I am quite certain that in Malaysia, Laksa is a fairly typical dish with not too many variations. Not so in the Em’s Food for Friends test kitchen!! I really impressed the TKD’s* with this version and a couple of ring-ins as well. The duck was the definite highlight in this little ensemble as it was cooked low and slow to create the perfect, succulent, juicy addition to the spicy, noodle-laden broth. Winner, winner, duck dinner!!
To speed up the chopping process, you can place your lemongrass, chilli, ginger and garlic in a small processor and give it a whazz or if you were lucky enough to win the Turbo Chef……perfect!
Prep time: 30 Minutes Cooking time: 1 Hour $$ Medium Budget
4 boneless duck breasts, trimmed of any excess fat
1 tbs of yellow curry paste
1 tbs of peanut oil (olive or canola if you have an allergy)
For the Broth:
1 clove of garlic, finely minced
1 red chilli, finely chopped
2cm piece of ginger, grated
1 stalk of lemon grass, finely chopped (bruised and left whole is ok too, just discard at the end)
1 tbs of shrimp paste
3 tbs of yellow curry paste
1 litre of chicken stock
2 x 400gm tins of coconut milk
2 tbs of fish sauce
1 tbs of brown sugar
Juice of 1/2 a lime
1 cup of coriander leaves
1 bunch of baby bok choy, sliced
1 bunch of choy sum, sliced into 3cm batons
5 individual portions of dried egg noodles (I use Ayam brand, they look like 2 minute noodle cakes)
For the Garnish:
1 bag of bean sprouts
1 lebanese cucumber, chopped into little cubes
1 red chilli, finely sliced
Pre heat the oven to 125°C
Score the skin of the duck breasts with a sharp knife at 1cm intervals diagonally, being careful not to penetrate the flesh. Mix the curry paste and oil together in a small bowl. Place the duck breasts in a tray and using your hands, rub the curry paste into the breast fillets so they are fully coated in the paste.
Heat a large frypan until nice and hot and panfry the breast fillets for 5-6 minutes on the skin side and then turn and fry the underside for 1 minute. Place the breasts back on a clean tray and bake them in the oven for 50- minutes. Remove from the oven and cover with foil to keep warm.
While the duck is in the oven you can make your broth. Heat a little oil in a large soup pot and add the garlic, ginger, chilli and lemongrass. Stir fry for 1-2 minutes or until fragrant and then add the shrimp paste and curry paste. Stir continuously, breaking down the shrimp paste with the back of your spoon. Don’t worry if it doesn’t dissolve fully, it will when you add the liquid.
Pour in the stock, coconut milk, fish sauce and lime juice and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to the boil and add the sugar. Allow to simmer for 15-20 minutes with the lid off. Add the vegetables and coriander right before serving so your veggies maintain their crunch and colour.
Bring a pot of water to the boil and cook the noodles for 2 minutes or until just starting to separate. Drain and rinse and divide between 6 large laksa bowls. Don’t worry if they cool down slightly, the hot broth will heat them up.
To serve, spoon the broth and vegetables over the noodles. Slice the duck breasts on the diagonal in 1 cm slices and top each mound of noodles with 4-5 slices. Place a handful of bean shoots, a scattering of cucumber and some chilli slices and then top each bowl with a sprig of coriander. Serve with lime wedges if you like.
*Test Kitchen Dummies