INGREDIENTS

1/3 cup of vegetable oil
1 kg of large shrimps, peeled, deveined, tails intact, heads and shells reserved
2 teaspoons of sea salt flakes
500 ml of water
500 ml of chicken stock
500 ml of coconut milk
400 gr of smoked tofu, cut into cubes
200 gr of crocodile stew meat
80 gr of dried vermicelli rice noodles
450 gr of fresh Hokkien noodles
125 gr of bean sprouts, blanched
mint, coriander sprigs, and lime wedges to serve

For Laksa Paste:

2 long red chillies, coarsely chopped
10 dried chillies, soaked in hot water for 20 minutes
50 gr of dried shrimp, soaked in hot water for 20 minutes
1 tbsp of belacan (shrimp paste)
6 French or red eschalots, coarsely chopped
4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
5 cm piece of fresh ginger, sliced
5 cm piece of fresh turmeric, sliced
3 lemongrass stalks, white part only, thinly sliced
2 tbsp of ground coriander
6 macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped

METHOD

For the prawn stock:

1. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large saucepan, over high heat. Add the reserved prawn heads, shells, and salt. Cook for 5 minutes, crushing the heads and shells with a wooden spoon until they turn vibrant orange.
2. Add water and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes, then strain through a fine sieve. Discard the solids and reserve the stock. Set aside until needed.

For the Laksa Paste:

1. Combine all ingredients to a smooth paste in a food processor. 

Create the dish:

1. Heat the remaining 1/4 cup of oil in a wok over medium-high heat. Cook half of the paste* for 10-15 minutes until fragrant and the oil separates, stirring regularly.
2. Add the prawn and chicken stocks, along with the coconut milk, and bring a boil. 
3. Simmer for 5 minutes, or until the oil separates from the coconut milk. Add the prawns and tofu puffs. Cook for 3 minutes, then add the crocodile meat and cook for a further 30 seconds. 
4. Turn off the heat
5. Meanwhile, place the vermicelli and Hokkien noodles into two separate bowls. Pour in hot water and set aside until softened. Drain. 
6. Divide the noodles and bean sprouts among serving bowls. Ladle in the stock and scatter with Vietnamese mint and coriander sprigs. Serve with lime wedges.
 

*The remaining laksa paste can be kept in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 1 month