Prawn Curry Laksa by Norman Musa

Prawn Laska Curry. Norman Musa
  • Total: 30 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins
  • Cook: 10 mins
  • Yield: serves 2

British Food is more than just Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding as the diverse history of the islands has resulted in a melting pot of cuisines from around the world. So popular is curry, it is nor considered one of the UK's National Dishes. 

This incredible prawn curry comes from leading chef Norman Musa. Norman was born in Penang and is a passionate ambassador for Malaysian food as well as co-founder of Ning restaurant in Manchester, UK. He has featured on Tom Kerridge’s Best Ever Dishes on BBC2, Sunday Brunch on Channel 4,  BBC World & other TV and radio channels. Norman regularly features at top food festivals around the UK, Europe, and Malaysia. Oh, and he is also an all-around nice guy!

In this Prawn Laska (Karo Laksa Udang), the blend of spices and the heat from the dried chillies, together with the coconut milk, makes the dish creamy and aromatically spicy which is surprisingly easy to make despite the long list of ingredients. 

Norman teaches Malaysian Food and his astounding recipes at Cooks, the Carlton School of Food


  • 150 g. vermicelli noodles
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric (ground)
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 12 king prawns (raw, peeled)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt (fine sea salt)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 100 ml. coconut milk
  • 100 g. spinach (cut into 1 cm strips)
  • 6 pieces fried tofu (ready-made spongy, each cut into 4 pieces)
  • 100 g. beansprouts
  • 1 lime (juiced)
  • For the Spice Paste:
  • 8 dried chilies (soaked in boiling water for ten minutes)
  • 3 shallots
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2.5 cm of fresh ginger
  • 2 stalks lemongrass (use bottom half only)
  • 1/2 teaspoons shrimp paste (dry-toasted, or fish sauce)
  • For the Ground Spice Mix:
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 whole star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 2 cardamom pods (green)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.
  2. Purée all the paste ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Add a little water if the paste is too dry
  3. Put the vermicelli noodles into a bowl and add 1 litre of boiling water. Blanch for 2 minutes, then drain.
  4. Transfer the noodles into a bowl of ice-cold water for 3 minutes, then drain again and set aside.
  5. In a frying pan, dry-toast the spice mix ingredients on a medium heat for 30 seconds, then transfer to a spice grinder and grid until fine.
  6.  In a bowl, mix together thoroughly the blended spice paste, ground spice mix and ground turmeric.
  7. Heat a saucepan over a medium heat. Add the oil and sauté the spice paste mix for 2 minutes, until fragrant.
  8. Add the prawns and cook for 2 minutes, until they have turned pink and are cooked. Add the salt, sugar and coconut milk, along with 750ml of water, and bring to the boil.
  9. Reduce the heat to low and add the spinach, tofu, beansprouts, drained noodles and lime juice. Cook for 2 minutes, then transfer to a bowl and serve.