Laksa is a spicy noodle soup that is widely popular in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia, and of course, the version depends on the region. There are 2 main types of laksa. Asam laksa is a sour fish broth soup base and curry laksa, which has a curry and coconut milk soup base which I’m going to be making today. In this version, I’m using Penang curry paste, which is a milder curry since I like to adjust the heat myself.
Rice noodles, fresh toppings and cilantro brought together in a rich aromatic broth. These are the flavours of Southeast Asia in one, happy bowl. This is a very simple recipe to put together and can make any night special.
For the broth:
The rest (here’s your chance to get creative):
In a large, deep skillet, heat up a tablespoon of oil on medium high and gently fry the curry paste until fragrant. Add the coconut milk and whisk until the paste is dissolved. When the curry paste is dissolved, add the grape tomatoes, carrots, onion and lime leaves. Add the stock or water, mix and then loosely cover and simmer on medium low heat until the carrots are tender.
While you’re waiting for the broth, boil the rice noodles until tender. Strain, rinse and set aside.
Now check on your broth. Give it a taste. It should be a bit spicy. Add the fish sauce and give it another taste. Balance the spice out with the palm sugar (or brown sugar) til you get it just right. When your broth is ready, you can add your creative additions. Your green vegetables will cook fairly quickly as will your tofu or tempeh. If you are adding seafood or chicken, all you need to do is warm them through as they have already been pre-cooked. *If you’re using fresh shrimp, put them in the simmering broth until just opaque. It take about 3 minutes.
To plate up, start by putting some rice noodles into a large bowl. Add your assortment of toppings, then ladle in a generous helping of that spicy, aromatic broth over top. Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro leaves and serve with some sambal oelek on the side.
So that is my version of curry laksa. Take it home, make it yours and have fun in the kitchen!
Asked by Anonymous
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A lot of you probably don’t know that I have done work with my local Farmers Market for about a year. I produce video content for Kingsland Farmers Market with a weekly show called “The Market”. In this week’s episode, I met with chef and author, dee Hobsbawn-Smith who was at the Market promoting her new book, “Foodshed: An Edible Alberta Alphabet”. This fun, but informative look at Alberta local food covers 76 local growers and producers and includes 26 inspired recipes. Do you have a farmers market where you live?
Tocino is bacon in Spanish and is traditionally made with cured pork belly. In the Philippines, it’s made with either pork or chicken. Old school practice for tocino uses sugar, salt and saltpeter with maybe a little pineapple juice for tartness. It’s then left to cure for at least 3 days. In some regions, the meat is actually fermented at room temp to achieve a sour flavour to the meat. In our recipe today, we will be making a marinade with a similar flavour signature, but with a lot less work.
You will need:
• 2 lb boneless chicken, thinly sliced
• juice of ½ a lemon
• 1 teaspoon soy sauce
• 2 teaspoons annatto seeds, steeped in 1 tablespoon of boiling water
• ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
• 1 ½ tablespoons brown sugar
• 1 teaspoon garlic powder
• ¼ cup ginger beer
In a large mixing bowl, combine the chicken with the juice of ½ a lemon, soy sauce, annatto seed extract, black pepper, brown sugar and garlic powder. Cover the meat with some of the Jamaican ginger beer and let marinate for at least 1 hour.
Heat up a frying pan on high heat with a tablespoon of oil and fry the marinated chicken until browned. Since it’s so thinly sliced, it should cook fairly fast. As it cooks, the sugars from the marinade will caramelize and turn crispy.
This is one of many favourite choices in a typical Filipino breakfast called silog. A silog is a breakfast consisting of garlic fried rice, fried egg, a slice of fresh tomato with your choice of meat. Since we’re having tocino, we would call it tocilog.
Today, I’m giving the classic tocilog a little twist by serving it as a sandwich with garlic yaki onigiri in the place of buns. I’m gonna top it with a nice fried egg and there you have it. A nice handheld tocilog.
If you want to pack it for a road trip or picnic, you can also use it as a filling for kimbap. This meat is very versatile. You can freeze the marinated meat and cook it when you need it, enjoying it however you like, be it on a simple bowl of rice or noodles. How will you enjoy your tocino?
So take this recipe, make it yours and have fun in the kitchen!