp paste. I don’t like mine with the shrimp paste though, maybe because I grew up eating asam laksa without it in Medan, Indonesia.
All in all, I’ve been longing for this wonderful comfort food of mine and I got it satisfied right away :)

SOUR FISH SOUP WITH NOODLES / ASAM LAKSA (4-5 servings)
 

What you will need:
  • 3 lbs of fresh mackerel fish or 2½ lbs of canned mackerel fish in water
  • 2 lbs (1 kg) of laksa noodles or rice noodles or udon noodles (boiled until cook according to direction)
  • 5 Tbsp of sugar or more to taste
  • Salt to taste
  • ½ cup of seedles tamarind block/paste (extract the juice with ½ cup of water)
  • 3 stalks lemon grass
  • 5 pieces of asam gelugur / dried tamarind peel
  • 8 cups of water
  • 6 pieces dried bunga kencong/ bunga kantan, if you use fresh, you may not need to use that many
  • 8 fresh daun Kesum/polyganum leaves/ laksa leaves
  • 1 Tbsp of grape seeds oil or oil of your choice
Ingredients to grind into paste:
  • 15-20 dried red chilis
  • 7 oz (200 g) shallots
  • 10 cloves of garlic
  • 2-inch of galangal (skinned)
  • 1-inch of turmeric (skinned)
  • 1 tsp of shrimp paste / belacan
Garnishes:
  • ¼ cucumber (julienned)
  • ½ pineapple (sliced thinly) – optional (I’m not using)
  • 2 shallots (finely slieced)
  • 4 red chilis (seeded and sliced)
  • Few sprigs of mint leaves

Instructions:
  1. Bring a pot of water to boil and boil the mackerel fish until cook. Once cool enough to handle, flake the fish meat and set aside
  2. Ground all the spices mentioned above and saute until fragrant with 1 Tbsp of oil in a big pot
  3. Pour in tamarind juice and 8 cups of water and bring it to boil
  4. Lower the heat and add in Lemon grass stalks, Bunga Kantan (Ginger Buds), Asam Gelugur (Dried Tamarind Peels) and let it simmer for about 30 minutes. Discard the lemon grass, bunga kantan, and asam gelugur.Add in the flaked mackerel fish. Season with salt and sugar. The soup supposed to be sour and balanced by sweetness and saltiness, but sourness and sweetness is the main taste here
  5. Portion the cooked noodles and ladle the hot soup over the noodles. Garnish with sliced cucumbers, pineapples (if using), shallots, red chilis, and mints

Notes:
If you don’t find the soup sour enough for you, you can add some white vinegar to your liking :)

SOUR FISH SOUP WITH NOODLES / ASAM LAKSASOUR FISH SOUP WITH NOODLES / ASAM LAKSA

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