Laksa Noodle Soup

Curry laksa with shrimp and chicken

The Spruce / Diana Rattray

Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 60 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
592 Calories
23g Fat
57g Carbs
40g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 592
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 23g 29%
Saturated Fat 12g 62%
Cholesterol 156mg 52%
Sodium 968mg 42%
Total Carbohydrate 57g 21%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Total Sugars 38g
Protein 40g
Vitamin C 8mg 42%
Calcium 88mg 7%
Iron 3mg 19%
Potassium 595mg 13%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Laksa noodle soup is a super-flavorful Malaysian dish. The soup is thought to be a blending of Chinese and Malaysian or Javanese cuisines, either through the merging of cultures or intermarriage.

There are two significant kinds of laksa, each with several variants, depending on the region. The basic laksa is sometimes called curry laksa. The most popular curry laksas include a paste made up of shallots, garlic, turmeric, lemongrass, candlenut or cashew, and galangal. Coconut cream or milk, stock or broth, lime juice, and bean sprouts balance the bold paste along with chicken, shrimp, or tofu, or some combination thereof. Garnishes can include crispy fried shallots, cilantro, sambal or a similar chili paste, and sliced hard-boiled eggs.  

This version is a curry laksa. The balanced flavors of the soup are complex, but using a store-bought laksa paste makes the soup surprisingly fast and easy to make. This recipe for prawn curry laksa, however, includes a homemade spice paste.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons peanut oil, or other neutral oil

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger root

  • 1 (7-ounce) jar or pouch laksa paste

  • 3 cups chicken stock, unsalted or low-sodium

  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, or thighs

  • 8 ounces large shrimp, or more chicken

  • 1 (13.5-ounce) can coconut cream, or to taste

  • 1 cup tofu puffs, optional

  • 3 tablespoons lime juice

  • Fish sauce, to taste

  • 8 ounces rice noodles, flat or vermicelli

  • 1 1/2 cups fresh bean sprouts

  • Lime wedges, cilantro leaves, chopped scallions, sambal chili paste, crispy fried shallots, for serving, optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Heat the peanut oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat.

  3. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for about 2 minutes, or until softened and aromatic.

  4. Add the laksa paste and continue cooking for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the chicken stock and brown sugar; bring to a boil.

  5. Meanwhile, dice or slice the chicken into bite-size pieces.

  6. Peel and devein the shrimp.

  7. Add the chicken to the broth mixture and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 5 minutes.

  8. Add the shrimp and cook for 2 minutes longer. Add the coconut cream and tofu puffs, if using. Heat through.

  9. Stir the lime juice into the soup and add fish sauce, to taste. 

  10. Meanwhile, soak the rice noodles in boiling water as directed on the package.

  11. Drain the noodles and divide them among six bowls.

  12. Ladle the soup over the noodles and then top with about 1/4 cup of fresh bean sprouts. 

  13. Garnish the soup with a teaspoon or two of sambal along with lemon wedges, cilantro, sliced hard-boiled eggs, or crispy fried shallots, as desired.

  14. Serve and enjoy!

Tips

  • Tofu puffs can be found in the refrigerated section of Asian markets. They absorb the flavorful broth and add protein to the dish.
  • Crispy fried shallots are a popular condiment in some Asian countries. To make them at home, slice three or four shallots thinly. Heat 1 cup of peanut oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the sliced shallots and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until golden brown. Transfer the shallots to paper towels to drain thoroughly.

Variations

Asam laksa is the other popular version of the soup. It's a fish-based soup made with a sour-flavored paste, along with tamarind, chili peppers, shrimp paste, turmeric, and galangal. Shredded fish—usually mackerel or sardines—is included in this version. It is commonly garnished with julienned pineapple, cucumber, sliced onion, lettuce, and mint leaves. Both kinds of laksa soup are served with rice noodles or vermicelli.