(This picture above is an authentic bowl of Sarawak Laksa from a coffee shop in Kuching, scroll all the way down the post to see my home cooked version...)
Living in Melbourne and growing up in Kuching usually equals to some serious occasional food cravings. I've lived in Melbourne for 5 years now, and everytime I have a chance to go home and visit my family still living in Sarawak (Malaysia) - it usually means lots of eating activities. To prove my point, during my last trip I blogged a massive 7 BLOG ENTRIES on Kuching Food Adventures alone. That's 7 blog posts full of wonderfully local Kuching food... check them out here:
- Kuching Food Adventures - Part 1
- Kuching Food Adventures - Part 2
- Kuching Food Adventures - Part 3
- Kuching Food Adventures - Part 4
- Kuching Food Adventures - Part 5
- Kuching Food Adventures - Part 6
- Kuching Food Adventures - Part 7
- Jalan Jalan Cari Makan in Kuala Lumpur
So, it was only a matter of time before I started desiring a home cooked version of a dish so easily found in hawker stalls and coffee shops for only RM3.50 (approx. AUD $1.20) per bowl. Isn't that crazy cheap?! But what can I do.. it's not like I can just drive 5 mins to go to a "kopitiam" here in Berwick - so when I had visitors from Malaysia staying with us in Melbourne a few months ago, I immediately requested some authentic ingredients to cook Sarawak Laksa myself...
Introducing Barrett's Sarawak Sambal Laksa Paste. The main thing you will notice about Sarawak Laksa is that it is pretty dark in color, unlike the more "orange-y" colored laksa you probably would be used to from typical curry laksas. This dish has a fair bit of preparation to get all the ingredients together, but when the ingredients are ready - you're pretty much ready to party! Which is why we had some guests over for dinner that night, because this packet of Sarawak Laksa paste could easily feed 6 people.
To make the soup, prepare 2 litres of high quality chicken stock in a pot. Just as it's about to start boiling, add 300g (one packet) of the Sarawak Laksa Paste into the pot and continue stirring the pot as it boils. After 30 minutes, add 400ml of light coconut milk, season with salt and pepper, and add some extra powdered chicken stock for a stronger flavor. As the soup simmers, start preparing the other ingredients...
- Rice Vermicelli (Mee Hoon) noodles, soaked in warm water until soft, and strained.
- Egg noodles / spaghetti noodles - boiled and strained.
- Large cooked prawns, deveined, shell and tail off.
- Fresh bean shoots
- Egg omelettes, cut into strips
- Cooked chicken thigh fillets, shredded
- Fresh coriander leaves
- Freshly chopped spring onions
- Extra sambal on the sides
- Fresh lime
To assemble the bowl, start with some noodles (either the rice vermicelli or egg noodles, or both). Followed by fresh bean shoots, some shredded chicken and prawns, egg strips.
Pour the soup into the bowl, drowning the noodles completely. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and spring onions. Add some extra sambal if you can handle the heat, and squeeze some fresh lime juice over the top. Serve while soup is still boiling hot.