how to make Laksa, Penny-style

Posted by: Penny Leach 2 years, 6 months ago


In New Zealand, Malaysian restaurants are about every few hundred meters, I guess because we have a lot of immigration from Malaysia. At any rate, I ate in Malaysian restaurants a lot, and I would almost always eat Laksa. But when I moved to the German speaking part of the world, I found that not only are there very very few Malaysian Restaurants, the ones that I tried either didn't have Laksa at all, or had some sort of horrible "eingedeutsched" version of Laksa that was nothing like the thick filling Laksa I had gotten used to in New Zealand, so I resolved to learn how to make my own.

The wikipedia page has a baffling array of all the different possibilities - Malaysian Laksa, Singapore Laksa, Laksa made with and without coconut milk. I'm not sure, but I think the Laksa common in New Zealand is Laksa lemak

Anyway it took a bit of trial and error, but I've finally perfected my recipe.

For the paste, you will need: 

  • 20 Asian Shallots 1
  • 5 Cloves Garlic 
  • 5 Fresh Red Chillies 
  • 2 Tablespoons Shrimp Paste 
  • 6 Candlenuts 
  • 3cm piece Fresh Galangal 
  • 3cm piece Fresh Ginger 
  • 2 Stems Lemon Grass 
  • 2 Corriander Roots 
  • 2 Tablespoons Peanut Oil 
  • 1 Teaspoon Freshly Grated Turmeric 2
  • 1 Teaspoon Tamarind Paste

1 My lack of patience doesn't allow me to follow this, I use about 8 of the much larger European variety
2 You could probably substitute ground turmeric


If you have solid tamarind like I do, you'll have to create tamarind juice yourself out of it. I do this by mashing it up into boiling water and leaving it for 10 minutes or so while I prepare the rest of the ingredients and then pushing it through a sieve, discarding all the solids, and adding the juice at the end. I'm not really sure how that relates back to "1 Teaspoon" - I just chop off a huge chunk and add about a cup of water.

Coarsely chop all remaining ingredients and ideally blend in a food processor, but if you don't have one at hand, pound into a paste with a big mortar and pestle.

For the Soup, you will need:

  • 200g Chicken 3
  • 100g Tofu 4
  • 250g Shrimps 
  • 300g Bean Sprouts 
  • 4 Eggs 
  • 1L Chicken Stock 5
  • 600ml Coconut Milk 
  • 500g Spaghetti 6

3 For a Pescetarian version you could replace this with some sort of fish that will not break apart when cooked
4 I don't use pre deep fried tofu but it's more common in Laksa than not.
5 For a Pescetarian version, you could replace this with either fish stock or vegetable stock, in which case I would add more shrimp paste to the laksa paste, or add a lot of fish sauce to the soup.
6 I have given up trying to find decent thick egg noodles for laksa like I used to cook with in New Zealand and instead I use spaghetti which sounds super wrong but works quite well.

Fry the paste in a large pot until fragrant and then add the chicken stock and coconut milk and turn down to simmer while you prepare everything else.

Ideally the rest of the ingredients should all be ready at the same time, but it's hard, so you might want to keep them in the oven as they get ready and then they can all be served together.

Cook the spaghetti.
Hard boil the eggs, shell, and halve lengthways.
Cook the shrimps.
Blanche (or steam) the sprouts.
Cut the chicken into large pieces and fry in a bit of peanut oil.
If you're using pre deep fried Tofu, reheat. If not, chop into large pieces and cook in a bit of oil and then add a few spoonfulls of the laksa soup and cover for a few minutes. I find tofu super boring unless it's cooked in something interesting, which is why I let it steam in a bit of the laksa soup.

To garnish, you will need: 

  • 1 Bunch Spring Onions, finely chopped 
  • 1 Bunch Corriander, finely chopped 
  • Sambal Ulek 
  • Wedges of Lime 

I also use long slices of Cucumber and Tomato as their coolness balances out the spice of the laksa nicely.

Create an assembly line to serve. The order should go: Spaghetti. Spouts. Then Eggs, Chicken, Tofu & Shrimps. Soup. Garnishes.


Did you make this laksa? I'd love to hear how the recipe worked out for you!


vex 2 years, 6 months ago

Mmm. looks good.


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Rob Coup 2 years, 5 months ago

OMG, totally making this on the weekend :) I've really missed a good laksa recipe. Thanks!

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Penny 2 years, 5 months ago

Yay! Let me know how you get on! :)

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