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Laksa: the delicious recipe for a popular Malaysian street food dish

Total time: 70 Min
Difficulty: Low
Serves: 4 people
By Cookist

If you enjoy incredibly flavorful, hearty soups that are easy to make and good for feeding a family, laksa is the perfect dish for you. This delicious laksa has it all – spicy, sour, savory, with a wonderful coconut flavor. The combination of shrimp, chicken, and tasty, tender noodles in a fragrant broth is hard to resist.

Laksa is a classic Malaysian street food. It's wildly popular throughout Southeast Asia, especially in Indonesia, Singapore, and of course, Malaysia. It's even found swathes of fans in Australia. If you're ready to try one of the most delicious, satisfying soups out there, try this easy laksa recipe.

What is Laksa?

Laksa is a delicious soup that's packed with shrimp, chicken, and noodles, and seasoned with tasty aromatic ingredients like ginger, garlic, lemongrass, chilies, fish sauce, and most notably, laksa paste. Its origins are in Peranakan cuisine, which is a delicious mixture of Malaysian and Chinese influences.

There are different versions of laksa. Some bases are made with a sour base, called asam, which is often made from tamarind. The coconut milk and curry version is more common outside of Asia. Laksa differs from curry as it's a soup with noodles rather than a stew eaten with rice.

Laksa Ingredients

Laksa has many different ingredients in it, which is what helps to make this soup so irresistible.

Most importantly, you'll need laksa paste, which you can find at Asian supermarkets or order online.

Coconut milk and chicken stock form the base of the soup.

Fragrant ingredients like garlic, ginger, lemongrass, Thai chilies, and fish sauce add layers of flavor to the soup.

You'll also need noodles. Egg noodles, vermicelli, or wheat noodles will all work well.

Shrimp, soy puffs, and chicken are the main proteins in this version, but you can use beef, pork, or tofu.

To top off the soup, you'll need bean sprouts, chopped cilantro, and some shallots.

What is Laksa Paste?

Laksa paste is the delicious not-so-secret ingredient that serves as the base for laksa. It's made from a blend of shrimp paste, dried shrimp, spices, galangal, onion, lemongrass, garlic, and more.

It's easiest to buy it from your local Asian market or order it online, but you can definitely make homemade laksa paste.

How to Make Laksa

Making laksa from scratch is easy. Start by seasoning the chicken with salt and pepper and baking it for 40 minutes at 400°F. While the chicken is in the oven, sauté the garlic and ginger in a pot. Cook until fragrant, then stir in chilies and lemongrass. Stir the mixture occasionally, and sauté it for about 3 minutes. Stir in laksa paste and sugar and cook for a few more minutes.

Pour in the chicken stock, coconut milk, and fish sauce and bring the soup to a boil. Once boiling, add the soy puffs, lid the pot, then lower the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Make the noodles, then divvy them up between four bowls (or six if you're serving smaller portions of laksa). Grab two forks and shred the chicken. Add it to the bowls. Stir the lime juice into the soup.

Fry the shallots until crispy, then cook the shrimp until pink and opaque. Pour the soup into the bowls. Add a few soy puffs to each bowl, then top the soup off with shrimp, shallots, bean sprouts, and cilantro. Serve with a side of lime, and enjoy!


Tips for the Best Laksa

If you don't have white pepper, you can substitute black pepper.

There are several types of noodles you can use in your laksa. Thin egg noodles, vermicelli, or wheat noodles will all be delicious in this soup.

Use two forks to shred the chicken.

Make sure to add any cooking juices from the chicken to the soup because it will add a ton of flavor.

If you don't have fish sauce or aren't a fan of the flavor, you can use salt as a substitute.

There are different variations of laksa to try. You can add shredded beef, or if you're vegetarian, leave out the chicken and shrimp and add tofu and extra veggies instead.

How to Store Laksa

Allow the soup to cool down slightly, then transfer it to an airtight container and place it in the fridge. Enjoy your laksa within 3 days. For best results, keep the broth and the noodles separate.

chicken thighs, bone-in, skin-on
salt and white pepper to taste
vegetable oil, divided
4 tbsp
Garlic, minced
1 clove
ginger, grated
1 1/2 tbsp
lemongrass, woody parts removed and minced
1 stalk
Thai chilies, finely diced
laksa paste
1/2 cup
Brown sugar
1 tbsp
low-sodium chicken stock
4 cups
Coconut milk
1 can
Fish sauce
1 tsp
soy puffs, halved
1 package
4 portions
1 to 3
large shallots, sliced thin
All-purpose flour
1/4 cup
large shrimp
mung bean sprouts
2 cups
Fresh cilantro
1/2 cup


Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Generously season the chicken with salt and pepper, then set it on the tray.

Bake for 40 minutes, then take it out of the oven and put it to the side.

As the chicken bakes, sauté the garlic and ginger in a pot.

Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute, then stir in chilies and lemongrass. Sauté for 3 minutes or so, stirring occasionally.

Stir in laksa paste and sugar and cook for 3 minutes more.

Pour in the chicken stock, coconut milk, and fish sauce. Let the liquids come to a boil.

Add the soy puffs, place the lid on the pot, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes.

Cook the noodles according to the directions on the packet. If using cooked noodles, rinse them in water. Divide them between four bowls.

Shred the chicken and skin. Place it in the bowls, then stir any cooking juices into the soup.

Stir in lime juice to taste.

Lightly coat the shallots in flour. Sauté them in oil until crispy and browned. Set aside to drain on a paper towel.

Sprinkle salt and pepper over the shrimp, then sauté them until cooked through.

Pour the soup into the bowls. Make sure each bowl has a few soy puffs in it.

Garnish with shrimp, shallots, bean sprouts, and cilantro. Serve with a side of lime.


You can remove the skin from the chicken if you like, however it adds a lot of flavor to the dish.

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