Ping Coombes, the winner of Masterchef in 2014, shares her recipe for a traditional Malaysian Kari Laksa Nyonya, as featured in her cookbook MALAYSIA: Recipes from a Family Kitchen. "This hot, steaming bowl of fragrant, spicy broth with noodles, prawns and egg is a common dish in Malaysia. The key component is the spice paste, which takes a bit of time, but once you've made it, you can keep it in the fridge for up to a month. Alternatively, there are very good shop-bought pastes available."
- 1.2 litres water
- 1 quantity of Laksa Paste
- 250ml coconut milk
- 1 tbsp chicken stock powder
- 1 tbsp of salt
- 6 pieces of bean curd puff,
- cut in half
- 100g dried rice vermicelli
- 50g bean sprouts
- 400g pack of fresh yellow noodles
- salt (optional)
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For the chicken and prawns
- 2 boneless chicken thighs, skin on
- ¼ tsp salt
- 350ml water
- ½ lemongrass stalk, bashed
- 200g shelled raw tiger prawns
For the garnish
- bunch of mint leaves
- 2 medium free-range eggs, soft boiled or hard boiled, peeled
- and halved
- 4 lime wedges
- 4 tsp Shrimp Chilli Oil
- crispy shallots, to serve
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- Rub the chicken thighs with salt and set aside for at least 20 minutes at room temperature.
- Place the chicken in a saucepan, cover with the water and salt, add the lemongrass, bring to a simmer and poach over a low heat for 15–20 minutes. Remove the chicken and set aside to cool, then cut the meat into strips, discarding the skin. Poach the prawns for 2–3 minutes in the same poaching liquid. Once they are cooked, remove them with a slotted spoon and set aside. Instead of just using water, you can use the poaching liquid to make the laksa broth – just top it up with water until it reaches 1.2 litres and discard the lemongrass stalk.
- Bring the water or poaching liquid, laksa paste, coconut milk, chicken stock powder and salt to the boil. Add the bean curd puff and simmer for 5 minutes, then remove from the heat, taste and add salt if necessary.
- Place the rice vermicelli and bean sprouts in a heat-proof bowl, cover with boiling water and leave to soak for 5 minutes, then add the fresh yellow noodles to the hot water and leave them for 3 minutes. Drain the vermicelli, bean sprouts and noodles and divide them between 4 serving bowls.
- Arrange slices of chicken, prawns, a few mint leaves and the halved eggs on top of noodles.
- Strain the laksa broth through a fine sieve into a bowl or jug and remove the bean curd puffs. Place 3 slices of puff on top of each bowl of noodles. Make sure that the broth is still piping hot (heat it again if not), pour the broth over the noodles.
- Serve with lime wedges, Shrimp Chilli Oil and a sprinkling of crispy shallots.
The new Laksa Bar is now open at Chi Kitchen chikitchen.co.uk. Recipe from: MALAYSIA: Recipes from a Family Kitchen by Ping Coombes, published by Orion, Photography © Laura Edwards