- 1 kg whole fish (such as bream or snapper; see note)
- 3 slices asam keping (optional; see note)
- 4 Vietnamese mint sprigs
- 4 slices galangal
- 150 gm tamarind pulp, soaked in 1 cup hot water
- 1 tbsp caster sugar, or to taste
- 400 gm dried laksa noodles, softened in cold water for 6-8 minutes
- 5 golden shallots, sliced
- 2 lemongrass stalks, sliced
- 30 gm (2.5cm piece) fresh turmeric or 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 4 dried red chillies, soaked in hot water and squeezed out
- 4 red chillies, coarsely chopped
- 2 tbsp coarsely chopped galangal
- 1 tsp belacan (see note), roasted
- ½ pineapple, cut into chunks
- 1 Lebanese cucumber, seeds removed, cut into small chunks
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 5 iceberg lettuce leaves, thinly sliced
- ⅔ cup mint leaves
- ⅔ cup Vietnamese mint leaves
- 1 torch ginger flower, thinly sliced
- 2-3 red chillies, seeds removed, thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp hae ko (optional; see note), diluted in a little hot water
- 1For spice paste, blend ingredients in a food processor until smooth.
- 2Place fish, asam keping, Vietnamese mint, galangal and 2 litres cold water in a large saucepan. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer until fish is cooked (3-4 minutes). Remove fish from stock, cool and flake meat (discard skin and bones). Strain fish stock into a clean saucepan and return fish to the stock.
- 3Squeeze the tamarind pulp to extract as much juice as possible then strain into a bowl (discard seeds and fibres). Stir tamarind juice into the stock.
- 4Add spice paste to the stock with the sugar and 1 tsp salt and simmer, stirring occasionally, over low heat until well flavoured (25-30 minutes).
- 5Cook noodles in boiling water (2-3 minutes), drain and divide among serving bowls. Ladle in stock and fish, top with garnishes and serve.
The recipe uses a whole fish; for fillets, reduce to 500gm. Asam keping is dried asam gelugur and is available from Asian grocers, as is belacan, and hae ko, which is also known as petis udang and otak udang. Torch ginger flower is called bunga kantan in Malay and is grown in Queensland and the Northern Territory. It is sold frozen in many Asian grocers.
Drink suggestion: Perfumed Australian pale ale. Drink suggestion by Max Allen.