Laksa Noodle Soup

Laksa Noodle Soup in bowls

The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 21 mins
Total: 41 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
851 Calories
50g Fat
41g Carbs
62g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 851
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 50g 65%
Saturated Fat 32g 160%
Cholesterol 235mg 78%
Sodium 1421mg 62%
Total Carbohydrate 41g 15%
Dietary Fiber 5g 19%
Total Sugars 7g
Protein 62g
Vitamin C 15mg 76%
Calcium 139mg 11%
Iron 7mg 39%
Potassium 1096mg 23%
*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 coconut 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.

“Laksa Noodle Soup is like a little piece of Southeast Asia in a bowl. Wonderfully aromatic with spicy, rich, deep flavors of lemongrass, galangal, turmeric, shrimp paste, and more from the laksa paste. The soup came together quickly and tasted truly authentic. The chicken, shrimp, and noodles made it a hearty meal.” —Diana Andrews 

Laksa Noodle Soup/Tester Image

 

A Note From Our Recipe Tester

Ingredients

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

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

  • 1 (7-ounce) jar laksa paste, about 3/4 cup

  • 3 cups chicken stock, unsalted or low-sodium

  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into bite size pieces

  • 8 ounces large shrimp, peeled and deveined, or more chicken

  • 1 (13.5-ounce) can unsweetened coconut cream, or full-fat coconut milk

  • 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, for garnish, optional

  • Cilantro leaves, for garnish, optional

  • Fried shallots, for garnish, optional

  • Sambal oelek, for garnish, optional

  • Thinly sliced scallions, for garnish, optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Laksa Noodle Soup ingredients

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  2. Heat the peanut oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy-duty pot over medium heat until it shimmers.

    Oil in a Dutch oven on the burner

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  3. Add the garlic and ginger and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 1 minute.

    Garlic and ginger with oil in a Dutch oven with a wooden spoon

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  4. Add the laksa paste and continue cooking, stirring occasionally until the ingredients are well combined, about 2 minutes.

    Garlic, ginger, and laksa paste in a Dutch oven with a wooden spoon

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  5. Raise the heat to high, add the chicken stock and brown sugar. Bring to a boil.

    Laksa paste mixture with chicken stock and brown sugar in a Dutch oven with a wooden spoon

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  6. Lower the heat to low, add the chicken and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is almost cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add the shrimp and continue to simmer until the shrimp and chicken are just cooked through, about 1 1/2 minutes longer.

    Shrimp cooking with the laksa soup in the Dutch oven on the burner

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  7. Add the coconut cream or coconut milk and tofu puffs, if using, stirring occasionally until warmed through. Add the lime juice and fish sauce, to taste. Remove from the heat, cover and set aside.

    Laksa soup with tofu puffs cooking in a Dutch oven on a burner

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  8. Cook the rice noodles according to package directions.

    Rice noodle balls in a bowl with water

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  9. Drain the noodles and divide them among four bowls.

    Rice noodles in a colander with tongs and in small bowls

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  10. Ladle the soup over the noodles and then top with the bean sprouts. 

    Laksa Noodle Soup in a pot with a ladle and in four small bowls

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  11. Add the suggested garnishes, as desired, and serve immediately.

    Laksa Noodle Soup in bowls, garnished with cilantro

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

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 and can be purchased at Asian markets. 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.
  • Be sure to use coconut cream and not "cream of coconut" for the laksa broth. Cream of coconut is a sweetened product and used in cocktails (such as a piña colada) and desserts. Coconut cream, on the other hand, is unsweetened and like a very thick, rich coconut milk. Coconut cream can usually be found next to cans of coconut milk in the supermarket.

Laksa Variation

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.