Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Singapore: Curry Laska {CATWWC}

We visited Singapore by tabletop earlier this week in our Cooking Around the World Adventures.

On the Map
Singapore is a tiny, heavily urbanized island/city-state in Southeast Asia. It's located at the end of the Malayan Peninsula between Malaysia and Indonesia.

from geography.howstuffworks.com

A Few Fun Facts
  • Singapore consists one main island and 63 other tiny islands. Almost all of the islands are uninhabited.
  • The national flower, Vanda Miss Joaquim, was first discovered in 1893 by Agnes Joaquim, an Armenian. The orchid is a natural hybrid.
  • Although English is the official National language, the national anthem ‘Majulah Singapura‘ is actually sung in Malay.
  • The flying fox, the world’s largest bat, can be found on Pulau Ubin, one of the islands off mainland Singapore.
  • The Bukit Timah Nature Reserve in Singapore contains more species of trees than the entire North American continent.
  • The Singapore Sling was first served in 1915 at the Long Bar of the Raffles Hotel. The ingredients are gin, Cointreau, cherry brandy, Dom Benedictine, pineapple juice, Grenadine, Angoustura bitters and limes.

In Our Bowls: Curry Laska
Curry Laska, also called Curry Mee, is a ubiquitous offering from street vendors all through Southeast Asia. Each vendor hawks his or her own version of the rich, coconut-milk based soup. Here's my version...


Ingredients
Rempah Paste

  • 3 shallots, chopped
  • 1 T curry powder
  • 1 t sugar
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 T ground almonds
  • 1 T dried shrimp, soaked and drained
  • 1 hot chile pepper, chopped

Soup

  • splash of olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 5 C organic chicken stock
  • 2 C coconut milk
  • 1 pound seafood (I used a mixture of shrimp, squid, and Pacific cod)
  • thin noodles (I used capellini, traditional would have been rice vermicelli)

Garnishes

  • hard-boiled eggs, halved
  • thin slices of tofu (traditional would have been deep fried)
  • fresh cilantro
  • lemon wedges
  • chili sambal, optional

Procedure
Place all of the ingredients for the rempah paste into a mortar and grind until smooth. Adjust seasoning with salt and sugar to your taste.

In a large soup pot, heat a splash of olive oil. Add the rempah paste and cook until darkened and fragrant - approximately 3 to 4 minutes. Add in the onions and cook for a minute or two, stirring so that the onions are completely covered in paste.Stir in the chicken stock and coconut milk. Bring to a boil, then stir in the seafood and simmer slowly for another 10 minutes or so - until the seafood is opaque.

In another pot, bring water to a full boil and cook the noodles according to the package directions. Drain and divide noodles into serving bowls.

Ladle portions of broth and seafood into the bowls. Top with hard-boiled egg halves, sprigs of herbs, and slices of tofu. Serve with lemon wedges and chili sambal on the side. Laksa is typically eaten with a spoon for the broth and chopsticks for the noodles.

A couple of years ago, I made Gajar Halwaa colorful carrot pudding that's cented with cardamom and studded with cashews. (Click the name, above, to go to the original recipe post).


Well, I'm voting 'done' on Singapore. These culinary adventurers will be heading to Slovakia next. I'm thinking of their garlic soup...

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