Mandy Yin runs Sambal Shiok, a brilliant Malaysian pop-up restaurant in London. “Making our signature laksa at the pop-up restaurant is a lengthy, labor-intensive process. This is a simplified version, with a great kick from chili and shrimp paste (available from Asian grocery stores). It’s the perfect winter warmer or for whenever you need a hit of spice.”
3 1/2 cups bean sprouts
7 oz long green beans, ends removed and cut into 1 1/4 inch batons
scant 1 cup coconut milk
4 1/4 cups hot chicken broth
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons tamarind paste
14 oz raw king shrimp
14 oz cooked egg noodles
fresh mint, cilantro, or ideally hot mint, to serve
FOR THE LAKSA SPICE PASTE:
1 stalk of lemon grass
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 an onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
3 1/4 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, peeled
6 fresh red chiles, seeded and coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground turmeric
2 tablespoons ground coriander
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 oz Thai shrimp paste
Prepare the lemon grass by removing the green top and the hard outer leaves to leave just the white bottom half. Coarsely chop the white lemon grass and blend with all the spice paste ingredients in a food processor until you have a smooth, fine paste.
In a medium nonstick saucepan over low heat, fry the spice paste, continuously stirring for 10 to 15 minutes until the oil separates.
While the spice paste is cooking, blanch the bean sprouts in a saucepan of boiling water for 30 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon and run under cold water to refresh. Bring the pan of water back to a boil and blanch the green beans for 3 minutes. Again, remove with a slotted spoon and run under cold water to refresh.
Add the coconut milk, chicken broth, brown sugar, and tamarind paste to the fried laksa paste in the pan. Heat until boiling, stir and let simmer for a couple of minutes.
Turn the heat up to high and add the raw shrimp; cook them for 2 minutes in the broth. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Turn off the heat.
Divide the cooked egg noodles, bean sprouts, green beans, and cooked shrimp among 4 bowls. Pour the laksa broth on top and garnish with the fresh herbs. Serve immediately.
Reprinted with permssion from Leon Happy Soups by Rebecca Seal and John Vincent. Photography by Steven Joyce. Copyright 2017 Conran Octopus. Distributed by Hachette Book Group.
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