Curry Laksa and Team Fnatic (DOTA 2)
Earlier today I was thinking about why I love cooking so much. It took me a while to find my passion in life, but thank God I finally found it. To me, cooking evokes all of the senses. You’re touching fresh ingredients and manipulating them to make them even tastier. You’re tasting every component as the dish is coming together and adjusting the seasoning as need be. As the pot or pan is cooking, you smell everything brewing together and (hopefully) it moves you on another level. This curry laksa dish moved me on another level.
I’ve made curry many times, but this Malaysian noodle soup was a first for me. In fact, I was pretty nervous because this was stepping out of my noob-box. Instead of whipping out the jars of curry paste as usual, I made the spice paste from scratch. And let me tell you… the difference was night and day. There is something almost tantalizing about using cashews, ginger, onions, lemongrass, and dried chiles and pureeing them together to form the basis of your dish. Just knowing where everything comes from on the plate makes you feel… grounded. Connected. So much so that when you take that first bite of slurpy noodles, and the heat from the spices hits the back of your throat, you can appreciate every single bite.
The DoTA 2 players from Team Fnatic are from Malaysia where this noodle dish originates, but the team is headquartered in Britain and the Netherlands. Much like Malaysia, Brits also love curry on a regular basis so this dish was a perfect representation of the two backgrounds merging harmoniously. And now, let’s learn a bit more about this Southeast Asian team:
Fnatic’s team consists of Mushi (captain), MidOne, Ohaiyo, DJ, and 343. They are a southeast Asian team with 4 Malaysians and Filipino. Their current roster is still relatively new and was formed during the post Shanghai Major shuffle. Since then, they have achieved decent success which includes beating other SEA teams for qualifier spots. They are notable for beating MVP Phoenix a lot during online tournaments and performing decently well during LAN events. One of their best performances was during the the Shanghai Major where they placed 5-6th.
This team is well known for great individual performances by MidOne as a formidable mid-laner, DJ as a versatile support and newcomer 343 showing great range in drafting and shot calling. Combined with the experience of Mushi and Ohaiyo, Team Fnatic can perform very well on the clutch. As the sole Filipino int he team, DJ could very well draw the crowd in for Fnatic and allow them to play with a home court advantage of sorts. Fnatic has their work cut out for them but I believe that they are very capable of pulling upsets during the Manila Major.
And now onto this amazing noodle dish! Now you might take a look at this recipe and think, “Whoa! That is way too many ingredients”. And that might seem so, but in actuality this dish is very easy to make and takes nothing more then 1 cooking pot, a food processor, and a colander. Just make each part: (the sambal, curry paste, and the soup broth), and pull it all together. You can easily make this curried noodle soup in under an hour! Thank you to the Malaysian people for creating such an incredible dish, and good luck to Team Fnatic!! Enjoy this recipe everyone, now let’s get cooking! 🙂
- For the sambal:
- 10 fresh red chilies (100 g)
- 10 stalks dried chili (20 g), soaked
- 2 teaspoons belacan (shrimp paste)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 6 tablespoons cooking oil
- For the spice paste:
- 10 shallots, peeled and sliced
- 3 inch segment old turmeric (30 g), skinned
- 2 inch segment galangal (60 g)
- 8 stalks lemongrass (100 g), sliced
- 20 stalks dried chillies, soaked until softened
- 10 candlenuts (60 g)
- 4 teaspoons belacan (shrimp paste), more or less to taste
- For the laksa broth:
- 1/2 cup cooking oil
- 1 quart prawn or chicken stock
- 2 cups coconut milk
- 20 pieces tofu puffs, scalded in hot water briefly to remove oil
- 2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
- To assemble:
- Cooked egg noodles
- Cooked vermicelli
- 200 grams beansprouts, blanched
- 1 cucumber, julienned
- 500 grams prawns, boiled and peeled
- 2-3 large fishcakes, boiled and sliced
- 20 quail eggs, hard-boiled
- 1 bunch polygonum leaves “daun kesum”, finely sliced (see note)
To prepare the sambal: Using an electric blender, finely grind fresh red chillies, dried chillies, and shrimp paste. Heat oil. Sauté chilli spice paste until fragrant, stirring continuously. Add salt and sugar to taste. Set aside to serve with finished laksa.
To prepare the spice paste: Using an electric blender, pulse shallots, turmeric, galangal, lemongrass, dried chilies, candlenuts, and shrimp paste until they form a smooth paste, adding a bit of water if necessary.
To prepare the laksa broth: In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat 1/2 cup cooking oil. Sauté spice paste until fragrant. Add stock and bring to a boil. Add coconut milk, tofu puffs, and salt. Bring to a quick boil, stirring continuously. Turn off heat once broth comes to a boil.
To assemble: Blanch noodles in boiling water and drain. Place some noodles into a bowl, garnish with bean sprouts and cucumber. Ladle hot laksa broth over with some tofu puffs. Top with prawns, fish cake slices, quail eggs, and “daun kesum,” if using. Serve with sambal.
Note: If you can’t find shrimp paste, for every 1/2 teaspoon of shrimp paste, pour in 1 tbsp. of fish sauce. Also, for the fish cakes I just used the Japanese version as this was all I could find in my local Asian market. Lastly, I substituted cashews for candlenuts and everything tasted wonderful!