This Spicy Curry Laksa boasts a rich and creamy spiced coconut milk broth and is made from scratch with a homemade laksa paste. It’s loaded with chicken, shrimp, fish balls, fried tofu puffs, and more, and is topped off with all the classic laksa garnishes!
¾ disc / 37.5 grams Coconut Sugar (known as ‘gula kelapa’), to taste – finely shaved with a knife (substitute with palm sugar, or 1.5–2 tablespoons granulated coconut or light brown sugar if unavailable)
2–3 TSP Thai Chili Powder, to taste (substitute with crushed red pepper flakes if unavailable)
170 grams / 6 ounces (1 pack) Fried Fish Balls (or regular non-fried fish balls) – rinsed in a fine mesh strainer
160 grams / 9 pieces (1 pack) Fish Tofu (or use a sliced fish cake block)
200 grams / 7 ounces peeled and deveined Jumbo Black Tiger Shrimp (or Prawns, size 16/20) – rinsed and pat-dried
600 grams / 21.2 ounces (3 vacuum sealed packs) Rice Vermicelli Noodles – prepared according to package instructions (see notes*)
To Serve (optional toppings, amounts as desired): Store-bought (or homemade) fried Asian shallots, chopped laksa leaves, chopped mint leaves, chopped coriander (cilantro), mung bean sprouts, lime wedges for squeezing, sambal oelek or sambal pedas (Malaysian chili paste)
For the Laksa Paste:
Make the Laksa Paste: Soak the large dried red chilies, Bird’s Eye Thai dried red chilies, and dried shrimp in a bowl of hot water for 15 minutes to soften. Then squeeze the water out from the chilies (it’s ok if they’re still a bit wet) and roughly chop. Remove the dried shrimp from the bowl of water and set aside. Prepare the rest of the fresh and dry ingredients for the paste as indicated in the ‘Ingredients’ section. Add everything and 3 tablespoons of the chili soaking water to a food processor bowl. Cover and blend into a smooth paste, uncovering as needed to push the ingredients down. Add an additional ½ to 1 tablespoon of water if needed to help the paste come along. Transfer the paste to a bowl or container and set aside. For the Spicy Curry Laksa:
For the Spicy Curry Laksa:
Prep: Clean and pat-dry the chicken thighs. Shave the coconut sugar with a sharp knife and set aside. Rinse and pat-dry the prawns, rinse the fried fish balls, and cut the tofu puffs into halves. Place the mung bean sprouts in a bowl of water in the fridge for 15 minutes to rejuvenate. Then rinse and drain into a colander, set aside until ready to serve.
Sauté the laksa paste: Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a large Dutch oven or stockpot. Add the laksa paste and sauté for 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until fragrant.
Add the chicken: Add the chicken thighs and sauté to for 1 minute until coated in the paste.
Build the broth: Pour in the low sodium chicken broth and coconut milk, stir to combine. Then reduce the heat to medium-low.
Season and simmer: Stir in the 2 tablespoons of lime juice, 2 tablespoons of fish sauce, coconut sugar, and 2 teaspoons Thai chili powder. Simmer uncovered for 20-25 minutes, or until the chicken is tender and cooked through. (You can check by piercing the flesh with a fork. The juices should run clear.)
Shred the chicken: Use tongs to transfer the chicken to a cutting board. Skim off (if any) “gunk” or dried blood floating at the top of the broth and discard. Remove the skin off the chicken thighs and discard. Then shred the flesh using two forks or by hand, discard the bone, and set aside until ready to serve.
Cook/reheat the rest of the proteins: Add the fish balls and fish tofu, and simmer for 6 minutes. Then add the tofu puffs and shrimp and simmer for another 2-3 minutes, or until the shrimp has just cooked through. Give the broth a taste and adjust seasonings by adding the remainder tablespoon of lime juice and fish sauce, remaining teaspoon of Thai chili powder, more coconut sugar if needed. Then switch off the heat.
Cook/reheat the noodles:
If using vacuum sealed packs of rice vermicelli or dried noodles: Cook according to package instructions in a pot of boiling water. Then drain and divide evenly into four bowls.
If using fresh rice noodles: Briefly place them in a pot of boiling water, then drain and divide evenly into four bowls.
To Serve: Ladle the laksa broth, fish balls, fish tofu, tofu puffs, and shrimp evenly over the noodles and top with the shredded chicken. Garnish with fried Asian shallots, mung bean sprouts, chopped laksa leaves (and/or chopped mint and coriander). Serve with lime wedges for squeezing and sambal oelek (or sambal pedas) if desired.
Asian ingredients: Look for the large dried chilies, Bird’s Eye dried red chilies, dried shrimp, fresh turmeric, galangal, candlenuts, belacan (shrimp paste), coconut sugar, Thai chili powder, fried fish balls, fish tofu (or fish cake block), fried tofu puffs at an Asian supermarket. Some of these ingredients can also be found in Thai specialty ingredients stores or ordered online. See the post above if you’d like to learn more about each of these ingredients.
Laksa paste: The paste can be made a day in advance and stored in a sealed airtight container in the fridge. Or it can be stored in a freezer friendly sealed airtight container in the freezer for up to 1 month. Use half of the paste to make the laksa broth milder and freeze the rest for another day.
Noodles: I used vacuum sealed packs of rice vermicelli noodles and cooked them according to package instructions in a pot of boiling water. But you can use fresh rice noodles, which will only need a quick dip in a pot of boiling water to reheat. Alternatively, use Hokkien or egg noodles if you prefer. If using dried noodles, use 300 grams / 10.6 ounces and prepare them according to package instructions.
Storing and reheating leftovers: Store the laksa (without the noodles) in a sealed airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. You can reheat either in a pot or Dutch oven on the stovetop, then cook the noodles separately, ladle the laksa on top, and add your desired toppings. Alternatively, reheat individual broth portions in the microwave on high for 2-3 minutes, stirring once in between, until hot throughout. Then pour over cooked noodles in a separate bowl and add toppings and garnishes as desired.
Nutritional information is approximate, and is not inclusive of information for toppings/garnishes.