Cooking a dish to perfection is getting hold of the mix and match secrets of herbs behind the kitchen walls.
For instance, a number of bulbous and green herbs go into the making of the soup base of laksa noodles. On the other hand, the herbs are chopped or sliced, before being added into the pasta and sauce for a pasta dish.
Curry Laksa Noodle Soup
For example, laksa soup uses lots of fresh herbs to pull together a delicious dish that makes you hankering for more.
There is, for instance, at least 8 herbs you need to get hold of before you can create the quintessential sweet and spicy taste of coconut milk in curry laksa soup; these are the kaffir lime leaves, shallots, garlic, lemon grass bulb, mint leaves and ginger; as well as laksa leaves for garnishing.
Tamarind Laksa Noodle Soup
Further, you may be put off by an equally long herb list for tamarind laksa soup: polygonum leaves, ginger buds, shallots, lemongrass, fresh galangal ginger; with red onions, and mint leaves for garnish.
Considering the amount of work involved with all that rinsing, slicing, and chopping of all the herbs, no laksa stall operator in his right mind will offer both versions. A tall order to fill, indeed.
Aside, I know a chef with a natural feel for herbs; she carries all the recipes in her head without even letting slip a single ingredient!
Her forte lies in an intuitive grasp of culinary herb blends, an impeccable sense in combining several herbs that work well with each other, and all herbs together synergetically. Well, she certainly knows how to pack in lots of oomph to rock a dish!
As for the ‘Pasta with Pesto and Fresh Herbs’ recipe from ‘Good Food’ magazine, it requires at least 5 herbs such as flat-leaf parsley, sage leaves, chives, basil and tarragon to awaken your green taste buds.
Similarly, for a Martha Stewart recipe ‘Pasta with Spring Herbs’, you will need 5 herbs: parsley, chervil, tarragon, dill, and basil.
Another recipe from Delia’s vegetarian collection, which is, ‘Lemon Pasta with Herbs and Cracked Pepper’, uses 4 herbs: basil, mint, spring onions and garlic.
However a recipe by Lindsay Ostrom, ‘Garlic Butter Spaghetti with Herbs’, has only 2 herbs: garlic and basil.
Thus, to prepare all these pasta dishes, you will need either all green herbs or a mixture of bulbous and green herbs. Only one strong-flavored herb, sage or basil is included while the remaining herbs are either medium or delicate-flavored.
As in the case of laksa noodle soup, the dominant strong-flavored herb root is ginger while the rest is a mixture of medium and mild-flavored herbs.
The point is you must strike a balance among the different flavors of herbs as in this instance, it is all about taste!