A steaming hot large bowl of spicy noodles soup is on my lap and I’m sitting in the coziest corner of my home, watching the lake surrounded with hills in the front; it is a very common activity for me in lazy winter days. Winter is not dominating here in western part of India; in fact it is the most enjoyable period of the year here. So I try to absorb it to the core! My winter days are incomplete without chilly breeze, bright blue sky, light weighted jackets-boots, enormous cups (read, mugs) of coffee and of course a bowlful bowl of hot spicy noodles soup; simply Heaven! Amongst all the noodles soup my all-time favorite is Laksa Lemak or Curry Laksa which is more popular as Curry Me or Nyonya Lemakin local regions.
Those who still have no idea about Laksa Lemak yet, just listen to (read) this, CNN Travelhad rated Penang Assam Laksa on 7thout of 50 most delicious food in the world. Can you imagine how prestigious that is! Laksa Lemak is originally a combination of Malaysian and Chinese cuisine. This spicy noodles soup is very much popular in Malaysian, Singapore and Indonesia. There are three different types of laksa, Assam Laksa, Curry Laksa and Sarawak Laksa. Curry Laksa has coconut milk and curry powder and Assam Laksa has tamarind juice and pineapple with shredded fish to distinguish it from the Sarawak Laksa which has coconut milk but no curry powder/paste or other vegetables. All types of laksa are served with thick or thin rice noodles or vermicelli.
This Curry Laksa is more popular in western countries than other laksa. Here is the authentic recipe of famous Laksa Lemak or Curry Laksa or Curry Me or Nyonya Lemak straight from Malaysia.
Preparation Time: 15 mins
Cooking/Active Time: 15 mins
Resting/Inactive time: 00 mins
Total Time: 30 mins
Yield: 6 servings
For Laksa Paste:
Onions (medium): 2, roughly chopped
Fresh Thai red chili: 5-8, chopped
Galangal: 1” stick
Ginger: 1” stick
Garlic: 4-5 fat cloves
Lemongrass: 2 stalks, chopped
Red chili powder: 1 tsp
Turmeric powder: 1 tsp
Coriander powder: 1 tsp
Dried shrimp powder: 3-4 tsp
Shrimp paste: 1 tsp
Oil: 1-2 tbsp
Salt & Palm sugar to taste
For the Soup:
Chicken stock: 2 cups (can be replaced by warm water)
Coconut milk: 1 cup
Others to Assemble:
Rice noodles: 2 bricks (300g-400g)
Fish fillets: 1 (250g-300g), cut into 1” thick strips
Chicken breast (bone-skinless): 250-300g, cut into 1” thick strips
Shrimp: 12-16 (peeled & deveined)
Beansprouts: 1 cup (optional)
Fresh cilantro/coriander leaves: 3-4 tbsp, chopped
Chili Sambal sauce, (recipe is coming soon)
Eggs: 4 (hard/soft boiled, peeled & halved/quartered)
Limes: 2, halved, cut into wedges.
A large heavy bottomed pan or wok
Let’s start with the Laksa Paste.
Make a coarse paste of Onions, Thai red chili, Galangal, Ginger, Garlic and Lemongrass in a food processor. If you find the mixture is too dry to blend, add 1-2 tsp of oil and blend.
Heat the oil in a nonstick pan. Fry the paste on medium-low heat until oil separates or until moisture has dried up. It will take around 10-15 mins.
Add all the dry ingredients and fry for a minute on high flame. Add the shrimp paste and fry for another minute or two or until the raw smell is gone. Add salt and sugar to taste and stir well.
Now your Laksa paste is ready. Keep it on the stovetop. If you are not cooking Laksa Lemak or if you are making it ahead of time then bring the paste to room temperature and store in airtight glass jar.
Next step is working on the Soup.
Add the chicken stock in the same pan of Laksa Paste and bring it to boil (or heat the Laksa paste in a large deep bottomed pan). Simmer the soup and add chicken pieces and continue to cook for 4-5 minutes or until chicken is half done. Next add the fish and prawns and cook for another 2-3 minutes or until meat and seafood are almost cooked; not completely. (See Tips)
Add the coconut milk and palm sugar in the soup and bring it to boil. Once the soups starts thickening add half of the bean sprouts in the soup, cover the pan with lid and switch off the flame. (See Tips)
Traditionally Rice Noodles Sticks are used for Laksa Lemak. You can also use soba noodlesor regular spaghetti. Prepare the Noodles according to the direction on the back of the package.
If you are using Rice vermicelli noodles or Angel hair pasta, take a large bottomed pan and fill with room temperature water. Soak the rice noodles in it for 10 mins or until noodles get separated. Drain and stain the noodles and discard the water. (See Tips)
Arrange drained noodles in serving bowls. Pour the Laksa soup in the bowls halfway through.
Spread some beansprout on the top.
Top with the chicken, fish, shrimps, eggs and rest of the soup, if needed.
Serve with lime wedges and Chili Sambal (recipe is coming soon).
1. Use spicy chili oil instead of regular oil.
2. Use Paneer, Bean curd aka Tofu instead of meat or seafood for vegetarian and vegan versions.
3. Use scrambled eggs on the top instead of boiled ones.
4. Add 1-2 tsp of tomato ketchup in the soup to create variation in taste.
1. If you have a lazy bum like me, prepare the chicken & seafood in microwave or oven while you are working with the Laksa Paste.
Take a microwave safe bowl and do little oil brush and microwave the items.
For chicken: 2 mins @900W on both sides
For shrimp: 1.5 mins @ 900W on both sides
For fish: 2 mins @ 900W, then 1 mins @900W on opposite side.
Or, bake them in oven according to your oven settings.
2. The chicken and seafood will continue to cook in the heat itself inside the covered pan but there will be no chance of over cooking. Otherwise cook the shrimp according to your personal preference.
3. If you are not planning to use the noodle immediately, cover the drained noodles with cling film and keep separated, until needed.
Eat Tasty, Stay Healthy!!!