We start the preparation for this delicious laksa paste the night before, by soaking tamarind so that we can squeeze out the flavour in the morning. Chillies are also soaked overnight to remove any impurities and to encourage a smooth blend for this medium-heat paste. We also soak the dried shimps separately.
When we arrive back in the kitchen the next morning we are greeted by our delivery of fresh ingredients from the markets including fresh Australian brown onions, tomatoes, ginger, turmeric, lemongrass, galangal, laksa leaves (daun kesom) and chillies to name a few.
The ingredients are washed, crushed, minced and blended – filling the kitchen with a fresh, delicious aroma.
One of the team starts to weigh the specific pure ground spice powders required for our formulation and also sieves the tamarind juice and start measuring all the other liquids that make up the sauce like lemon juice, vinegar, and coconut cream.
Once the ingredients are prepared, we put a large pan to the stove and add sunflower oil and add the nut paste and shrimps. We then add handfuls of the fresh ingredients followed by the spices. The timing is key to capturing the freshness of all these ingredients. The mixture is tasted and stirred for a long time until the taste is perfect.
As with all the pastes, we then do a final check on the pH level for the laksa paste and then bottle it whilst it’s still hot!
Making it milder: This can be cooled by adding crushed onion cooked and caramelised in some oil right at the beginning before the paste is added to the pan. Coconut cream, coconut milk, coconut powder, good quality stock cubes and lemon juice can also be used to lower the heat.
Making it hotter: To make it hotter just add extra crushed chilli paste at the beginning or garnish with loads of fresh cut chilles, chilli oil or chilli sambal.