You know I am astounded by how many amazing chef there are out there in the world. All of which are a Common Chef in one way or another. Like many of them I get inspired by what I see another person trying and experimenting with when it comes to cooking. Recently one of those observations led me to discover an out of this world dish call Laska. As many of you know from following my blog that I love to fuse different kind a cuisine from different parts of the world. Well there is no better example of this then a Laska. So this week I embarked on an experiment to create a truly one of a kind recipe that I call,
Central Florida Verde Laska
Again I like to thank Wikipedia for the information that I found. According to their site “Laksa is a popular spicy noodle soup from the Peranakan culture, which is a merger of Chinese and Malay elements found in Malaysia and Singapore, and Indonesia.
The origin of the name “laksa” is unclear. One theory traces it back to Hindi/Persian lakhshah, referring to a type of vermicelli, which in turn may be derived from the Sanskrit lakshas (लकशस्) meaning “one hundred thousand” (lakh). It has also been suggested that “laksa” may derive from the Chinese word 辣沙 (Cantonese), meaning “spicy sand” due to the ground dried prawns which gives a sandy or gritty texture to the sauce. The last theory is that the name comes from the similar sounding word “dirty” in Hokkien due to its appearance.”
So before we get started I like to say that this is a very spice laden recipe and I actually a combination of two recipes. 1st I will make my own green curry paste from scratch to use in the Laska soup. Also there is a lot of shellfish in this dish so be prepared for a rather pungent outcome that may linger in the kitchen for a while.
So here is what you will need.
- Ø 1 stalk lemon-grass or 3 Tbsp. minced
- Ø 1-3 green jalapeño
- Ø 1 shallot,
- Ø 4-5 cloves garlic
- Ø 1 thumb-size piece of ginger, thinly sliced
- Ø 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves & stems
- Ø 1/2 cup basil/sweet basil
- Ø 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
- Ø 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
- Ø 1/2 tsp. ground coriander
- Ø 3 Tbsp. fish sauce
- Ø 1/2 tsp. salt
- Ø 2 Tbsp. lime juice
- Ø 1 tsp. brown sugar
- Ø 1 tsp. curry powder
- Ø 1 can coconut milk
- Ø 2 ½ cups chicken stock
- Ø 10 button mushrooms
- Ø ½ lb. large raw shrimp (peeled and deveined)
- Ø 1 pack dried vermicelli rice noodles
- Ø 1 tablespoon lime juice
- Ø 1/4 cup canned coconut cream
- Ø 1 sweet red pepper
- Ø 1 cup bamboo shoot
- Ø 1 pork chop or pork steak
- Ø 2 tilapia filet’s
- Ø ½ lb. small scallops
As you can see this recipe has a lot of ingredients so first I recommend doing some prep-work to get all you meats and vegetables washed and cut down to size. As well remeasure all your spices to all you will have to do is add them when the time comes. Nothing is worse the trying to cut up something while you need to be stirring something else. It takes only a second for something to start to burn. So set yourself up for success and get all the little details sorted out and ready to go.
Thaw out your meats is needed, and cut up your tilapia filet’s and pork steak in to cubes and strips. Once done set aside in the refrigerator. Next wash and cut up your peppers, scallions, mushrooms, and chop up your cilantro. Finally get all your spices measure out or at least set up nearby.
Once things start going this recipe cooks up rather fast so I recommend getting your noodles cooked first. Rice noodles I find are a less forgiving if left into long and have a bad texture is overcooked. So boil up a pot of water and soak the noodles for about 10 minutes. No need to salt the water and the noodles will absorb the flavor of the soup. Keep an eye on them and test their firmness by pinching a noodle in your fingers (careful not to burn yourself). They should break apart when squeezed but not smooch between your digits. Once ready strain, rinse with cold water and set aside.
For the next step we are going to make the green curry paste. This is going to be the base for the soup and will use the majority of our ingredients. Luckily we are just going to blend them together so it won’t be too hard. Make sure you have blender or a food processor. Combine your lemon grass, jalapeños, lime juice, shallot, ginger, cilantro, brown sugar, fish sauce, ground coriander, Salt, Black Pepper, sweet/regular basil, and ground cumin, and curry powder. Add a little Coconut milk or chicken stalk to help with the blending. Blend until smooth and taste to see if it is too salty for you. Now watch out, because this paste will be spicy as those jalapeños have jumped up the heat factor. Remember you can always add a little more lime juice or Brown sugar to bring down the saltiness. Also as always you can add more spices for flavor but you can’t take them out so take you time and maybe add a little at a time if you are not comfortable with these spices. Once it is to your liking put aside for later.
Our next step is to start cooking the meats and getting the pot ready for the Laska. Start by warming up about 3 Tablespoons of Peanut oil or Olive oil will work fine to. Along with the oil go on and add you chopped garlic cloves and raise the heat to Med-Hi. The garlic will let you know when the temperature is ready to move on.
Once the garlic starts to sizzle it’s time to add your ½ lb. of scallions and sauté for about 1 minute. Next we are going to add our freshly made green curry along with a pinch of Turmeric powder and stir. Let’s turn up the heat and cook for another minute until everything in the mixture is brought up in temperature. Next we to add our chicken stock, coconut milk, Salt, Fish sauce and bring to a boil. Make sure to continually stir the pan and once each reaches a boil only let it stay there for a moment. Reduce the heat to a simmer and let the soup cook for about 5 minutes. Next add the mushrooms, sliced red bell pepper, shrimp, tilapia, and pork and return soup back up to a boil for another 5 minutes. Finally time to cut off the heat and let the soup cool and flavor settle. I did find that the flavors were a little more present the next day after the soup had a night to sit.
Once the soup has had time to cool add a small amount noodles to a bowl and spoon generous amount of laska and top with bamboo shoots and enjoy (make sure to get a good scoop of shrimp and pork and all the other goodies that we have in there).
Before I go I like to remind you the reader that this recipe again is heavy with spices so as always make sure you taste as you go, and I you are not one for hot foods you can always add less chili’s then what I have here.
Hope you like it and post me you comments if you try it.
Thanks again and till next time, Feed you later.