SALT Magazine - - Feature - Na­tional Kitchen by Vi­o­let Oon (Na­tional Gallery, #02–01)

Any­one who has ever slurped up Vi­o­let Oon’s dry laksa will at­test to its de­li­ciously punchy yet well bal­anced flavours. One of the best-sell­ers at Na­tional Kitchen and Vi­o­let Oon’s Sa­tay Bar & Grill, this fa­mous cre­ation has al­ways been a part of this culi­nary doyenne’s reper­toire for par­ties and cater­ing. How did it come about? “It was be­cause she didn't like the laksa soup splat­tered on her blouse—so this was a good way to serve the dish for par­ties,” quips Oon’s daugh­ter Tay Su-Lyn, who runs the busi­ness to­gether with her fam­ily.

Oon shares, “This is my own tra­di­tional recipe that I learnt from my Aunty Nona, but I tweaked it to make it much richer in flavour. I have al­ways en­joyed the rich homemade Nonya ver­sions as those sold at hawker cen­tre are some­times wa­tered down.”

Ac­cord­ing to Oon, the rem­pah com­posed of galan­gal, lemon­grass, shal­lots, dried chill­ies, bela­can and pep­per forms the gravy’s base. This is fused with fried, ground dried prawns and per­fumed with co­conut cream and laksa leaves to cre­ate the Nonya laksa lemak that we know so well. The gravy is re­duced un­til it’s thick and boldly flavoured, and when ready, tossed with a tan­gle of rice noo­dles. The dish is then gen­er­ously topped with plump prawns, taupok, fish cake, bean sprouts, and a scat­ter­ing of laksa leaves.

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