Home for the weekend…

I guess it is going to be like this every week from now on – Sunday, we will send Melissa to her school in Selangau and come Friday, we would wait for her to come home for the weekend. All week, I would be cooking stuff and packing it all in containers for her to take along with her when she goes back so she would only need to cook the rice and heat up the food to eat – no need to go through all that hassle of cooking and I would say that it is definitely not easy to cook for one person. Other than that, I would be thinking of what I would be able to cook for her to eat when she comes home – something really special that she would look forward to.

Well, last Friday, I decided to cook some Sarawak laksa as my ex-student cum lawyer friend, Louis, managed to get me a packet of this very special sambal laksa (laksa paste) from here

Absolute Tribal laksa paste

I was there for dinner but I did not know at that point in time that they were selling this there and I only discovered it when the young and handsome proprietor cum manager, Gerald, posted a photo of it on Facebook…and since Louis was in Kuching at the time, I asked him to help me get a packet to try.

I had these udang galah/tua thow hay (freshwater prawns) in the freezer so I decided to use those for a change…

Udang galah

Normally, we would just use the seawater pek hay (white prawns), shelled and de-veined.

I had to prepare them first though – I had to remove the long legs and cut off the tip of the head to remove the blueish gray sac inside. If you do not do so, this would give the prawns an unpleasant bitter taste. I also cut the shell all along the back and removed the vein  – this would also serve to make it easier to remove the shell of the prawn when eating. Having done that, I boiled them in a  pot of water…

Boiled

…and then, I took them out and put them aside.

In the meantime, I emptied the laksa paste into the stock and after stirring it well, I put the pot back on the fire and brought it to boil…

Ready to boil

I also added a handful of ikan bilis (anchovies) to it for some added flavour and sweetness. I remember seeing a laksa stall in town where they bought all the unwanted ikan bilis heads cheap to boil and use as stock.

While it was simmering, I went about to do the other things that I needed to do including opening the packet of mihun and pouring hot water over it to soften it…

Mihun

Once soft enough, I drained away all the water and put the mihun aside for use later.

I also pounded some chilies and belacan (dried prawn paste) together…

Sambal belacan

…and got some calamansi lime to squeeze over the sambal belacan to eat with the laksa.

I bought some taugeh (bean sprouts) – RM2 of it, tails removed so I would not have to go through the chore of doing that. I poured some hot water onto it and drained it quickly…

Taugeh

…and put it aside for the time being as well.

I fried some omelette and cut it into very thin strips…

Egg

…to be used for garnishing and I also got some fish cakes as well (RM2 for a packet of two – I got two packets of those). Normally, I would get some chicken (breast) and boil and use the stock for the laksa gravy and then I would tear the meat into very thin shreds to be eaten with the laksa but since we do not usually eat meat on Friday, I decided to do without it this time around.

The lady selling the fish cake insisted that there would not be any unpleasant smell that one may find sometimes in fish balls and such but I was pretty sure I could smell something. In the end, I decided to boil the fish cakes and then I lightly fried the pieces in a pan after which, I cut them into very thin slices…

Fish cake

I tried a bit and true enough, there was no smell so I reckoned there and then that they would be suitable for use. The fact that they did not expand when boiling showed that there was more fish and not a whole lot of flour in them which would be an indication that they were pretty good fish cakes then.

In the meantime, I sieved the laksa gravy/broth to remove the unwanted stuff…

Tapis

Actually, my pot was too small so what I did was, I put what I had collected back into the pot and added some water and boiled again – twice…till I had enough broth for 6-8 bowls of Sarawak laksa. Then I added a can of santan (coconut milk) – of course, it would be a lot nicer if you could squeeze your own but I was too lazy to bother doing that.

By the time everything was done, the whole house was filled with the laksa fragrance from top to bottom – I tried a bit of the broth and found that it was very nice, and it was salty enough so I did not have to add anything else. I don’t know exactly whether there was salt in the paste or whether that was because of the handful of ikan bilis that I had thrown in to boil.

To serve, you put the mihun in a bowl and all the condiments on top and then you pour the laksa broth all over them…or you can add the condiments after you have poured the broth over the mihun in the bowl. I invited Louis over for lunch but perhaps he was shy as he only had a bowl…

STP's laksa 1

I think my missus had two not-very-big helpings while I had two bowls myself…and when Melissa got home, she also had two helpings…

STP's laksa 2

There was a bit left over so we finished it all up for dinner.

Was it good? I suppose the photos speak for themselves – I would not need to say more…

STP's laksa 3

…but I did think that with the sambal belacan that I had pounded and a little squeeze of the calamansi lime, it really tasted great – pat…pat on my back!!! Hehehehehehehe!!!!!

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