Fried Laksa

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One of Mum’s friends once made a dry version of laksa for a potluck. It made so much sense to do it without the liquid for easy luggability. It was really yummy, so I had to recreate a version so that DC could try it. It was incredibly easy, although it requires quite a bit of effort in chopping everything up. The picture didn’t come out so good partly because I was trying out a new camera and partly because I lost patience with the chopping. Get some help with the cutting if you can. If not, don’t worry, it tastes much better than it looks!



2 tbsp dried shrimp, soaked in water
1 piece belachan, about the size of two 50 cent coins, toasted
6 shallots
1 clove garlic
5 stalks laksa leaves
3 tbsp cooking oil
2 tbsp dried shrimp (keep dry, do not wash)
2 lemongrass stalks, sliced
2 thick slices galangal
1 packet laksa paste (I use Dancing Chef brand)
good squirt of coconut milk, approx 10 tbsp
6 taupok, cut into squares
400g beansprouts (40 cents from my market), picked over and washed
1 kg thick beehoon ($1 from my market)

20 poached prawns, shelled
1 big fish cake, shredded
2 chicken breasts, poached and shredded
3 eggs, hard boiled and sliced

1 cucumber, peeled, cored and shredded
large handful laksa leaves, shredded


  1. Pound the soaked shrimp using a mortar and pestle together with the belachan, shallots, garlic and a handful of laksa leaves.
  2. Fry the dried shrimp in hot oil till crisp, taking care to put them all in at the same time. Remove promptly from the oil as the shrimp burn easily. Set aside on paper towels to absorb the excess oil.
  3. In the same oil, fry the pounded paste of shrimp, belachan, shallots and garlic with the lemongrass and galangal slices till fragrant, about 2 minutes on low. Pour in the laksa paste and fry till fragrant or till you start choking from the pungent chilli smell (whichever comes first). Remember to turn on the fan extractor if you have one. Still, it’s pretty much guaranteed that your whole house will reek of laksa for days.
  4. Remove the lemongrass and galangal, discard.
  5. Add the coconut milk and stir till you get a thick but fairly runny paste.
  6. Stir in the taupok and beansprouts, making sure to incorporate fully before adding in the next ingredient, then finally the noodles.
  7. Check the seasoning, adding fish sauce to taste. Garnish with cucumber shreds, chopped laksa leaves and crispy dried shrimp.
  8. Serve with fish cake, prawns, chicken and boiled egg slices on the side for everyone to help themselves.

Enough for 6.


Shanghai Street Eats: More Dumplings

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Mum is very particular about cleanliness and is not surprisingly cool towards street food. Rare is the day she’ll pull up a stool and slurp noodles by the roadside in a foreign country. Of course, with the NEA hygiene assessment system she’s more than happy to enjoy her local makan.

This was one of the rare times she agreed to eat at a hole-in-the-wall establishment in Shanghai. We were at the Yuyuan/Chenghuang Miao area doing some shopping and were delayed at the tailor. There was no way I was going to have anything at Nanxiang, the famously overhyped xiao long bao place. I’ve never liked it and find that stuff at Din Tai Fung, while still not the best, is far superior.

As we walked down a little alley to escape the tourist hordes, I spied a few little places and persuaded my mum to have lunch here. It had to be good since it was full to the gills when we passed by at 11.30 (the local lunch time). We stood awkwardly by the racks of dumplings trying to figure out how to order. Good thing they soon figured out that we weren’t exactly local from our dress and weird accent.

Here, they sell the shui jiao (boiled dumplings) by the liang, about 50 g. Noticing our still-uncertain expressions, the boss-man suggested that we take three liang and he’ll give us an assortment of the different flavours. I think there must’ve been something like eight flavours at least on display that day. There were beef, pork, lamb, chives and other vegetables with various combinations of preserved vegetables and aromatics.


We identified at least three different flavours of the freshly boiled shui jiao and slurped them down alternately with the vinegar and chilli paste provided at the table. These dumplings were the sturdier northern version, more like Polish pierogi than the more delicate Cantonese ones.

The boss-man came over to check how we liked the food and told us that he came from Dongbei, that’s why his shui jiao were so good and so different from the usual Shanghainese pap. Well-said, boss-man!


Surprisingly, Mum said she enjoyed this meal and said that next time we could get some raw ones to take home for a hot pot so Dad could try some too.

I’ll find out the address and post it next time I visit Shanghai.