Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Jungle Laksa

This is my version of Laksa with jungle vegetables. Only attempt to make it if you have half a day to get all the ingredients and cooking. The most exotic of the ingredients are:
candlenuts (toxic when raw, but after cooked, give really nice aroma to the dish)
young ginger plant (this is not the usual ginger root, but the flowering ginger of Malaysia, with red lower stems and yellow roots and green leaves)
Sesbania grandiflora is an edible flower from a small tree, the flowers must be opened carefully to wash and only use the petals, this gives a nice bitter taste to laksa to balance the palm sugar
Roasted Coconut, use dried white coconut threads and roast them in a dry wok on low heat, turning frequently until light brown

For the spice paste:
8 shallots, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 stalks of fresh young ginger, peeled and chopped
2 stalks of lemon grass, chopped
6 candlenuts or macademia nuts, grounded
1 teaspoon of sambal belacan (cooked dried shrimp with chilli and lime)
1 tablespoon of palm sugar
1 tablespoon of sesame oil

For the Laksa:
6 shallots, finely sliced
1 cup coconut milk
2 cups chicken stock
3 stalks of celery, sliced
1 small carrot, sliced
20 small french beans or snow peas, sliced
40 Sesbania grandiflora flowers, washed, only take the petals

1. wash all vegetables. Wash carefully the Sesbania flowers, discard the calyx, stamens and only take the petals. This will take 30 minutes at least.
2. prepare the spice paste, combine the shallots, garlic, young ginger, lemon grass, and candlenut in a mortar to blend.
3. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil and stir fry the paste on lower heat for 2 minutes, then add the vegetables, increase heat to high, then add chicken stock and coconut milk and let it bring to a boil, then add the sambal belacan and sugar.
4. Simmer for 1 minute and then add the flowers, turn off heat and serve immediately in a bowl with the soup.
5. Add hard boiled eggs, roasted coconut, fried shallots and peanuts.