Reworking laksa lemak into a spiced bouillon

Reworking laksa lemak into a spiced bouillon

Green Pickled Peaches
Chris Chen

This came about from contemplating the gritty solids that gather at the bottom of a bowl of traditional laksa when the soup has been almost completely drunk. It led to this alternative of a light, clear and flavoursome bouillon.

For the spiced bouillon


Quantity Ingredient
1 litre light chicken s tock
sugar, to taste
10 french shallots, chopped
1 lemongrass stem, trimmed of tough outer leaves, bruised and sliced
3cm piece of galangal,, bruised and sliced
2cm piece of fresh turmeric,, bruised and sliced
1 tablespoon coriander seeds, roasted and ground
8 dried chillies, deseeded
6 medium prawns, unshelled
lime juice, to taste

For the prawn relish

Quantity Ingredient
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
fish sauce, to taste
lime juice, to taste

For the accompaniments

Quantity Ingredient
oil, for deep-frying
25g dried fish maw, (see glossary)
100g spanner crab meat
10g laksa leaves
1 lebanese cucumber, peeled and sliced


  1. Make the spiced bouillon:
  2. Bring the chicken stock to the boil. Season with salt and sugar. Add the shallots, lemongrass, galangal, turmeric, coriander seeds and dried chillies and simmer for 10 minutes. Peel the prawns, reserving all the shells. Drop the prawns into the stock and poach for 5 minutes, then remove and set aside. Add the shells and simmer for another 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, cover and leave to infuse for 30 minutes. Strain and set aside. When ready to use, season with lime juice and additional salt and sugar if you like.
  3. Make the prawn relish:
  4. Devein the poached prawns and shred the meat as finely as possible. Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the prawn meat and cook for around 30 minutes. While it is frying, use the wooden spoon to press the meat against the side of the pan to shred it to floss. Add a little water if the mixture starts to stick. It’s ready when the meat is evenly shredded into a dried floss (although the floss should not be overly dry). Season with fish sauce, salt and lime juice.
  5. Assemble the dish:
  6. Heat the oil to 180°C and deep-fry the fish maw until puffed up and golden. Rinse in cold water. Pour 100 ml of the spiced bouillon and 250 ml of water into a pan, add the maw and simmer for 30 minutes until very soft. Take out of the stock and cut into small chunks. Use the hot chicken stock to steep the crab meat until just cooked. Place a laksa leaf, piece of cucumber, some fish maw and crab meat into each person’s bowl and pour the broth over until the objects are semi-submerged. Sprinkle with prawn relish.
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