Apart from the architecture and food, even their clothing was locally influenced to evolve into their unique way of Peranakan attire. I can't write about Peranakans without mentioning their beautiful Sarong Kebaya and the intricate beaded slippers called Kasut Manek (See pictures above). Apparently, it takes 100 hours to finish one pair!! A true test of artistry and craftmanship.
From the Malay influence, a signature Nonya cuisine emerged using typical Malay spices like fiery red chilies, lemongrass, turmeric and shrimp paste etc. Nonya Laksa is a very popular dish in Singapore and Malaysia. It is cooked using special Laksa Beehoon simmered in a spicy coconut shrimp broth. It is usually served non-vegetarian using chicken, fish or prawns.
I have attempted the vegetarian version here using non-shrimp based curry and substituting tofus for the protein. And I have used reduced fat coconut milk to make it skinnier than the original version. The thought of using skim milk did cross my mind but sometimes its ok to be a little sinful, I guess :) I have not tried the actual Laksa so I am not sure about how this vegetarian version compares to it. But my helper who recently had her Laksa fix vouches that it is a close competition! Another challenge accepted and accomplished! Yay to me :)
Ingredients (serves 4 as a main meal)
Ingredients for Spice Paste (to blend)
1 thumb size turmeric rhizome
1 thumb size blue ginger (galangal)
2 tbsp roasted sesame seed paste
6 dried chillies, blanched in hot water for 30 mins till softened (or 3 tsp chilli paste)
1/2 cup water
3 tbsp canola oil
1 lemon grass
1 litre veg stock
400ml low fat coconut milk ( skim milk can be used as well)
1.5 tsps salt (adjust according to your preference)
1 tsp sugar
1 block of firm tofu, cut into small rectangles and shallow fried/airfried
2 cup beansprouts, blanched in hot water for 2 mins
2 packets of Laksa Beehoon, blanched in hot water for merely 10 secs (don't blanch for too long, it will turn mushy)
1/2 cup Laksa leaves, chopped fine
1 tsp sambal chilli
1)Get all the ingredients for the spice paste ready.