- 3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
- 4 tablespoons Malaysian curry paste or Penang chili paste (I use the Mae Ploy brand)
- 2 stalks lemongrass, cut into 4 inches lengthwise, lightly bruised with the back of a knife
- 8 kaffir lime leaves, middle veins removed and thinly sliced
- 4 cups chicken stock, homemade or store-bought
- 2 cups coconut milk
- ½ cup evaporated milk
- 3 tablespoons fish sauce or more to taste
- 3 tablespoons tamarind juice
- 1 package fish balls or sliced fish cake (available in Asian specialty markets)
- 1 package dried tofu puff (available in Asian specialty markets)
- 12 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 12 fresh bay scallops
- ¼ cup fresh curry leaves, if available, stems removed
- Fresh ramen-soba or pho noodles (or dried vermicelli noodles)
- 3 hard-boiled eggs, quartered
- 1 cup fresh bean sprouts
- ¼ cup coarsely chopped green onion
- 1 cup fresh pineapple slices
- ¼ cup coarsely chopped cilantro
- ¼ cup fresh mint leaves or basil or combination of both
- ¼ cup freshly ground peanuts (optional)
FOR THE LAKSA BROTH
In a large stockpot, add the oil and sauté the curry paste with the lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves for 3 minutes, or until fragrant. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Cook for about 15 minutes, then add the coconut and evaporated milks. Season with fish sauce and tamarind juice, to taste. Adjust the seasoning to balance the salt, sweet and sour flavors. Continue to simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.
FOR THE SEAFOOD SOUP
Add the fish balls or cake and tofu puff to the broth and cook for 10 minutes. Add the shrimp and scallops and continue to cook for just 1–2 minutes more. Turn off the heat. Add the curry leaves and discard the lemongrass.
Meanwhile, blanch the fresh noodles in boiling water for 3 minutes or until al dente. This will take longer if using dried noodles, but make sure not to overcook. Rinse the cooked noodles quickly in cold running water, then drain.
Divide the noodles, fish balls or cake, shrimp and scallops into 6 individual soup bowls. Ladle the hot laksa broth into the bowls, then garnish with hard-boiled egg, bean sprouts, green onion, cilantro, pineapple, mint, basil and ground peanuts. Serve immediately.