Servings: 4 to 6
- Shallots, chopped — 10
- Garlic, chopped — 10 cloves
- Hot chiles, chopped — from 2 to 10
- Dried shrimp, soaked and drained — 3 tablespoons
- Candlenuts or macadamia nuts (optional) — 6
- Curry powder — 2 tablespoons
- Coriander — 1 tablespoon
- Sugar — 2 tablespoons
- Salt — 2 teaspoons
- Oil — 3 tablespoons
- Chicken stock — 1 quart
- Coconut milk — 2 (15-ounce) cans
- Lemongrass, white part only, crushed — 2 stalks
- Shrimp, peeled and deveined — 1 pound
- Deep-fried tofu squares — 1/2 pound
- Fresh rice vermicelli or other noodles — 1 1/2 pounds
- Bean sprouts — 1/4 pound
- Hard-boiled eggs, cut in half — 3
- Cilantro or Vietnamese coriander (daun kesum) — 1 bunch
- Limes, quartered — 2
- Chili sambal (optional) — to taste
- Place all of the ingredients for the rempah paste into a mortar or food processor and grind or process until smooth. Adjust seasoning to your taste with sugar and salt.
- Bring a large pot of water to a slow boil at the back of the stove. Heat the oil in another large pot or wok over medium flame. Add the rempah paste and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until darkened and fragrant.
- Stir in the chicken stock, coconut milk and lemongrass. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove and discard the lemongrass.
- Stir in the shrimp and tofu squares and simmer slowly for another 10 minutes or so.
- While the soup is simmering, bring the simmering pot of water to a full boil. Drop the fresh noodles into the boiling water and cook for 10 to 15 seconds, or according to package directions. Drain and portion the noodles into serving bowls.
- Adjust the soup’s seasoning with salt and sugar. Ladle portions of broth, shrimp and tofu into the bowls. Top with sprouts, hard-boiled egg halves and sprigs of herbs.
- Serve with lime quarters and chili sambal on the side for diners to stir in as they wish. Laksa is eaten with a spoon for the broth and chopsticks for the noodles and other yummy stuff.
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