I love Assam Laksa, a soup based noodle dish served with a spicy sourish fish stock. Assam Laksa comes from Penang island in West Malaysia. It's difficult to find Assam Laksa in the Malaysian eateries in Sydney. I guess the fishy sourish taste is an acquired one. My hubby doesn't like it as he find the smell too fishy.
The wet summer has resulted in overgrowth of daun kesum or vietnamese mint in our herb garden. I managed to coax my Mum to cook Assam Laksa one weekend since it has been ages sinc she cooked it.
Mum painstakingly steamed the fishes - she used mullet and slimy mackerel - and removed the flesh from the bones, taking care to remove any fine bones too. Then she made some chilli paste for the stock. To get the right sour taste, she added tamarind puree and dried tamarind pieces (pre-soaked). It's difficult to pin down what else she puts in as Mum cooks the way she was taught by her Mum - agak agak (based on taste and trial and error).
The bowl of noodles is garnished with pineapple, sliced spanish onion, julienne cucumber, butter lettuce and prawn paste (har ko) with freshly cut chillies as optional.