Sunday, June 14, 2009

Assam Laksa 阿三拉沙粉

Assam Laksa.... how we northerners love this! It's like coccaine, marijuana, heroin....
Here we just go by the name, laksa. But to make things clearer, I better call it Assam Laksa here to avoid any confusion.

I wonder, how come there is this brand of instant noodles from our neighbour that offers "Laksa Flavour". Laksa is definately Malay in origin. And there are many laksas in Malaysia. All rice noodles. Be it the Terengganu Laksam, or Kelantan Laksae, or Sarawak Laksa, all surrounds rice noodles, except Johor laksa, that goes with errr... spaghetti. And Kuala Kangsar laksa that goes with wheat flour home made noodles.

Assam Laksa : Noodles with sour gravy
Curry Laksa : Noodles in curry gravy
Nyonya Laksa : Noodles, nyonya style

Laksa in malay language means noodles, so how come there can be noodles with noodles flavour??? just my 2 cents..

I've bought this large grouper at the wet market. The fish monger was selling it at half price than the cut up fillets, so I bought it whole, more than 4kg! My own recipe calls for the aromatics be fried until fragrant, a difference than regular assam laksa recipes that just puts everything into the pot and boil, and boil and boil.

To Kamparians.... it taste similiar to "Ah Na Laksa". Just that I din put in blended pineapple, I think he did. Did he???

So here's how I did it:-
1 large fish head abt 1kg, I used Grouper (Kerapu, Sek Pan Yue). If u’re using small fishes, buy about 600gms. Selar, Kembung or sardines will be a good choice.
30gm assam gelugor or more, lightly rinsed
3L water

Sambal paste
100gm shallots
2 cloves garlic
1 thumb sized quality belacan (amount is crucial to end product, too little will not be nice, too much will be overpowering. And it depends on brand and the producer to assume the amount. I used Penang’s famous, Choong Kim Chuan)
1/3 cup oil
20gm chilli powder (1 small packet of Baba’s, u can grind ur own if u like, 20gm dry chili, soak til soft)

2 torch ginger flower, the whole bud plus 1 inch of the stalk
3 lemon grass (white part, 5 inches from the base)
10 bird’s eye chilli
1 cup water

5 sprigs of daun kesum (laksa leaves)
60 gm sugar, or more
3 tsp salt, or more

1. Bring 3L of water to a boil and put in assam gelugor and fish.
2. Simmer for half an hour or until soup turns whitish. .

3. While the fish broth is simmering, do the sambal paste. Puree shallots, garlic and belacan in a food processor. If using dry chili, puree together too.
4. Fry in oil until fragrant, add in chilli powder and continue to fry until dry. Becareful that u don’t burn it.

5. Remove fish from soup and put the sambal paste into the soup and continue to simmer. Let the fish cool down.
6. Slice the torch ginger flower and lemon grass finely and blend them and the bird’s eye chilli with 1 cup of water. Pour this into the simmering soup.
7. Put in daun kesum, the whole sprigs. Continue to simmer.
8. While the broth is simmering, separate the flesh of the fish from the bones.

9. Put the flesh back into the simmering soup. Bring back to a boil. If soup is greatly reduced, add in water. You should have 3L to 3.5L of soup. If u don’t how much of that is in ur pot, before u start to cook the soup, measure 3.5L water into ur pot and roughly measure the level from the rim of ur pot.

10. Season with sugar and salt. Taste. If the desired taste is achieved, remove from heat. Prepare noodles and other condiments.

Cucumber, julienned
Red Onion, thinly sliced
Lettuce, cut into thin shreds
Red Chilli or bird’s eye chilli, thinly sliced
Mint leaves
Har Kou (prawn paste)
Fu Pei.. it’s Kampar style (fried beancurd skins stuffed with fish paste)


Lai Fun or whatever u prefer, 2kg in total.
Each bowl 200gm of noodles, blanched in hot water.

To serve:
Place blanched noodles into bowl. Pour 3 ladles of hot soup over noodles and top with preferred condiments.

Adjusting the taste:
If not sour enough, add in 5 assam gelugor pieces, not sour enough another 5, and 5 and 5 and 5, until desired sourness is achieved. Boiling the assam for 10 minutes before adding another 5 to make sure the flavor is fully released. It’s hard to tell how much to add, because it depends on the quality of the assam fruit. The darker it is, the more mature and the more sour it is. The lighter coloured the younger and the less sour it is. Rinsing it also lightens the sourness, but rinse it u must!!! The way they dry it is errrmmm… Come to my house and see. There’s an assam dryer living behind my house.
If not hot enough, either blend some birds eye chilli or add them in when u serve the laksa.
If not sweet enough, add in sugar by the teaspoonsful, and taste after each addition.
If not salty enough, add salt by ½ tsp each time and taste after each addition.
The soup has to be hot, sour, well balanced with sugar and salt. If it tastes just nice before the noodles are added, fat chances it is under seasoned. It has to be slightly oversalted sour and hot(spicy).


  1. wow cant belive no one post on this
    this asam laksa yummy! so many hard work....
    well done!

  2. Simmone,
    Haha!! Actually my blog jumped to popularity only in 2010. Before this, I don't have much people commenting, although I have faithful readers but they are silent readers. I know many of my personal friends who have tried a lot of my recipes, but weird, they never write comments or give written feedback, although they do tell me by mouth.

    And I have loads of comments about this laksa in Facebook, but they just don't write it here.

    I appreciate people like you who flood my blog with comments :)

  3. Hi Wendy,
    I am a Kamparian too, so must support you more ya! he he!

    I just came across your blog few days many of your posting liao.

    I tried the japanese cotton cheese cake yesterday, it turned out soft n light.

    I missed Ah na laksa and everytime i am back to my hometown, i will sure eat at least once.
    (btw, do you find the standard drop liao?)

    I will book mark this first..wait till my mom visit me again with the pok pok chui Fu Pei...then I will cook this Ah Na Laksa! :)


  4. Wong,
    Ha, another Kamparian. I've met a few Kamparians while blogging.
    BTW, are you from ACS? Year? I'm class of 95.
    Yaya, the Ah-Na standard drop like waterfall since the time I was still studying in ACS.
    What to do, they want to untung more, so, cut here and there, but people still eat and eat.

    It's been a long time since I've eaten pok pok chui. Last time it was just 90 sen for one huge piece, and bring home to cut and fry outselves. Ultimate Kampar signature food :)

  5. Hi Wendy,
    I had been away for sometimes. Busy with other stuffs.
    Me is much older than you and is not from ACS. :)
    Though I am older but I got lot of things to learn from you le.
    I will try out your 姜汁撞奶 recipe and let you know the outcome.


  6. Wendy im trying this later on if I can get all ingredients. The above can serve 10 portions or less?

    Thank u

  7. cindy,
    It depends on how big portion you are serving to your guests, how much gravy you ladle onto the noodles. this portion can roughly serve 7 to 10 pax, and like I said again, it depends on how much they eat.


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