Laksa is of Malay origin but the Nyonyas/Nonyas (Penang Peranakan) have their own version. This is certainly Malaysia's most popular noodle dish. It is rounded rice noodles (similar to but thinner than Japanese Odon noodles) served with gravy made from fish flakes and rich spices. The dish is garnished with vegetables and is certainly a healthy dish not cooked with oil.
Here is a family recipe - we do not use oil and the ingredients are always roughly estimated, never weighed.
1 packet laksa (rice) noodles/ or 1kg wet fresh laksa noodles
1 kg mackerel or small fishes
- 1 stalk bunga kantan (flower of ginger plant), cut into slices
- 5-8 fresh red chillies, 5-7 dried chillies
- 10mm slice of square shrimp cake/paste (belachan)
- 3 cm piece of lengkuas/galangal, cut to slices
- 4 stalks lemon grass, cut to slices
- 3-4 large onions, peeled and cut
- 8-10 shallots, pealed and cut
1 cucumber - shredded
1 stalk lettuce leaves - shredded
2 large onion - shredded
1 stalk bunga kantan (flower of blue ginger) - slice thinly
2 red chillies - sliced thinly
2-3 slices of pineapples - cut into small pieces
1 bunch mint leaves - sliced thinly
2-3 hard boiled egg (optional) - sliced
Other ingredients for gravy:
One heap tablespoon of tamarind (asam jawa) - amount up to taste
2 pieces of dried tamarind
3 stalks of kesum leaves (water pepper)
salt and sugar to taste
Clean the fishes and boil (or steam) until cooked. Flake out the flesh of the fishes and ensure all bone are remove. Break up the fish flakes finely, add two cups of water to the fish flakes in the blender and blend the mixture, and put aside.
Gravy: Squeeze 3 cups of tamarind juice from the tamarind and pour into a pot for cooking.
Pound or blend all the gravy spices (with some water) to a paste, then pour the paste into the pot of tamarind juice. Add 2 more cups of water and stir the mixture over fire. Add the kesum leaves and 2 cups of water into the pot. Bring to boil, turn down the heat/fire and let the mixture simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, until fragrant. Add the fish flakes that was blended, stir well, bring to boil and let it simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. Add salt and sugar to taste. (If gravy is too thick or insufficient, add more water.)
Cook the laksa noodles by soaking into boiling water until soft, drain well and wash with some cold water before putting aside.
Cut or shred the garnishing ingredients and place on a plate.
In Penang: Where to eat Penang Laksa
Penang Hill or Bukit Bendara in the Malay Language, is probably one 'cool' place to visit when in Penang, which makes it a popular tourist for locals and foreigners. The hill has an elevation of about 833 m (2723 ft) and is located in the area clled Air Itam in the heart of Penang Island. On a breezy day the daytime air is much cooler than the city of George Town, which make it a great place to be in the sun. Temperature ranges from 20 to 25 degree Celsius, with cooler night air and a time to see the city lights.
Visitors can go up te hill by trekking up or by funicular train. Funicular train that leaves every 10 to 20 minutes, is an attraction - it takes visitors to the top of the hill in minutes, up the inclined slope that averages 29 degrees or more.
Jungle trekking is one of the popular activities in Penang Hills. There are many routes up the hill and some of the popular trekking routes are from the botanical gardens, Hye Keat Estate in Air Itam and some trail of Tiger hill.
On top of the hill is a mosque, indian temple, food court, owl museum and a hotel.
Location: Jalan Stesen Bukit Bendera, Air Itam, 11500 Pulau Pinang, Malaysia. Longitude : 5.408505 Latitude : 100.2770425
Contact: Tel : 604-8288880, 604-8288839, 604-8288861, 604-8288862
myPenang - the inside guide to where to go and what to eat
myPenang is a travel guide book written to guide you through the labyrinth of Penang's hawker streets as well as provide a glimpse of the rich historical heritage and culture of the island. It gives you insider local knowledge of the place. There are numerous maps inside to guide you.
Some of the articles or extracts of the articles in the book is on this website with permission from the author.
myPenang is only available at MPH Malaysia.
Author: Lim Bee Chin
1st Edition - 2005