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Laksa Penang

Ingredients

Part A

1 clove garlic                                      
10 stalks lemon grass, thinly sliced      
16 oz shallots    
1 thumb-sized piece turmeric
35 pieces dried chillies      
or 4 tablespoons chiIli paste
1 tablespoon shrimp paste

Part B

8 slices dried tamarind            
6 heaped tablespoons sugar      
2 stalks phaeomaria (bunga kantan)  
cut into halves
30 stalks polygonum (daun kesom)
2 tablespoons salt       

5 lb fresh coarse rice vermicelli
6 oz tamarind
10 pt water
2.5/2 lb wolf herring (Ikan Parang)
6 tablespoons prawn paste, mixed into 3/4 cup warm water

1. Soak tamarind in 16 fl oz of water.   Squeeze and sieve into a saucepan. Repeat 3 times with the remaining water.

2.     Grind [A] to a fine paste.Boil tamarind water with [A] and [B] for 10 minutes.

3. Add in fish and let gravy simmer for 15 minutes until fish is cooked).

4. Set aside fish to cool, remove bones. Set asid flaked fish meat for later use.

5.     Simmer the tamarind gravy for 1 hour.Then discard the polygonum and phaeomaria. Add the flaked fish into the gravy, bring to boil.

The Garnish:

    15 green chillies, sliced.
    2 lb cucumber, thinly shredded, discard skin
    and centre
8 oz onions, diced into small cubes
    2 oz mint leaves
    12 red chillies, sliced
4 oz preserved leeks, (sliced thinly)
    1 pineapple, diced

Serving:

Bring a saucepan of water to a rapid boil. Scald the rice vermicelli and drain.

Place a small handful of scalded rice vermicelli in a medium-sized bowl.

Put hot tamarind gravy and fish over it. Top with garnish, and 1 teaspoon of the thinned prawn paste Serve.

Note: Dried coarse rice vermicelli can be substituted for fresh. Boil rice vermicelli till soft but not soggy; about l5 minutes. Rinse in cold water and drain. Only verv fresh fish is suitable for this dish.