The hubby grew up eating Penang laksa, and it is a dish very close to his heart. He used to bring me to try the laksa cooked by different hawkers when we visited Penang, and we had a particular favourite stall in Jelutong. Unfortunately though, the old aunty who used to cook the laksa no longer does so.
I've been wanting to cook this dish for a long time. However, cooking this from scratch using fresh fish is notoriously difficult, and I didn't have the guts (or time) to try, plus I admit I am a lazy cook. However, I recently decided we would just give it a go, but warned the hubby that I would need his help to peel the fish.
So one Sunday afternoon, we left the kids to their own devices and took turns to keep an eye on them, while preparing all the ingredients. It was certainly a lot harder than cleaning squid! We followed this recipe, which called for many steps to prepare the tamarind, the rempah, as well as to julienne the cucumber and pineapple. The hardest bit would have been peeling all the fish and deboning them, however the recipe assured us that it was well worth using fresh mackerel instead of canned sardines. And they were right, it did give the soup so much more flavour!
There were so many ingredients I was not familiar with, like galangal and torch ginger buds. But with the hubby helping alongside me, we managed to dish up a yummy laksa three hours later, which the kids loved (Junior J ate so much fish!). The hubby and I overate that night.
After all that effort, I told the hubby that we were never going to cook this again, and I was a lot more appreciative of that bowl of noodles I could buy for a few RM. However, the hubby looked at me with a gleam in his eye, and declared we would cook this when his parents visited. So its going to be round two sometime soon... so long he peels the fish the next round too!