Like most Malaysians, I looooove Assam Laksa. Not to be confused with Curry Laksa, Assam Laksa has no cream and is not even a curry at all.
Assam Laksa consists of thick rice noodles in a spicy and sour fish broth, often served with slices of cucumber, onion and pineapple. Sometimes a dollop of Malaysian shrimp paste (hae ko or petis udang) is added too.
Recently I discovered an easy way for an Assam Laksa fix at home – instant laksa soup paste!
In a saucepan, I mix 800 ml of water with the whole packet of laksa paste, plus approximately 100 g of mackerel fish flesh. I used about half a can of mackerel in natural oil, de-boned and mashed. To make my assam laksa broth more flavourful, I also add in one tablespoon of the natural mackerel oil, a handful of vietnamese mint leaves (daun kesum) freshly plucked from my garden, a few dashes of vinegar and fish sauce. Simmer for 20 minutes and my assam laksa broth is done.
I like my assam laksa with lots of fish pieces, sliced cucumber, onion, pineapple (have to make do with canned ones), hard-boiled egg and a dollop of shrimp paste. Not as good as those from Penang but decent enough to ease my craving. MMmmmmm……..
Spaghetti with garlic and olive oil. So basic but so flavourful. I have wanted to try making Spaghetti aglio e olio for sometime but never got to it. Until I stumbled upon jars of anchovies for sale in the supermarket. There are many versions of spaghetti aglio olio recipes available on the internet but I had my eyes set on Rachael Ray’s, which calls for Italian anchovies.
I like how simple it is, I can whip it up in 20 minutes with minimal preparation. The anchovies are very salty so you don’t even need salt. I made/ate this 4 times already this week, I am officially addicted!
I simplified Rachel’s recipe a wee bit, making do without dry vermouth and substituting dried pepper flakes with red chilli powder. I didn’t have parsley so I used a sprinkle of Italian herbs which contain parsley. Works just fine for me.
This recipe makes one serving.
~100g dried spaghetti
1 – 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
1 or 2 anchovy fillet
4-5 large cloves garlic (I love garlic!)
1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder or one fresh red chilli de-seeded
Parsley (I used a sprinkle of Italian herbs)
Boil spaghetti in a pot of slightly salted water according to packet instructions until al dente.
While spaghetti is cooking, pound the garlic and fresh chilli (if using) until a paste is formed.
Heat EVOO in a frying pan on medium heat.
Add in anchovies and stir/break it up until it melts into the oil. (Mine didn’t melt completely, but its okay!)
Add in garlic paste and chilli powder (if using), stir and let it sizzle gently in the anchovy oil.
Sprinkle parsley or Italian herbs, stir for another 2 minutes on medium heat. By now the spaghetti would have finished cooking.
Add cooked spaghetti together with a little pasta cooking water into the pan and mix around until well coated.
I like to eat mine with plenty of fresh cucumber slices or lettuce leaves. I think it compliments the saltiness of the anchovies very well. Mmmmmmm……