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Asam Laksa broth with Grilled Tachiuo Chua TorAik

Courtesy of chef Tor Aik Chua

Asam Laksa Broth with Grilled Tachiuo, Pineapple Kerabu Salad, Scallop Crudo & Red Plum Sambal Belacan

Tor Aik Chua won the Acqua Panna Award for Connection in Gastronomy, for the Asia Region.

02 November, 2020
Average: 3.1 (7 votes)

Type of dish


serves for


total time

3 HR 0 MIN


Asam Laksa broth
Filtered water
3 l
Red chilli peppers
6, big
Dried chilli (soaked)
Asam gelugur (dried tamarind slices)
50 g
Stalk lemongrass
4 (pound and cut down)
Fresh turmeric
20 g (pound)
Kesum herb (Vietnamese mint)
70 g
Ginger torch flower
1 (slice down)
Baby shallot
150 g (slice down)
20 g (pound)
4 (pound)
Toasted shrimp belachan (dried fermented shrimp block)
50 g
Cinchalok (fermented baby shrimp)
30 g
to taste
Caster sugar
to taste

This dish is inspired by humble local street food from Malaysia - one of the must-try foods when visiting northern Malaysia, especially Penang. Asam Laksa means 'sour laksa' and the broth's main ingredients consist of fish flakes, tamarind, spices such as galangal, turmeric, chilli, Vietnamese mint, and of course fermented shrimp paste, both in the form of block and sauce.

It has a very complex flavour profile, umami, brightness and natural sweetness - finished off with fresh pineapple, mint, cucumber, and ginger torch flower to give it a nice freshness. A nice bowl of laksa is all about balance of flavours.

The second dish is inspired by - sambal belachan paste with seafood, in this case scallop. A spicy paste made from fermented shrimp and toasted chilli, in contrast to natural sweet raw scallop slices.

Step 01

cooking broth

Courtesy of chef Tor Aik Chua

For Asam Laksa Broth

Blend red chilli, dried chilli, turmeric, shallot, garlic, belachan, cincalok with 300gm water into a paste.

Pour the paste into the pot with the rest of the water, along with the rest of the ingredients, except for salt and sugar.

Bring it to a boil, and lower down to simmer for a good 1 hour at least.

Season with salt and sugar.

We are looking for a sour and savoury broth with mild spiciness, and a finish with umami sweetness.

Step 02

broth straining

Courtesy of chef Tor Aik Chua

Strain off the broth through a sieve and serve hot.

Step 03

herbs in blender

Courtesy of chef Tor Aik Chua

For Herbs Essence Oil

Set up a high-speed blender, a sieve, and a couple of containers.

Put in the herbs and oil into the blender jug, and process it until the oil turns green.

Strain the processed herb oil thru a sieve (we use only the oil for the dish, but the leftover herb fibre makes a good paste for your next pasta dish).

Store the oil in an airtight container and chill in the fridge immediately.

Keep leftovers in the freezer for future usage.

Step 04

Fish portioning

Courtesy of chef Tor Aik Chua

Fish Preparation

Set yourself up with a clean chopping board, sharp knife, a few trays and a container.

Remove the head and organs of the fish, and fillet your fish (or get your fishmonger to do it for you to skip the hassle).

Portion up the fish fillet and keep in fridge till ready to cook.

Clean the board and knife.

Step 05

Scallop sliced

Courtesy of chef Tor Aik Chua

Shuck the scallop, slice it into 3 to 4 thick slices, keep chilled in fridge.

Step 06

grillin the fish

Courtesy of chef Tor Aik Chua

Light the charcoal (pan sear works too, but grilling makes everything taste better).

Skewer the fish fillet (if you are using bamboo skewers, make sure they are soaked in water overnight before to prevent burning).

Brush the fish fillet with oil, season with salt, grill them over red hot embers.

Start by grilling skin-side facing the embers until blistered and crispy, then flip over to the flesh side for a quick 30 seconds to 1 minute, depending on the thickness of the fillet.

Rest your fish skin-side up for a good 3 minutes before cutting it or putting it onto the plate.

Step 07

dry chilli and belacan in mortal

Courtesy of chef Tor Aik Chua

Red Plum Sambal Belacan

Toast the dry chilli and belacan in the oven or pan until fragrant.

Cut down the fresh chilli, garlic, shallot.

Put everything except the oil in the mortar.

Pound them and add in oil bit by bit until you have the desired texture, store in fridge.

Step 08

plum cutting

Courtesy of chef Tor Aik Chua

Halve the plums and remove the stones.

Remove the skin and dice them.

Step 09

sambal plated

Courtesy of chef Tor Aik Chua

Sambal Plating

Mix the diced plum and sambal belacan together and serve immediately.

The intense sweet umami note comes from toasted shrimp belacan, ripe plum will provide fruity sweetness to compliment the seafood. Serve citrus wedges on the side to adjust acidity if you have to.

Step 10

Slice pineapple

Courtesy of chef Tor Aik Chua

Kerabu Salad

Peel and slice down the pineapple, cut to desired size.

Julienne/ shred the Kyuri cucumber.

Step 11

plating salad

Courtesy of chef Tor Aik Chua

Salad plating

Mince the ginger torch flower.

Slice down the baby shallot and red chilli.

Toast the dried shrimp on the pan or in the oven till fragrant.

Mix in a bowl the minced ginger torch flower, lime juice, salt, sugar and fish sauce. You are looking for a sharp dressing with umami savoury tasting note. Adjust the sugar level base on the sweetness of pineapple.

Toss everything in a bowl and serve immediately.

Step 12

Plating broth, salad and fish

Courtesy of chef Tor Aik Chua


Warm the asam laksa broth up.

Mix in the herb oil.

Put the grilled fish and scallop slices in  a bowl.

Toss kerabu salad and serve on the side.

Set the plum sambal belachan on a small dish.

Pour hot broth over the seafood and enjoy all together.

Step 13

Asam Laksa broth with Grilled Tachiuo Chua TorAik

Courtesy of chef Tor Aik Chua

The final dish.

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