1 pound bluefish (Traditionally mackerel, otherwise, any oily flaky fish)
6 dried Japanese chilies or 3 fresh red jalapeno
2 pieces of lemongrass
1 tablespoon roasted belachan
¼ cup of canola oil for frying
1/2 cup tamarind pulp (including seeds) + 1 cup warm water
6 cups water or fish stock (use fish bouillon if necessary)
5 pieces of dried tamarind slices
4 stalks laksa leaves
Salt to taste (at least a few pinchfuls of salt)
2 teaspoons sugar
1 cup of shredded English cucumber
1 red jalapeno
½ red onion
1 cup of fresh pineapples
1 cup of mint leaves, whole
2 tablespoons laksa leaves, finely minced
12 oz thick fresh rice noodles (lai fun) or 6 oz dried rice vermicelli
1 lime, preferably calamansi
2 tablespoon haeko
Preparing the fish
1. Steam the fish until opaque and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Reserve fish stock.
2. When cooled, remove bones and skin, coarsely flake the fish with a fork.
Preparing the spice paste
3. Grind together spice paste ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Set aside.
Preparing the laksa soup base
4. Peel tamarind. Mash tamarind flesh in 1 cup of warm water. Remove solids, reserve juice.
5. Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat until just hot. Stir in spice paste. Cook, stirring constantly, until the red oil separates from the spice paste about 8 to 10 minutes.
6. Lower the heat, slowly add tamarind paste, water, fish stock, tamarind slices and laksa leaves and bring to a slow simmer, stirring constantly. Simmer for at 20-30 minutes. Add salt and sugar to taste. Remove tamarind slices and laksa leaves. Just before serving, add the flaked fish.
Preparing the vegetables
7. Finely julienne cucumber, jalapeno, slice the red onion and cut pineapples into small wedges.
8. Mince the laksa leaves.
Preparing the noodles
9. Bring a pot of water to boil. Add salt and oil. Blanch rice vermicelli quickly – a few seconds.
10. In a small bowl, mix hae-ko shrimp paste with 2 tablespoon warm water
11. Place a serving of noodles and vegetables in bowls and ladle laksa broth over.
12. Serve with halved limes and a dollop of hae-ko.