Nyonya Noodles with Fish Broth – Fish broth bathes fresh veggies and noodles in this meal, savory, tart, and spicy. I can’t get enough of this delectable concoction.
Assam laksa, also known as Asam Laksa, is a spicy, savory, sour, and flaming hot noodle dish that originated in Penang Nyonya cuisine. You’ll find Kopitiam (coffee houses), street stalls, pushcarts, and hawker centers serving Laksa all across Penang.
Malaysian Assam Laksa has an unmatched Southeast Asia because of its ideal combination of tartness and spicy flavor.
It’s hard to think of a better way to put Penang on the culinary map than with Assam laksa. Any Malaysian or foreigner who has ever experienced Assam Laksa will likely salivate at the mention of the dish. The Nyonya dish of Assam Laksa is one of the most popular, most tasty, most addicting, and most enticing of all the Nyonya creations.
Due to my late grandmother, Assam laksa (Nyonya Noodles with Fish Broth) is one of the most beloved dishes in my family. Grandma practiced Buddhism as a religious observance. She spoke Thai because she was raised by her Thai-Chinese mother (my great grandmother), and her religious rituals and day-to-day life were heavily influenced by Thai customs.
In Penang, Malaysia, the reclining Buddha temple Wat Chayamangkalaram is revered by many. My grandmother, grandfather, father, mother, and aunt would take me to Wat Chayamangkalaram once a month for a day of prayer. It was a family tradition. An image of Buddha called “Laksa Ang Kong” (also known as the “Laksa Buddha”) can be found inside the wat. Laksa Buddha is said to have a particular fondness for Laksa, and as a result, Laksa is the only acceptable form of worship.
To make Assam laksa, my grandma, mother, and aunt would get up early every month on the day of prayer to chop vegetables and remove fish meat from the bones, and I would help them in the kitchen by making the spice paste. As a result of this ritual, I’ve learned how to make a mean laksa, a treasure that I will always cherish.
This is how we make Assam laksa in my family or the famous Nyonya Noodles with Fish Broth. It’s delicious and has a special place in my heart, so I can’t get enough of it. It evokes fond memories of quality time spent with my family, celebrating our faith and enjoying delicious home-cooked meals, a feeling of nostalgia that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.
With this recipe, what are its complementary dishes?
The following recipes are great for a quick weeknight meal:
Assam laksa, also known as Asam Laksa, is a spicy, savory, sour, and fiery hot noodle dish that originated in Penang Nyonya cuisine. In Penang, Laksa is simply known as Laksa, and it can be found nearly everywhere.
- 8 cups water
- 1.5-pound mackerel fish
- laksa noodles
- 5 pieces asam keping, peeled tamarind
- 8 small shallots
- 15 dried red chilies
- 1 stalk lemongrass
- 5 fresh red chilies
- 2 tablespoons belacan, shrimp paste
- 1 inch (2cm) galangal
- 1/2 cup water, repeat 3-4 times
- tamarind, about golf ball size
- 2 tablespoons sugar or to taste
- 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
- 1 bungan kantan/torch ginger flower, cut into small pieces
- one red onion, sliced thinly
- 1 small pineapple, cut into short strips
- one lettuce, thinly cut
- 1 bunch mint leaves, use only the leaves
- one red chili/3-4 bird’s eye chilies, cut into small slices
- 1 cucumber, julienned
- one bunch polygonum leaves/Vietnamese mint leaves/ daun kesom/Daun laksa
- Heh Ko/Prawn Paste
- Remove the fish’s scales and guts before cooking. Put 8 cups of water to a boil in a pot.
- Boil the fish for about 10 minutes after adding it in. Let the fish cool in its cooking liquid before transferring it to a serving dish. The tamarind and polygonum leaves can be added to the simmering fish stock after it has been strained and the heat reduced to a low simmer.
- In between squeezing the flesh out of each fish, rinse your hands in a bowl of water and discard the bones. Put the fish back into the stock, shred it finely, and reduce the heat to a simmer.
- Grind the spice paste in a mini food processor to a fine powder. When the oil in the wok is hot, add the spice paste and sauté it for about 6-8 minutes, or until the aroma and flavor of the paste is intoxicating. Add the spice paste to the stock and bring it to a boil.
- Add the tamarind juice to the stock after it has been extracted. Keep the tamarind seed after straining the liquid. To ensure that all of the tamarind’s flavor is removed, repeat the process three or four times with half a cup of water each time. Your Assam Laksa stock should be sour enough for your taste. To taste, season with salt and sugar.
- Place the laksa noodles in a serving dish and top with the remaining vegetables. Serve with a spoonful of Heh Ko/prawn paste as soon as the fish broth is added to the bowl.
- Dried laksa noodles can be substituted for fresh if available. In Asian/Vietnamese grocery stores, Mount Elephant’s “Guilin Rice Vermicelli” is my favorite. It’s called Bun Bo Hue Guilin in Vietnamese. The laksa noodles here are similar to those back home, but they’re a little thinner.
- Try LaiFen Rice Stick/ from Guangdong, China, as an excellent substitute. Fresh Lai Fen can be found in many Asian markets.
- Because it isn’t readily available in the United States, Americans cannot consume Bunga kantan, or torch ginger flowers.
- Check out my Rasa Malaysia posts here for more information on Assam Laksa and Penang Laksa.