Friday, 17 April 2009

An old favourite: Assam Laksa!

Just a few days left in Malaysia, dear Mom asked me What else would I want to eat, my last fix before heading home. Even before I answered, she knew! It's got to be Mom's Assam Laksa, what else? Before I even finish uttering the words Assam Laksa, she's on the phone with the fishmonger, ordering Ikan Kembung for this wonderful Malaysian classic.

Here's the story. I wanted to catch up with some old friends before I leave. Friends I went to school with, friends I sang with in school, best friends! So I've organised for them to come over one weekend, just to hang out and chit chat. But mom being mom, NO ONE comes to her house without getting a feed (I guess that's where I got my trait from!), she cooked up a storm that morning.

Cooking Assam Laksa is so labour intensive! First there's cooking whole fish in a huge pot of boiling water with smashed ginger flower, Assam and Vietnamese mint leaves. Then it's the hard part of peeling off the flesh from the fish, making sure every single bone is omitted. My grandma and I sat for hours peeling the fish. We were making Laksa for 40 people, it was a mountain of fish. I commented, "well grandma, if anyone choke on a fish bone, you know who they'll blame! I've got better eyes than you! He He!". Truth is, it's all skills. There's a way to peel the fish, and she definitely does it better! Mom then takes all of the bones, inclusive of the head and tail, blends it to a pulp, strain and puts it back into the soup, together with a freshly ground chilli and spice paste. This makes the fish broth delicious and ultra tasty.

Now, a few more things to do before I indulge. Finely slice 4 cucumbers, 2 pineapples, a whole heap of red onions, ginger flower, small chillies, coral lettuce and mint leaves. My arms felt so sore, but there's no time for complaining! Our guests were coming, my tummy rumbling and I can't wait to eat Mom's delicious Laksa! Well and truly worth it, to every single last drop.
It was such a lovely meet up. I think they enjoyed the Laksa and I definitely enjoyed their company.

And I had 3 bowls in one sitting!
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