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Food from the World: Laksa Soup

Asian food has started dominating the entire world. What? There is something more popular than pizza and cheeseburgers? It might seem strange but recently people began developing their taste in terms of chicken rice, spring rolls, sushi, dim sum, tom yum, satay, laksa and many other types of foods that have weird names.

The good news is that they aren’t wrong by exploring the Asian gastronomy. This is one of the most complex ones and a worthy opponent of the European and American food. Although not as familiar as sushi, laska for example is a very appreciated kind of food coming from Singapore (so they say). Are you curious to learn more about this interesting type of food?

Laksa Soup: A bit of history….

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1. Among the first references related to this type of food we discover the Chinese word 辣沙 which means ‘spicy sand.’ This name comes from the prawns that make the sauce resemble a dirty sauce. And speaking of dirty, another legend says that the name comes from a word in Hokkien that has the same reference.

2. Some sources say that laksa is the creation of the Chinese people who settled among the British groups in Malaysia around the 15th century.

3.  Laksa is a sort of soup made out of a combination of noodles, curry, fish, lemongrass and garlic. The recipes vary according to the region where they are being prepared.

4. When talking about origin most people say that the epicenter of this food is Malaysia but its fame rapidly grew and spread in Southeast Asia (Singapore, Cambodia, Indonesia, etc.)

Curry vs. Asam Laksa  

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From the original recipe 2 main variations of laksa have evolved. They are known under the name of curry and asam laksa. These two recipes are quite similar but they do have one main and important difference: the stock. While curry laksa uses coconut milk as the main ingredient that can offer the soup a richer broth, the asam laksa is based mostly on sour tamarind paste.

Another difference is that the asam laksa used rice noodles and the curry one plays around with spaghetti-sized noodles. You know, to make a difference!

Below you can find a simple recipe of the curry laksa. Feel free to try it at home but I should warn you: if you want to taste the real deal go to Southeast Asia!

Simple Laksa Soup Recipe

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You can simplify your job by buying laksa paste before you begin cooking. This can surely save you some time and can give the same delicious results as the original.

1. In a stockpot, add 3 tablespoons of oil and sauté 120 g of instant curry paste (it can be bought at the supermarket) until you get an aromatic mixture.
2. Add 2 cups of chicken broth, 2 cups of water, 2 stalks lemongrass, 5 kaffir lime leaves, 10 tofu puffs and bring everything to boil.

3. Afterwards, lower the heat and let this combination simmer. Add 1/2 cup of evaporated milk and 1/2 cup coconut milk. Keep everything to a simmer and add salt to taste.

4. Rinse a handful of yellow noodles and bring them to boil with a handful of bean sprouts. After they are done, drain them and put them into the serving bowl.

5. Above these put 2-3 shrimps, some fish cake and 2 hardboiled egg quarters. Pour the laksa soup and some tofu puffs on top. Serve hot!

I don’t know about you but I know what’s first on my list if I ever go to Southeast Asia: laksa soup!