Laksa Lemak, also known as nyonya laksa, is a type of laksa with a rich coconut gravy. Lemak is a culinary description in the Malay language which specifically refers to the presence of coconut milk which adds a distinctive richness to a dish. As the name implies, it is made with a rich, slightly sweet and strongly spiced coconut gravy. Laksa lemak is usually made with a fish-based gravy (with vegetarian food stalls omitting fish) and is heavily influenced by Thai laksa (Malay: Laksa Thai), perhaps to the point that one could say they are one and the same.
For the spice paste
For the Laksa
- 6 sprigs laksa leaves (Vietnamese coriander)
- 1½ litres water
- 360 ml coconut cream
- 1 heaped tablespoon palm sugar
- salt, to taste
- 500 g fresh yellow noodles, or dried rice vermicelli, cooked and drained
- 150 g beansprouts, root ends removed, blanched for 1 minute in boiling water
- 1 chicken breast, steamed to cook, and shredded
- 100 g peeled prawns, steamed to cook
- Begin with the spice paste. Combine the red chillies, shallots, lemongrass, galangal, turmeric and shrimp paste in a food processor.
- Pulse to chop then blend to a paste <em>(add oil as necessary)</em>.
- Heat a little oil in your wok, add the spice pasta and fry gently for about 10 minutes, stirring gently from time to time.
- Add the laksa leaves and water and bring the mixture to a boil.
- Stir in the coconut milk, palm sugar and season to taste.
- Bring back to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook gently, uncovered, for about 12 minutes.
- Divide the cooked noodles, beansprouts and shredded chicken between six deep serving bowls.
- Top with the shredded laksa leaves then ladle over the soup mixture.
- Garnish with the cucumber, omelette strips, chilli rings and spring onions.
- Serve accompanied by the sambal belacan and the lime wedges.