Auntie Ruby's Assam Laksa - 03 The Recipe

Friday, December 16, 2011

We finally come down to the recipe.

I should pause to credit the recipe to my brother Clement and my sis-in-law, Mary from Ipoh. They love Assam Laksa and have taken the trouble to learn it from my Mum. Some of the beautiful pics here were taken by their daughter Japhia Wong. You can see through her lens that she is talented.  

The preparation of the fish broth is described in greater detail here. For info on some of Assam Laksa special ingredients and how they are prepared, go here.

Auntie Ruby's Assam Laksa Recipe
To serve 15-20.  Download the recipe in PDF here

Mackerel (Ikan Kembung)

6-8 litres
2 kilos
1.      Boil the fish for 5 minutes.
2.      Debone the fish. (Detailed steps here)
3.      Separate the heads and smash them.
4.      Then along with the bones, add back to the pot of simmering stock.
5.      Simmer for another 15 minutes.
Blended –
blue ginger (galangal/lengkuas) ginger flower (bunga kantan)
lemon grass (serai)
yellow ginger (kunyit)
shallots (small red onions)
dried chillies

2 inch
4 stalks
8 stalks
2 pieces
60 pieces
6.      Soak the dried chilies in warm water
7.      Blend along with the rest of the prepared ingredients into a smooth paste.  
8.      Add to the broth
tamarind paste (assam paste)
laksa leaves (daun kesum)
dried tamarind skins
dried shrimp paste (belachan)
2 bowls
2 bowls
4 pieces
2x2x1 in piece
3 tablespoons
1 tablespoon
9.      Add the Assam water into the pot.
10.  Add the rest of the ingredients to the pot and simmer for 45 minutes.
11.   Adjust with chili paste, sugar and salt, to taste.

Finishing the broth
deboned fish meat
sugar and salt

Preparing the Noodles
Thick Rice Noodles

2.5 kg
13.  Blanched the noodles in boiling water for half a minute
14.  Add the laksa broth, placing pieces of fish on top
Garnishing the bowls
cucumber (julienned)
pineapple (julienned)
red onions (sliced)
mint leaves
ginger flower (diced)
chilies (sliced)
prawn paste (heh kou)

15.   Add the garnishes and serve. 

      Alternatively, provide them as self-service at the dining table.
Further Notes:

More water can be added later when you are adjusting the taste.

The broth will taste even better after a few hours or when left overnight. It need not be refrigerated if eaten within 2 days. The broth needs to be spicy enough or else it is not 'shiok.' You can add chili paste or chili padi (small chillies) to adjust the spiciness. Some parts of the fish preparation can be made easier if you use a stick blender. Pineapple will up the sweetness and tartness. The garnishes allows the diner to adjust his bowl of laksa further. For better presentation (and even taste), you can separate out the larger pieces of fish meat and reserve them for final garnishing instead of cooking them further in the broth.

As always, there are ways you can improve or adjust this, depending on whether it is just your family eating or you are cooking for a party. Unfortunately, this laksa don't go well with most other dishes. It will certainly kill your bottle of wine.

Grab a chopstickful along with the prawn paste and garnishes and let it explode in your mouth.
That is the way to enjoy this.
The best thing you should do after reading these 3 posts is to try it out. Remember that it will take many tries to produce it consistently well. Use the recipe as a guide and adjust according to your preference. Understand the underlying principles and you are on your way to making good Assam Laksa consistently.

This dish is well worth your effort. And for generations after - you will keep the tradition.

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  1. Thanks for the 3 parts, in detail of your mum's Assam Laksa recipe. I grew up eating one of the best assam laksa around (this guy who has been serving assam laksa in his portable stall at pasar malams, there is always a long queue to buy it). I agree that sardines is in no way passable for the fish stock!!
    Living in UK, the only thing I miss is a bowl of assam laksa and I don't think I am so diligent to make it from scratch (plus I don't know where to find bunga kantan), but thankfully there is a good Msian restaurant about an hours' drive away. I made once using a paste meant for Assam Fish, with small tweaks, I think it tasted almost as good as the real deal! (Almost, but not quite)

  2. If u r elsewhere, having something that is close to what you had will be good enough. It takes some creativity and culinary skills to improvise :)

  3. I cooked it according to your recipe and it was good and after a few days, it was even better! Thank you for sharing!

  4. I will be trying out your recipe tomorrow - however, did you mention anywhere in your recipe how many litres of water to boil for that amount of kembong you're using?

  5. Sorry please ignore my comment on amount of water used - I just saw! I am super embarrassed!

  6. I tried the recipe and cooked for my wife as she loves Penang Assam Laksa.
    It was awesome! My wife and surprisingly my son loves it too!
    Only things i am not clear was that what do you meant by 2 bowls of laksa leave?
    let me know as this is my email
    Well done, Excellence stuff! Thanks for sharing!

    1. When I put up this recipe I wondered who will bother to make this. glad I was wrong :) two bowls of laksa leaves? Yeah, two bowls of that to add to the broth

  7. HI very interesting recipe. However when you say bowls, what size bowls are you referring to.

  8. I am referring to Chinese rice bowls.

  9. I just got back from Penang and couldn't get enough of Penang Laksa. Thanks for sharing!

  10. Hi Sandra - yes, Penang Laksa is amazing and a somewhat mysterious dish to many

  11. Looking to attempt your mouth watering recipe this weekend. Just want to confirm the 30 pieces of turmeric. Is that right?

  12. Perfect.. thanks Terry. Great work you have there!!

  13. Hi.. Thanks a lot your recipe!! I try few dish.. Super good.. For this penang laksa.. The fush bone anf head is all the way in the broth? Or after simmer 15 mins then need to strained out? Thanks again..

  14. Sorry.. Fish bone and head

  15. Freddy - If you smash/pound the bones and heads very finely, you won't need to strain the broth. If not able to, just strain it.

  16. isnt there 4 different kinds of fish used in the soup?

  17. im pregnant and craving for Assam Laksa. i even asked my husband to buy at Pak Li Kopitiam in Shah Alam and freeze the broth. Bring with him when he fly to Labuan (i work here). Finally i found your site! Owh Im so lucky..this is exactly what i'm looking for..authentic assam laksa. thank u for the recipe. hope to get all the ingredients by this week and tadaaa....ready to enjoy it. thanks again.

  18. Thanks for the recipe of this favorite great dish. Best!

  19. Hi there, what does Child paste means in step 11? Also , isnt' shallots = red onions? :)

  20. Chid= chili - sorry typo, shallots=small red onions

  21. Made this many times now and always a winner amongst Malaysians here in North East England. Thank You so much.

  22. Hello. I have a question about the size of the bowl i.e. 2 bowls of tamarind paste. I live in the US so I'm not sure how big a bowl in this case is. Do you mean like a regular rice bowl or a measuring cup? Thank you very much for sharing this recipe.