John Torodes laksa is made with freshly made curry pastes and served with prawns, tofu and shredded Chinese cabbage
By John Torode
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4-6
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Effort: easy


  • 250 g thick fresh rice noodles, rinsed

For the laksa paste:

  • ½ tsp coriander seeds
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 50 g fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 5 coriander roots, washed and dried
  • 1 lemongrass, outer leaves removed and inner stalk chopped
  • 4 lime leaves, stalks removed and leaves chopped
  • 50 g blanched almonds
  • 1 tsp shrimp paste
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 120 ml vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 large red chilli, deseeded and chopped

For the red paste:

  • 50 g galangal
  • 50 g fresh ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 40 g shrimp paste
  • 100 g Thai shallots, peeled
  • 1 lemongrass, outer leaves removed and inner stalk chopped
  • 4 coriander roots, washed and dried, optional
  • 5 large red chilli, deseeded and chopped
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 200 g coconut milk
  • 1.25 litres chicken stock
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • small handful coriander leaves, chopped
  • chilli powder, for sprinkling
  • sambal ulek, for dipping

Tips and Suggestions

If using wheat or egg noodles, boil them until soft, drain and keep warm. If using dried rice noodles, rehydrate them in cold water for 2-3 minutes, drain and keep warm.

This dish goes well with garnishes including, cubed tofu fried on all sides, shredded Chinese cabbage, beansprouts and cucumber strips. For extra texture, you can add a handful of fresh prawns 5 minutes before the end of the cooking time.


1. In a large pan of boiling salted water, place the noodles in just long enough to heat them through. Drain and keep warm in a pan with a lid on.

2. For the laksa paste: Toast the coriander seeds and cumin seeds in a dry pan until they release their aromas and colour slightly. In a food processor, purée the spices with the onion, ginger, coriander root, lemon grass, lime leaves, nuts, shrimp paste, garlic and 20ml vegetable oil.

3. Heat the rest of the oil in a large pan and add the turmeric, ground coriander, cumin and the chillies. Fry for 5 minutes, stirring all the time, until fragrant. Add the spicy onion purée to the pan and cook, stirring continuously, for 5-8 minutes, until you have a very aromatic, jam-like paste. Set aside.

4. For the red paste: In a food processor, purée the galangal, ginger, garlic, shrimp paste, Thai shallots, lemon grass stalk, coriander roots and red chillies. Heat the oil in a wok and fry the purée for about 10 minutes, or until the paste darkens. Add the laksa paste and bubble up until darkened and aromatic. Add the coconut milk, chicken stock and fish sauce and bring to the boil.

5. Pour into a large bowl and stir in the noodles. Sprinkle with coriander and a little chilli powder.

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