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Mixed Seafood Laksa
Yield: 8 servings

1 lb raw prawns
1 lb fish fillets
1/4 ts pepper
1 ts salt
4 oz crab meat or 2 crabs; cooked and cut into pieces
5 T oil
8 c water
2 ts salt
1 lb rice vermicelli or rice sticks
1 lb fresh bean sprouts
1 lg cucumber, peeled and coarsely grated
8 spring onions (scallions)
1/2 c fresh mint leaves; firmly packed

2 md onions; quartered; finely sliced
2 cl garlic; finely chopped
2 ts grated lemon rind; finely chopped
2 ts laos powder (kha)
8 candlenuts; finely grated (kemiri or buah keras)
6 dried chillies; seeds removed
2 ts dried shrimp paste (blacan)
2 ts ground turmeric
4 ts ground coriander

8 c coconut milk
2 ts sugar
2 1/2 ts salt

Shell and devein prawns, reserving shells and heads. Drain these
thoroughly. Remove any bones and skin from fish fillets and using
a chopper, chop very finely. Mix in the salt and pepper and shape
into small balls, or into a sausage-shaped roll and divide into
finger-width slices. Pick over crab meat and discard any bony
tissue, or chop the whole crabs into pieces after removing top
shell and fibrous tissue.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a saucepan and when very hot throw in
the prawn heads and shells and fry until they turn bright red.
Add 8 cups water and 2 teaspoons salt, cover and simmer 20-30
minutes, then strain. Discard shells and heads. Return the stock
to the fire, drop in the fish balls or slices and the prawns, cut
into pieces if large. Return to the boil, then lower heat and
simmer for 3-4 minutes. Set aside and keep warm.

Scald the rice vermicelli by pouring boiling water over it, then
allow it to drain in a colander. Or soak it in warm water for 5-10
minutes, drain well. Scald the bean sprouts by pouring boiling
water over. Rinse in cold water, washing off any loose skins.
Pinch off straggly brown "tails." Slice spring onions finely,
roughly chop mint leaves. Set aside each ingredient separately]
until serving time.

Heat remaining 3 tablespoons oil and fry the onions, garlic, and
lemon rind until onions are golden. Stir in the laos powder,
candlenuts, chillies, blacan, turmeric and coriander. Add the
prawn stock and when the soup comes to the boil add the coconut
milk, sugar, and salt. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 10-15
minutes, stirring to prevent coconut milk curdling.

In each bowl, arrange a ladle of the vermicelli, enough to two-thirds
fill the bowl. Add a handful of bean sprouts, a tablespoon each
of cucumber, and sliced spring onions. Add also a large pinch of
mint. Pour the boiling soup over and serve immediately. A hot
sambal can be served along with this for individuals to add to
their portion if desired. Serves 8-10.


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