There is a life lesson to be learnt from this dish - never judge a book by its cover, or rather, never judge a dish by its looks.
How old were you when you started cooking? When I was a child helping my grandma and aunty in the kitchen.
Personal wish related to cooking: I wish to carry on the tradition of spending intimate bonding moments with my children and future grandchildren, as well as pass on my culinary skills.
Chew Lay Hua , Staff Nurse by day, dedicated wife and mother by night.
Assam Laksa is the favourite dish of my entire family. Whenever I cook this dish, everyone will be very excited! The aroma of the Assam Laksa will diffuse through the whole house, activating some very discerning saliva glands!
I must credit the popularity of this recipe in my household to my friend, Vivian, a nurse. It was some 20 years ago that I first tasted this heavenly dish made by her.
Vivian and I were from the same batch in Nursing school. We were often posted to the same discipline during our training years, so we became very good friends.
We both love food and enjoy cooking. During one of our ward attachments in the hospital, our Nursing officer suggested that we have a Christmas celebration for the staff as well as the patients. She asked for volunteers to prepare food, Vivian immediately held my hand and raised hers as well to volunteer. I was taken aback, but gladly obliged.
We took three days to plan – from the types of food, to table layout and decorations. It was a great success! Everyone, most importantly, the patients enjoyed the food. I felt a sense of achievement and comfort that we brought smiles to the sick on that joyous occasion.
As we moved on in life, Vivian and I continued to maintain our friendship and love for food. When she first invited me to her home to taste this dish of Assam Laksa, I was rather apprehensive. At first, I was overwhelmed by the pungent smell from the gravy that filled her house. Then, I was put off by the unappealing orange-black broth in the bowl.
Not one to give up, Vivian urged me to try, reassuring me that I would not regret it. With her encouragement, I took the first bite. She was right! To my surprise, I fell in love with it immediately.
It was full of flavour – aromatic, spicy, sweet, sour and salty, all in a bowl of noodle soup. The flavoursome fish broth was very appetising and really opened up my palate. Needless to say, I had a second helping of this elusive dish I was at first so afraid of!
Naturally, my next step was to request for her recipe, which she very generously shared.
Assam Laksa is now my favourite dish to cook for my guests who come to visit me at home. So far, I’ve only heard praises and compliments of this unique dish. In order to make sure that this recipe continues to be available in generations to come, I am very happy to have the opportunity to contribute to My Singapore Food.
Besides expanding my horizon in the world of food, there is a life lesson to be learnt from this dish – never judge a book by its cover, or rather, never judge a dish by its looks. One needs to be bold to take the first step to tread and explore. You won’t discover the goodness unless you take the first step to try.