Laksa is a one-dish meal of rice noodles and seafood in
a spicy soup. The Singapore version is rich with coconut milk, while
Penang style Laksa omits the coconut milk
and is piquant in flavor. The former is also known as Laksa Lemak.
500 g (1 lb)
500 g (1 lb)
185 g (6 oz)
375 g (12 oz)
250 g (8 oz)
For the soup -
Prepared fish cakes
Fresh bean sprouts
Salt to taste
Small bunch laksa leaves (Vietnamese mint)
Sambal ulek or sambal bajak
Fresh limes, optional
Large dried red chilies
Dried shrimp paste (belacan)
Wash the shrimps well, remove shells,
heads and reserve for making stock.
De-vein the shrimps, slice the fish cakes
and pick over the crabmeat for any bony bits.
Keep the seafood refrigerated until
Heat a tablespoon of oil in a saucepan,
add the well-drained shrimp shells and heads and fry, stirring, until
they turn red.
Add the water and 2 teaspoons salt and
simmer, covered, for about 1 hour or until reduced by a third. Strain
stock, discard shells and heads.
Pour very hot water over the rice
vermicelli in a bowl and leave to soak for 10 minutes. Drain.
Pinch any straggly tails off the bean
sprouts, wash well and drain in a colander.
Peel and seed the cucumber and cut into
Shred the laksa leaf finely.
To make the soup -
Break off stems of dry chilies and shake
out the seeds. Soak the chilies and belacan in hot water for at least 10
Put the chilies, shrimps, onions, laos
powder, candlenuts and finely sliced lemon grass (use only the white
part) into the container of an electric blender.
Add a little of the soaking water to
facilitate blending, and grind to a puree.
Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a heavy saucepan
and fry the ground mixture, stirring to prevent burning, until it is
brown and smells fragrant.
Add the turmeric and coriander and stir
fry for a minute longer.
Add the strained stock and simmer for
about half and hour.
Before serving, add the coconut milk,
taste and correct seasoning.
Add the sliced fish cakes and crabmeat and
bring to simmering point.
Drain the rice vermicelli and add to the
Heat a tablespoon of oil and stir fry the
shrimps for just a couple of minutes, adding a little salt to taste.
Serve the laksa lemak in a large bowls,
topping each bowl with bean sprouts, cucumber strips, a few shrimps and
shreds of laksa leaf.
Serve chili sambal separately for intrepid
chili eaters and halved limes or lemon for those who prefer a more