Oh My Laksa...
Singaapore Katong Laksa Melbourne Style
S always comment on my cravings. It can carry me away on mad excursions hunting down the best-of this or that food or ingredients for a DIY job.
On this occasion, it was Katong Laksa, famous for the thick spicy coconut broth so often found in different incarnations in Singapore. Unfortunately the ones found in Melbourne are Malaysian in origin and resembles nothing like the rich beautiful laksa I remember from Singapore. When Singapore Chom Chom was around, they did a Singaporean version of laksa (not the Katong kind but it was really yummy and familiar). And yes, complete with chor bee hoon (thick rice vermicelli).
Fortunately, S had just returned from a trip to his hometown in Perth, where his mother generously supplied him with lemongrass and daun kesom (laksa leaves) grown in her garden. Inspired, I gathered shallots, dried chillies, birdseye chilli, candlenuts, hae bee (dried shrimps), belachan, Kara coconut milk and some chor bee hoon.
This fishcake is the premium kind supplied to great hawkers or restaurants in Singapore. Luckily for us, Emma Yong Tau Foo in Melbourne imports this and it's readily available in both their Springvale and Boxhill stores.
Chor bee hoon is a thick rice vermicelli commonly found in Singapore. It's not exactly the same as the Penang Laksa type or the Bun Bo Huy in Viet cuisines. Get dried Guilin Noodles and cook it up, it's quite similiar in texture. I've cut mine up as Singapore Katong Laksa is famous for that as you'll only be using the spoon to scoop up both broth and noodles at the same time. No chopsticks supplied.
After blending up the ingredients and heating up the rempah for half an hour on low-medium heat, we have Laksa!
Garnish with chopped up fresh laksa leaves, prawns and fishcake. Yummm...