Sunday, January 16, 2011
I have been seeing nice fresh mackerels in the market in the past weeks, and since there is nothing better than a bowl of spicy soup on a cold day (-12 celsius right now), I have decided to make a feeble attempt at this dish for the first time today.
Although I have never been to Malaysia, but I have tried dishes with 'laska' (generally a spicy, sometimes curried rich noodle dish) in their names at various southeast asian restaurants in the past. Nothing ever really stood out, but then I started following this wonderful blog called EatingAsia, I got a bit more familiar with what this is about and really want to get a taste of authentic laska dishes.
From what I can gather, asam laksa gets sourness and fruitiness from the use of tamarind in the stock, and fresh pineapple as one of the garnishes. The stock gets richness and flavor from mackerel and shrimp paste, plus aromatics commonly used in southeast asian cooking (shallots, lemongrass, mint, etc). It is made spicy with both dried and fresh chili.
I didn't want to get a pineapple in the middle of winter, but I think I pretty much had the rest. The result was pretty wonderful, although I would be less timid and use more tamarind next time.