We recently visited the kitchen of Double Crown in New York, where chef Brad Farmerie (also of Public) showed us how to make their Singapore laksa. This dazzling soup requires a fair amount of ingredients, but once you've assembled them all, the rest is a breeze, as Chef Farmerie shows. Farmerie also gives some tips for substitutions if you're unable to track down some of the more obscure items. (The complete written recipe is available below the video, below.)
Double Crown's Singapore Laksa, with Chef Brad Farmerie:
Double Crown Laksa
Serves 6-8 depending on portion size
Our take on traditional Singapore laksa came on the menu courtesy of Chris Rendell, the Chef de Cuisine at Double Crown. He balances the sour, salty, spicy, and aromatic qualities that we fell in love with while traveling, and combines them beautifully in one memorable dish.
There are as many versions of laksa as there are chefs that cook it, so feel free to experiment with different substitutions depending on what is fresh and what is available.
The only hard thing about the laksa paste is finding all of the unusual ingredients but a trip to an Asian market should meet this challenge. Once the paste is cooked, I would suggest freezing it in an ice cube tray so that it is easy to thaw out as much as you need for the night.
Challenge yourself and you will be rewarded with some seriously authentic coconut goodness!
4 teaspoons dried prawns soaked in water for 10 minutes
3 dried birds eye chili
4 teaspoons coriander seeds
2 red onions- peeled and chopped
5 clove garlic
4 teaspoons minced lime zest
1 stalk lemongrass
1 Tablespoon fresh galangal, peeled and chopped (can substitute fresh ginger)
1 Tablespoon fresh turmeric, peeled and chopped
5 red birds eye chili, roughly chopped
35g candle nuts (can substitute Macadamia nuts)
3 cilantro roots (can substitute the stems from a small bunch of cilantro)
1 ½ teaspoon dry powdered ginger
2 Tablespoon chopped cilantro (coriander) leaves
150g vegetable oil
1) In separate pans dry roast the belacan, dried chilies, and coriander seeds until fragrant. Allow them to cool.
2) combine all of the ingredients except the oil in a food processor and blend to a smooth paste, scraping down the sides to ensure that everything is processed.
3) While the processor is running slowly add about ¼ of the oil
4) Heat a large based pot over low heat, add the laksa paste, and gently cook over low heat for 30-45 minutes until the paste is fragrant, darker in color and appears to have most of the moisture cooked out of it.
5) Spoon into container, cover with the remaining oil.
2 1/2 Tablespoons laksa paste
1 liter chicken stock
2 cans coconut milk
2 Tablespoons fish sauce (or more to taste)
2 Tablespoons lime juice (or more to taste)
1 Tablespoon sambal (optional)
1) place the laksa paste in a pot and put over medium heat
2) just when it starts to sizzle add the chicken stock and coconut milk
3) bring the soup up to a boil and season with the fish sauce, lime juice, and sambal (if using)
4) adjust the saltiness with fish sauce and acidity with lime juice as needed
We serve this soup in tea cups, but feel free to use any soup bowl
1 cup picked crab (can substitute tofu, fried yuba, chopped lobster or prawn, poached chicken, etc)
500g cooked rice noodles
A handful of beansprouts
Thinly sliced chili
Picked Thai basil, mint
Crispy shallots (available from Asian markets)
1) place the noodles in the bottom of each bowl
2) place the crab on top of the noodles
3) pour the hot laksa into each bowl
4) top with bean sprouts, chili, fresh herbs, and crispy shallots
5) be sure to serve with chopsticks and a soup spoon so that your guests can grab the noodles and drink the broth all at the same time.