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Malaysian Prawn Laksa

Malaysian Prawn Laksa

This recipe is a spicy rice noodle based soup from Malaysia. The spice blends are made from scratch to give it that fresh flavour.

bar Malaysian Prawn Laksa
In order to save time, you could replace the whole spices with readymade ground ones. The recipe can be served as a starter or accompanied by plain rice minus the rice noodles.

Picture by Werner Van Peppen

Serves 2-3

Dry ingredients:-

1 tsp coriander seeds

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

1 star anise

2.5cm piece cinnamon bark
1/4 tsp black peppercorns
1 green cardamom

Wet ingredients:-

2 dried red chillies, soaked in boiling water for 5 minutes to soften
4 shallots, peeled

2 garlic cloves

2 tsp peeled and grated root ginger

1 lemongrass stalk, use only the bottom half
Juice of 1/2 lime
1/4 tsp turmeric

1/4 tsp shrimp paste

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

3 tbsp sunflower oil

150g cooked prawns

50ml coconut milk

3-4 pieces tofu, cut into 6cm length strips about 1cm thick

50g baby spinach leaves, washed

75g vermicelli rice noodles, soaked in boiling water


Roast the dry ingredients in a pan and allow them to cool. Then grind them in a pestle and mortar or a coffee mill and set aside.
Blend the wet ingredients in a blender till they are pureed.
Using a bowl, mix the dry and wet ingredients together with the turmeric, shrimp paste, salt and sugar.
Heat a pan on a medium heat then add the oil. Tip in the mixture and fry till fragrant. Add 300ml of water and the prawns. Bring the mixture to the boil and then simmer for 10-15 minutes.
Next, add the coconut milk, tofu and spinach. Cook for another 5 minutes. Turn off the heat. Put the drained noodles and bean sprouts in a separate bowl and pour over the Laksa prawn, spinach and tofu gravy.
 Garnish with the coriander leaves and sliced chillies, if using. Serve hot in a bowl.


If you don't have any shallots, use 1 onion.

(c) 2012

Spice Bites