Malaysian fish ball laksa
There’s nothing more comforting than slurping down a big bowl of tasty laksa (a spicy coconut-based noodle soup popular in Malaysia and other parts of Southeast Asia).
The star of this laksa is the fish balls, which we make ourselves at home with fresh white fish such as cod or snapper. They’re incredibly easy to put together, just roughly chop the fish, place it in a food processor with a touch of soy sauce and cornstarch, and pulse until the fish is minced. Then shape the mixture into small balls and gently poach them in the broth for five minutes. They absorb the flavors of the soup and develop a soft tender texture as they cook. When you bite into them they break apart releasing the beautiful flavor of fresh, lightly seasoned fish. Apart from laksa, you could also add these fish balls to all kinds of soups, hot pots, curries or sauces. You can freeze them too, so they’re really convenient.
Another great thing about this laksa is how you can customize it according to your own preferences. You could skip the fish balls, and add bite-size pieces of white fish or salmon instead. Or add chicken, shrimp, scallops, squid, mussels, tofu, or use a combination. You can also vary the vegetables. This laksa comes with yellow pepper, carrot, bean sprouts and scallion, but we’ve also used the same laksa base and fish balls with cabbage, broccoli, mushrooms and red pepper — which was delicious!
3 cups bean sprouts
3 scallions — white and green parts, thinly sliced and separated
A handful of cilantro (fresh coriander) leaves
20 oz (550g) uncooked firm white fish fillets (such as cod or snapper) — roughly chopped
2 tablespoons Chinese soy sauce
1 tablespoon cornstarch (cornflour)
2 tablespoons peanut or canola oil
2 tablespoons Thai green curry paste
4 garlic cloves — finely chopped
2 kaffir lime leaves — stems removed and finely chopped (or use 1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest)
28 oz (800g) coconut milk
4 cups fish, chicken or vegetable stock
5 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 yellow or red peppers — cut into thin strips
2 carrots — thinly sliced
2 tablespoons lime juice
Variations: Replace the fish balls with bite-size pieces of white fish or salmon. Or add chicken, shrimp, scallops, squid, mussels, tofu, or use a combination. Use other vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, mushrooms and red pepper.