Ahh! I’m on a Sarawak food cooking spree! Unintentionally though, only because my mother brought in some goodies recently. And one of those, was the Sarawak Laksa Paste. Rejoice! Mum’s the best!
Sarawak Laksa would probably be the second most named dishes when you mention the Hornbill state. Of course, I could be biased. And I don’t care what you say, this is the best laksa! (Yes very biased) *cross arms* Often people asked me what’s the difference between that and say, ‘normal laksa’, which depending on your state of origin could be very different but in general most people would be referring to Curry Laksa. Sarawak Laksa’s broth does not taste like curry at all, the broth is made mainly with sambal belacan, tamarind, galangal, lemon grass (and around 20 other herbs and spices) and coconut milk (not a lot though).
The taste of the broth, after adding some lime juice and extra sambal belacan, is a fine balance of rounded flavours, robust with the aromatic herbs/spices with subtle hint of Chili note, not overly rich. Topped with the omelette strips, shredded chicken strips, fresh prawns, bean sprouts and coriander, every mouthful will make you taste buds sing! Luckily, taste buds don’t really sing, otherwise it would be kinda weird.
CNN go rated Penang’s Assam Laksa as top 7 of World’s 50 most delicious food, I say that’s because they didn’t try the Sarawak Laksa! By the way Massaman Curry number 1? In Frank’s words… absolute nonsense! *hides*
I have just one more thing to say, that Sarawak laksa paste recipe is one of the most guarded secrets, upon googling there are few different versions of the recipes but alas most of them are not complete. One of their ways to make Sarawakians homesick, I’m guessing.
Since I was only cooking for 2, I didn’t use the whole packet (300g, serves 6). Feel free to double/triple the recipe as needed.
Here’s the recipe.
Roughly 100g of Rice vermicelli, cook according to packet directions (usually just blanched)
10 King prawns deveined and peeled, reserving the heads and shells for stock
1 Chicken breast fillet
Big handful of bean sprouts
2 small Calamansi Limes
100g of Sarawak Laksa paste (“Eagle” brand, others might have different constitutions)
50ml Coconut milk
Salt and sugar to taste
700ml Chicken stock (homemade is best, but Stock cubes are acceptable too)
Coriander leaves (for garnishing)
Beat eggs and fry them thinly on a frying pan. Cut into strips. Set aside.
Blanched the bean sprouts for a minute, then drained and set aside.
Boil the Chicken stock in the pot, first boil the prawns and set aside. Poach the chicken breasts, then take it out and shred. Set aside. Add the prawn shells and heads into the stock, then add Laksa Paste and cook for at least 30 minutes. Sieve the spices and shells out of the stock and bring it to boil again. Add coconut milk and stir well. Turn off the heat. Taste and season if needed. I find that mine just needed a small amount of salt and tiny pinch of sugar.
Time to assemble! Place the rice vermicelli in a bowl, add the chicken strips, bean sprouts, omelette strips and prawns, then pour the laksa soup over the ingredients. Garnish with coriander leaves, and then a squeeze of lime.
Enjoy your laksa and do a silent dance, in your head.
So what else do you know about Sarawak food? And where to get them in Kuala Lumpur?