There are no national boundaries in the world of food. I really couldn’t agree more with this. There are just so many variations we can come up with for every dish and it’s done by putting together different flavours and ingredients that somehow still marry in the end.
Europe meets South East Asia in this fusion dish. While the conventional pesto uses basil as its main ingredient, this Asian-inspired one uses fresh laksa leaves which are equally aromatic. Our usual laksa is often packed full of calories, cholesterol and saturated fats because of a high amount of oil, fried dried shrimps and coconut milk used in every bowl so this dry version is way less sinful and definitely ideal for those who prefer to eat more healthily.
Spaghetti with Laksa Pesto
Ingredients (serves 3-4)
1 1/2 cups laksa leaves
5 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 tsp salt
dash of ground white pepper
250g spaghetti, cooked according to packet instructions (reserve cooking liquid)
12 prawns, shelled with tails intact
120g fish cake, sliced
60g fried beancurd puffs (tau pok), diced
150g snow peas
100g bean sprouts
1 tbsp olive oil
laksa leaves as garnish
1. Using a food processor, blend together the laksa leaves, garlic and candlenuts until fine. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
2. On a dry pan, toast the beancurd puffs till lightly crispy. Remove and set aside.
3. Heat oil in the same pan and stir fry fish cake and prawns till the prawns turn opaque. Remove and set aside.
4. In the same pan, stir fry the snow peas and bean sprouts and add the laksa paste. Mix in the spaghetti and add a little of the reserved liquid to loosen up the noodles.
5. Return the beancurd puffs, fish cakes and prawns to the pan. Toss till well combined and garnish with extra laksa leaves before serving.