All at sea

Trevally lacks the regal reputation of salmon, the "Kiwi classic" tag of snapper or the sweet, delicate nature of blue cod, but its versatility makes it a standby for many fish meals.

With that in mind the team at Egmont Seafoods got stuck into the making of a spicy prawn and fish laksa. Actually the team consisted of boss Keith Mawson suggesting staffer Delwyn Watson make the soupy noodle dish. So she made it and the rest of us tucked in.

Creamy with a dash of heat, the laksa blended different elements. Chunks of firm trevally, big succulent prawns, long tubes of Hokkien noodles, loads of liquid and the crunch of bean sprouts, fried shallots and cucumber. The spice came midway through the laksa, as I was slurping up the fragrant broth.

Curry laksa is popular in Malaysia and Singapore; anyone who's visited either of those countries is a mug if they haven't tried it. Delwyn says she took about 20 minutes to make it and described the process as straightforward.

"It makes for an easy after-work dinner. Laksas are a great way to enjoy lots of different seafood and you can use any combination you like."

The laksa paste she chose wasn't strong. Next time round she says she would boost spiciness by adding some sliced chillis.

Keith says laksa is appropriately summery, with the advantage that any seafood can be mixed into it. He suggested trevally because of its firm, adaptable nature.

"People tend to think of it as bait, but it's far more than that.

"It looks a bit red or pink but when it's cooked it comes up white and tends to hold together very well." Good flavour is another plus.

The prawns were pre-packaged, wild caught prawns from Thailand.

Delwyn suggests the recipe be doubled if you're making it for four, although don't add extra stock - there's plenty in already. SPICY PRAWN LAKSA

4 Tbsp good-quality laksa paste

400ml tin coconut milk

500ml chicken or vegetable stock

200gm white fish fillet, cut in chunks (I used trevally)

8 large green prawns, shelled and deveined

200gm fresh Hokkien noodles

1 small Lebanese cucumber, halved lengthwise and sliced

cup bean sprouts

2 Tbsp fried shallots (available from Asian supermarkets)

1 spring onion, sliced

Handful fresh coriander to garnish

Heat laksa paste in a medium-size saucepan for a few minutes to release the aroma.

Add coconut milk and stock and bring to boil. Reduce heat to simmer and add fish and prawns.

Gently poach for about five minutes, until cooked.

Place noodles in a large, heatproof bowl and pour boiling water over to cover.

Allow to stand for two minutes to heat through, then drain.

Place drained noodles in large serving bowls, pour over laksa and garnish with cucumber, bean sprouts, fried shallots, spring onion and coriander. Serves two.

Add some kaffir lime leaves and sliced chilli for extra zing.

Taranaki Daily News