Want to test your cooking skills with a new recipe? Why not make it a traditional Sarawak laksa from Malaysia.
What is it?
Tangy, spicy, oh-so slurpable and lip-smackingly good, Sarawak laksa is a supremely satisfying way to begin the day. It’s the dish Sarawakians most often crave when they’re away from Borneo.
Ingredients (serves 2)
8 cups water
Laksa paste (available on Amazon as well as other retailers)
8 prawns (shrimp)
2–3 cups chicken stock
½ cup coconut milk
butter, for frying
2 handfuls of bee hoon noodles
1 handful of beanshoots
110g (4oz) shredded cooked chicken breast
coriander (cilantro) leaves
How to cook
Step 1: In a pan, bring the water to the boil then add the Sarawak laksa paste. Stir every few minutes for 30–45 minutes.
Step 2: In a separate pan, boil the prawns in the chicken stock until cooked, then remove and slice lengthwise.
Step 3: Add the chicken stock to the Sarawak laksa pan. Simmer over a low heat for a few minutes.
Step 4: Pour the liquid into a third pan through a fine-mesh strainer to remove any solid particles. Continue to simmer.
Step 5: Add coconut milk to taste. Stir the broth every few minutes.
Step 6: Beat the eggs, then fry in a little butter to produce a very thin omelette; slice into strips.
Step 7: Soak the bee hoon noodles in hot water until soft, then place in boiling water for 3 minutes. Transfer the noodles to two medium-sized bowls.
Step 8: Add the beanshoots, shredded chicken breast, halved prawns and omelette strips to the bowls.
Step 9: Ladle just enough broth into the bowls to cover the noodles.
Step 10: Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and squeeze the juice of half a lime into each bowl.
You’re in Kuching and it’s 7:30am, so following a tip you stroll to a cafe famous for its Sarawak laksa. Inside, men and women – mostly Chinese, but also Malay and Dayak – read newspapers or chat in a babel of dialects as they dig into oversize bowls with chopsticks and spoons. Inside each one, a tangle of vermicelli noodles, swimming in oil-flecked broth, is topped with crunchy beanshoots, orange-white shrimp, strips of omelette, chicken bits and vibrant coriander leaves. Occasionally, someone adds a dollop of fiery sambal belacan or a squeeze of calamansi lime. The air is redolent with the tang of chilli, galangal and lemongrass and the heady aromas of coriander and coconut milk.
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For more great recipes, check out Lonely Planet’s The World’s Best Bowl Foods.