KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 24 — In the Klang Valley, I must admit I’ve not tasted a really good version of the creamy laksa Nyonya laksa. Either the broth is watered down or they skimp on the toppings making the bowl of laksa taste less superior than the ones served in Melaka.
The solution is to make your own, with a little help from Donald & Lily Restaurant. Started back in 1980 as a stall — by owners Donald Tan and Lily Lee — it has now grown into a full fledged restaurant. The place is now run by Jennifer Tan, the couple’s daughter.
At the end of June this year, they launched their own laksa paste available in packets. Each packet weighs 225 grams and is priced at RM12.
The eatery also shares their recipe for the laksa, which I used to make mine. You need to add water (or stock) and fresh coconut milk to the paste.
It is recommended you also add a stalk of lemongrass for additional flavour. Once that is boiled and ready, you can add whatever you like to your bowl of laksa. The paste will give you about five to six bowls of laksa.
I had opted to top my laksa with prawns, fish cake slices, beancurd puffs, cucumber and bean sprouts. If you prefer, even cockles can be added. Or shredded chicken meat.
Should you feel indulgent, you can even serve it with big prawns for a decadent treat. There’s something special about customising your own bowl of laksa.
I’ve even seen on their Facebook page that a customer used prawn stock to boil the paste to make it a more fragrant broth for the laksa.
The distinctly orange hue of the laksa is gorgeous. You also get a rich flavour of the spice paste and coconut milk within the laksa.
Unlike other laksas, the Melaka Nyonya version does not have any dried prawns in the spice paste, an important distinction according to Nyonya cookbook author Debbie Teoh.
It’s also not overly spicy on its own. If spiciness is what you seek in a laksa, you can simply add sambal to the curry.
Even though it’s labelled as laksa sauce, it is essentially a spice paste or rempah that is also multi versatile and can be used for various dishes. On their Facebook page, they share many recipes to use the paste.
It can be used to make otak otak, prawns or fish masak lemak cooked with pineapple, lontong or even ayam goreng berempah.
You can order the laksa sauce directly from the restaurant via their Facebook page or WhatsApp them at 011-12307855. They will courier the packets to you, whereby charges for the delivery will be borne by you.
Donald and Lily Restaurant, No. 16 (Ground Floor), Jalan KSB 1, Taman Kota Shahbandar, Melaka. Facebook @donaldandlily Instagram @/mydonaldandlily