Laksa is a spicy coconut noodle soup that needs to be in your repertoire. Creamy. A bit spicy. Great southeast Asian flavours. It just screams delicious.
I don’t know why it 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. Singapore laksa is pretty big too. The tastes are pretty close to Thai. If you like Thai and you like noodle soups you will love this. 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 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.
I don’t usually go for store bought, pre-fab stuff. But in this case I am good with it. Even with the paste this is a seriously tasty stuff.
Tofu puffs – something completely different
Different to me anyway. I have never really come across tofu puffs in anything but laksa. I remember my first bowl of Singapore style laksa. Wasn’t sure what I was eating but it was like this bite of soup but with texture. Hard to describe.
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.
You are likely going to need to go to an Asian market to get the paste. While you are there poke your nose in refrigerated section. You should be able to find fried tofu puffs. Not a super mainstream ingredient but an interesting garnish the traditional dish.
I like them but as a garnish. An interesting textural addition. Not sure I want 10 of them in my bowl. But one or two adds a little something extra so I include them in this recipe. Try them.
Perfect, chewy noodles
Rice noodles in hot soup is a tricky thing. You have to cook them just enough so that they can finish cooking perfectly in the soup. Underdone and they are tough. Overdone and they are mush.
There’s an easy way to make sure your noodles are done just right. This is how they do it to order in restaurants. Soak your rice noodles in cold water for around 30 minutes. Have a big pot of water boiling on the stove. Place the soaked noodles into a large strainer (a pasta pot works really well here).
Cook the noodles for 30 seconds. Test one. Keep testing. Somewhere between 30 seconds and a minute the noodles will get chewy but not hard. Pull them and use immediately. Remember they will cook a bit more in the hot soup.
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.
Watch how to make Singapore laksa
laksa - spicy coconut curry soup
Quick and dirty chili sauce
- 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
Pre-soak the noodles
- 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.
Make the chili sauce
- Combine the sambal oelek, sriracha and laksa paste. Yes, it's that easy...
Cook the chicken
- 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.
Make the laksa
- 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.
25 thoughts on “laksa noodle soup – spicy malaysian curry coconut soup”
After a year of cooking your indian recipes, and a couple of dishes from the other styles, I finally further expanded my ingredients to cover south east asian too.
I made this recipe last night and it was absolutely fabulous! Once again I got to impress my small audience and even myself this time. I’m my harshest critic.
I didn’t have the tofu puffs but I added shrimp. This dish tastes divine and I (and my husband) can’t wait to try some more of your recipes from this region. I need to use the galangal, lemon grass and kaffir lime leaves (only dried available), I just purchased..
Can’t wait to try the next dish.
Many thanks for the wonderful recipes.
Maria, that is wonderful to hear. I’m my own harshest critic as well so I know what that’s like. South East Asian is lots of fun to cook!
Absolutely delicious. Loved it xxx
Great to hear!
Absolutely spot on recipe, even the fussy son enjoyed it !
Defo be one of my regular meals now!
Awesome to hear. Glad your son enjoyed it too. It’s addictive stuff for sure!
For those that must watch their sodium intake, is there any other way to reduce the
3150 mg / serving? This is an insanely amount of sodium and my body hurts just reading this!
It’s the commercial laksa paste that does it. You could look for a version that is lower sodium or try making it yourself. Fish sauce, soy sauce, laksa paste, miso etc are all extraordinarily high in sodium. Asian soups in general are problematic as I’m sure you know.
So high in sodium. Is there anyway to cut this down? Sounds delicious!
The only thing I can think of is trying to make your own laksa paste and cutting back on salt. Not sure that it would taste as good (homemade laksa paste would be awesome – cutting back on salt might not be). Asian soups (soups in general) are salty if you are going for maximum flavour…
This is my favorite soup. However I like to make Saravak laksa wchich is the real soup from Borneo. Unfortunately this soup needs laksa paste available mainly in Malaysia (I did not find it in Europe). And is really spicy. But lovely. May be I will try your recipe becouse it saves the laksa paste ( I make from min. 300gr).
Hope it will be wonderfull. By the way, the realy laksa include chicken meat but also shrimps. And both rice and eggs noodles. SOmetimes also noodles made from omlette. This is my experience from Malaysia and Borneo.
I am not a fan of rice noodles, would ramen work????
It should work. Same idea. Make sure the noodles are just cooked as you will be dropping them into hot liquid. It will be a pretty solid meal I bet. Filling…
I am sure “ramen” works fine.
Hi, I’m from Germany and I recently ate Laksa in Borneo/Malaysia. It was great and I want to cook it here in Germany. My question is what kind of fish sauce you are using? Can I buy it it an Asian store
I use a few different types. Red Boat brand is good if you can find it. 3 Crabs brand is very popular. I would stay away from Squid brand as it is very, very salty tasting. You should be able to get it an Asian store although I haven’t shopped in German Asian stores (except for Dusseldorf where the Asian shops are amazing).
That’s great! Glad to hear it.
Not bad although looks a tad simple… It’s great if you don’t have time, want to eat it and eat it quick. Will give it a go during winter when it gets cold as that’s the best time to eat laksa. Hehe! 🙂
Btw I’d be more careful than to say the dish comes from Malaysia…. which it does not. It comes from 3 different origins, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia, because we each have our distinct national styles. So its not from Malaysia alone… as you have said you tried the Singapore laksa. That is very different to the Malaysia version. 😉
Made this for dinner last night. It was a big hit with the whole family! Thanks!
Glad you liked it!
We used to live in the NT of Australia and laksa was a staple for us! What brand of laksa paste did you use?
It’s addictive stuff for sure. I use Por Kwan brand. It’s the best one I’ve found.
Made this on the weekend. Terrific!
Glad you liked it. I love a good bowl of laksa!