A day after I cooked this Assam Laksa, I learned that it is ranked 7th world most delicious food by CNN. T asked if I agree with the ranking. Well, I like Assam Laksa but not a big fan of it. Comparing to other famous Malaysian food, I fond more on Ipoh Bean Sprout Chicken (怡保芽菜鸡) and Nasi Lemak but both of them were not on the list.
Here are the top 50 most delicious food around the world by CNN:
(source: Malaysian Digest)
50. Buttered popcorn, United States
49. Masala dosa, India
48. Potato chips, United States
47. Seafood paella, Spain
46. Som tam, Thailand
45. Chicken rice, Singapore
44. Poutine, Canada
43. Tacos, Mexico
42. Buttered toast with Marmite, Britain
41. Stinky tofu, Southeast Asia
40. Marzipan, Germany
39. Ketchup, United States
38. French toast, Hong Kong
37. Chicken parm, Australia
36. Texas barbecue pork, United States
35. Chili crab, Singapore
34. Maple syrup, Canada
33. Fish ‘n’ chips, Britain
32. Ankimo, Japan
31. Parma ham, Italy
30. Goi cuon (summer roll), Vietnam
29. Ohmi-gyu beef steak, Japan
28. Pho, Vietnam
27. Montreal-style smoked meat, Canada
26. Fajitas, Mexico
25. Butter garlic crab, India
24. Champ, Ireland
23. Lasagna, Italy
22. Brownie and vanilla ice cream, global
21. Croissant, France
20. Arepas, Venezuela
19. Nam tok moo, Thailand
18. Kebab, Iran
17. Lobster, global
16. Egg tart, Hong Kong
15. Kalua pig, United States
14. Donuts, United States
13. Corn on the cob, global
12. Shepherd’s pie, Britain
11. Rendang, Indonesia
10. Chicken muamba, Gabon
9. Ice cream, United States
8. Tom yum goong, Thailand
7. Penang assam laksa, Malaysia
6. Hamburger, Germany
5. Peking duck, China
4. Sushi, Japan
3. Chocolate, Mexico
2. Neapolitan pizza, Italy
1. Massaman curry, Thailand
Something is missing in my Assam Laksa, do you know what is that?
I let T tasted the soup once it was ready, he said it was not Assam Laksa. When everything comes together in a bowl, he said "wow, it is very good". In this dish, toppings are playing equally important role as the soup. I had mine with lots of chilies, I felt the burning sensation in my ears after a bowl of steaming hot laksa.
Ingredients (4-5 servings):
500g Mackerel/Fresh Sardine fish
2 ltr water
5-6 slices assam gelugor
*Torch ginger bud, halved (after sliced some for topping)
*Vietnamese mint stems
1-2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp fish sauce
Assam paste to taste
Salt to taste
Laksa noodles (dried or fresh)
Spice Paste (blend together):
5 fresh red chilies, seeded and chopped
1 tbsp chili powder
8 small shallots
1 cm (5cmx5cm) belacan, toasted
2 stalks lemongrass, bruised
1 cm galangal, bruised
1 tbsp cooking oil
1 head green lettuce, thinly cut (I used iceberg)
1 cucumber, cut into short strips
1 wedge pineapple, cut into short strips
*5 prigs polygonum leaves/Vietnamese mint leaves, chopped briefly (daun kesom/daun laksa)
*1 torch ginger bud/bunga kantan, slice from the tip thinly (about 2cm is enough for topping)
2 prigs mint leaves, leaves only
1 red onion, sliced thinly
1 red chili sliced thinly4-5 bird’s eye chilies, chopped thinly
Prawn Paste/Petis/Heh Ko
- Bring water to a boil. Drop in fish, remove immediately once cooked and set aside. Add in assam gelugor, torch ginger bud and Vietnamese mint stems. Let it simmer.
- Meanwhile, remove and discard fish bones then flake fish flesh with a fork. Return fish flakes into the soup pot.
- Heat wok, add in oil and spice paste. Saute until oil is separated then transfer into soup pot. Let it simmer for at least 30 minutes.
- Add in assam paste, fish sauce, sugar and salt to taste. Continue to simmer to 10 minutes or so. Soup is ready to use at this point but you can cook longer if you wish.
- To serve, prepare laksa noodles according to the instruction on the packaging. If using fresh noodles, poach it just before serving for best result.
- Put noodles in a bowl, arrange cucumber, pineapple and lecture over the top. Pour hot soup over (drain into the pot, and pour in again to warm the bowl and ingredients in it), then scatter with chopped chili, torch ginger flower, Vietnamese mint and mint leaves. Plus some shrimp paste (petis) in the spoon at the side.
- Many recipes do not use Vietnamese leaves and torch ginger bud in the soup but I added as I have seen some sellers removing them from soup pot in the hawker.
- You can also use canned tuna, flake type will be good. Avoid canned sardine, little too fishy for this dish.
- To some people, shrimp paste (petis) is optional but I think it is a must ingredient the taste of Assam Laksa is not there without it.