Laksa is a spicy coconut noodle soup that needs to be in your repertoire. It’s creamy. It’s a bit spicy. It has great southeast Asian flavours. It just screams delicious.
I don’t know why laksa isn’t more popular. There’s about 3 million pho joints where I live. And about 5 places that serve laksa. I love pho. A lot. But laksa is a great Asian noodle soup too. It deserves to be on a menu near you.
The dish comes from Malaysia but the tastes are pretty close to Thai. If you like Thai and you like noodle soups you will love laksa. No doubt in my mind.
Laksa paste makes it easy
I’m cheating a bit with this recipe. It is not from scratch. I’m using store bought laksa paste. You can make your own laksa paste but if you take a little care the store bought stuff works well.
Much easier. Moves into Tuesday night dinner territory. You need to be a little bit organized but it’s totally doable.
You are likely going to need to go to an Asian market to get the laksa paste. While you are there have a look in the refrigerated section. You should be able to find fried tofu puffs. Not a super mainstream ingredient but an interesting garnish in traditional laksa.
Tofu puffs soak up the soup. They are kind of like a tofu sponge. That’s not the most appetizing description. But it’s accurate. They don’t taste like sponge though. Not that I eat a lot of sponge but I’m pretty sure.
I like them but as a garnish. An interesting textural addition. I don’t think I would want to eat 10. But one or two adds a little something extra.
Easy chili sauce for a spicier laksa
The quick and dirty chili sauce is one I came up with because I was out of Vietnamese sate sauce. And I wound up liking it. So I’ve included it here.
But the Vietnamese sate sauce is also really, really good if you feel like going the extra mile. Or you have some kicking around your fridge.
Big, bold flavours. Creamy. Coconut. Easy to make. Deeply satisfying. There is nothing not to love about laksa. Try it. You won’t be sorry.
Laksa is a slightly spicy coconut noodle soup that's sure to please.
- 3 tsp sambal oelek
- 2 tsp sriracha sauce
- 1 tsp laksa paste
- 4 chicken thighs boneless or bone-in, skin removed
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 2 tsp fish sauce
- 1/2 cup laksa paste available at Asian grocery stores
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 1/2-1 tsp kashmiri chili powder or a big pinch of cayenne
- 1 14 oz can coconut milk
- 3 fried tofu puffs cut in half (optional)
- 6-8 oz rice noodles medium width
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- chili sauce, red chilies, cilantro and bean sprouts to garnish
Soak the noodles in cold water for 30 minutes or so. Make sure they are fully submerged.
Drain and set aside until you are ready to serve.
Combine the sambal oelek, sriracha and laksa paste. Yes, it's that easy...
Place the chicken in a saucepan along with the chicken stock and fish sauce.
Bring to a simmer and cook the chicken until it reaches an internal temperature of around 165F. This will take about 20 minutes for the boneless chicken thighs. Takes a little longer for bone-in.
Remove chicken from the stock, shred or cut into bite size pieces and set aside. Set aside the chicken stock in another bowl.
Set a large pot of water on the stove and bring to a boil. You will be flash cooking the pre-soaked noodles. Time it so it's at a rolling boil right when you are ready to serve.
Open the can of coconut milk. Have it ready.
Heat a saucepan large enough to hold about 2-3 quarts over medium heat. Add the oil and then the laksa paste.
Cook the laksa paste, stirring frequently, for about 1 minute. Add the turmeric and chili powder and cook for another minute. Watch it closely. It can burn at this point.
Spoon the thick coconut cream out of the can into the saucepan and stir to combine. This is about the top 1/4 of the can. Cook for about a minute.
Add the rest of the coconut milk and the chicken stock. Stir and bring to a simmer. Add the tofu puffs if using and cook for 5 minutes.
Add the chicken and cook until warmed through. This takes about 2-3 minutes.
Drop the noodles into the boiling water. Cook for 1 minute and drain in a colander.
To serve, divide the noodles into two bowls. Spoon the soup overtop. Garnish with bean spouts, cilantro and red chilies. Serve the chili sauce along side.