This version of the famous creamy seafood and noodle dish is less piquant than that from Penang - but just as delicious!
— Wanitha Tanasingam


Serves 6

1 kg small prawns
850g other seafood
6 cups water
6 cups chicken stock
3 tbs vegetable oil
350g packet rice vermicelli
4 cups thin coconut milk
2 cups thick coconut milk
1 cup fish cakes, sliced (optional)
1 cup fish balls (optional)

Laksa Paste:
6-8 dried red chillies
3 tbs dried prawns
1 stalk lemongrass, inner stalk
1 medium brown onion
2 tsp galangal powder
1 tbs coriander seeds, finely ground
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp sweet paprika
8-10 macadamia nuts
1 tsp lemon zest
3 tbsp peanut oil

Sambal Belacan:
6 fresh red chillies
4 small Asian onions, or ¼ Spanish onion
½ tsp roasted shrimp paste
1 tsp tamarind
½ cup warm water
½ tsp sugar (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

250 gm fresh sprouts
1 green cucumber, julienned
1 small bunch Vietnamese mint or wild mint
1 lime, cut in 6 wedges
Fried Asian shallots (sold in packets, cooked)

VIVE Recipes Laksa


  1. Prepare all garnishes.

  2. Remove the stringy part of the lemongrass for later use. Keep the soft end of the lemongrass for making the paste.
  3. For a milder soup, remove seeds from dried chillies by breaking and shaking out the seeds. Soak chillies in hot water for 10 minutes until softened.
  4. Soak dried prawns in water for 20 minutes until soft.
  5. Drain chillies and prawns and combine soft end of lemongrass, onion, galangal, coriander seeds, turmeric, paprika, lemon zest and macadamia nuts in a blender until smooth.
  6. Heat peanut oil in a pan and fry the Laksa paste. Once the oil starts to separate the paste is done. Add seasoning to taste.

    Sambal Belacan:
  7. Soak tamarind paste in water for 5-10 minutes. With your fingers, dissolve the paste, then squeeze out the tamarind juice and discard the pulp.
  8. Blend red chillies, onions and shrimp paste in a mortar and pestle until fine. Add tamarind juice, salt and sugar to taste. This may be fried or served fresh. Set aside for garnish.

  9. Peel the prawns and clean other seafood. Make stock with the prawn shells and the 6 cups water.
  10. Season seafood separately and gently fry in 1 tbs of oil. Set aside.
  11. Heat Laksa paste and add the prawn and chicken stock. Allow to simmer slowly while you prepare the remaining ingredients.

    To serve:
  12. In a stock pot, add lots of water. Bring to boil and scald the noodles in boiling water for a few minutes. Drain and set aside.
  13. If using, blanch the fish cake slices and fish balls in the soup.
  14. Divide noodles amongst serving bowls, top with assorted seafood, bean sprouts, cucumber, Vietnamese mint and fried shallots.
  15. Add coconut milk (thin and thick) to the simmering soup and allow it to heat through. Adjust the seasoning and pour over the noodles and garnishes.
  16. Serve with a small amount of Sambal Belacan.