Occasional stories, food and travel inspiration

Occasional stories, food and travel inspiration

Penang Assam Laksa for Father’s Day

I don’t make a habit of re-visiting blogged recipes — it’d be a bit like re-visiting an ex boyfriend — but there are always exceptions to every rule. In this case, I’ve been itching to redo my Grandmother’s Penang Asam Laksa post for the longest time; while the words hold up fine the photography and styling don’t do my grandmother’s recipe justice.

Consider this photograph of the finished Assam Laksa in my old post.


Yikes. Apologies to anyone who stumbled upon my blog looking for an Assam Laksa recipe and found that. It looks completely unappetising. It doesn’t even look like Assam Laksa.

So I’ve been looking for an opportunity to tweak and re-blog this recipe and when Father’s Day rolled around today, I realised it was the perfect time. You see, my father absolutely loves this recipe as it’s adapted from his mother’s. Sadly, she passed away last year so cooking her food is a way of keeping her memory alive and making my dad happy.

Penang Assam Laksa

Assam Laksa is the perfect present for my dad because he’s not really into (bought) presents. A home-cooked meal based on his mother’s recipe, however, is something that he can truly appreciate.

So Happy Father’s Day, dad. We love you very, very much. And Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers out there, too!


My Grandmother’s Asam Laksa 2 – re-worked and simplified

Assam Laksa is truly an exceptional dish – an intoxicating noodle soup dish with the perfect balance of spicy, sweet, sour, salty, and savoury flavours. This is not a dish for the meek and mild – this is an assertive and robust dish that will jolt your tastebuds and get your blood pumping. Enjoy!





A note on ingredients: my old post has (bad) photos of most of the ingredients for reference. I found all of them at my Asian grocer but the ginger flower is not always available. 

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  • Jo

    Your assam laksa recipe is the most comprehensive and best i have tried. Being a nyonya, the inspiration behind it is as heartwarming as the dish itself. Thanks for sharing.

    • http://www.hungryaustralian.com/ The Hungry Australian

      Aww, thanks, Jo! I’m really touched by your kind comment. And I think my grandmother would be quietly pleased to know that people from all over the world are cooking her laksa :D

  • Susan

    Hi Christina,
    Just a thought – my family recipe is very much the same as yours, but one thing that I notice which is different is the use of belachan vs. hae ko (or, in Malay, petis udang). All the assam laksa stands in Penang use this in the soup (especially my favourite, Kek Seng) and I think it’s a critical ingredient for getting that ‘X’ factor smell that somehow is impossible to recreate. I recommend “Shrimp and Boy Brand” petis udang, which I don’t know how easy it would be to get hold of in Adelaide, but I know that the major Asian grocers in Sydney have them.

    I miss Australia so much (I’m based in the US now) and it is impossible to find the bunga kantan here, frozen or otherwise. I’m left with no option other than to use pre-packaged pastes, because I find the bunga kantan is essential. Recreating the paste without it is just missing that particular smell. Luckily I was able to get the hae ko via Amazon (but sadly no bunga kantan) so I can re-create it here with a semblance of the original :)

    • Jay Penfold

      Old Adelaide lad here looking for the petis udang in Northern Rivers region. None of my wholesalers have it. I luckily have a local torch ginger grower! Expensive but good and fresh. My main problem is finding the small mackerel without kayaking out the local reef through the surf. I wont use canned fish!

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