Laksa - spicy prawn soup

The word laksa originally means many as there are so 'many' variations. Chef Wan makes his with prawns and fishballs
By Atul Kochhar
Laksa - spicy prawn soup
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 2
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Effort: easy


For the spice paste

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 stalks of lemongrass, tough outer leaves removed, chopped
  • 6 red chilli, optional
  • 2 tbsp chilli paste
  • 50 g dried shrimps, soaked and drained
  • 1 cm fresh galangal
  • 1 cm fresh ginger
  • 1/2 tsp limes, juice only

For the laksa

  • 100 ml corn or vegetable oil
  • 250 g prawns, shelled and very finely chopped
  • 250 ml coconut milk
  • 200 ml shrimp or fish stock, See Cook's note
  • small handful chopped fine Vietnamese mint
  • Palm or muscovado sugar, to taste
  • 200 g fish balls, available in Asian supermarkets (optional)
  • 5 pieces dried tofu, optional
  • 2 kaffir lime peel

To serve

  • 175 g laksa noodles or thin rice noodles
  • 100 g bean sprouts
  • ½ cucumber, finely shredded
  • 150 g cooked shrimps
  • handfuls fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 lime, juice only
  • 50 ml Sambal, See Cooks note, (optional)

Tips and Suggestions

You can make laksa with many different ingredients. If you are not a fan or fish balls or tofu, try adding diced chicken instead.

Find a sambal recipe here

You can make shrimp stock by boiling shrimp shells in water and then straining.


1. Place all the spice paste ingredients in a blender and blend to a paste, add a splash of water if necessary.

2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan or wok and add the paste. Fry over a gentle heat until fragrant, stirring often, for 10-15 minutes until the oil starts to separate from the paste.

3. Put in the prawns and cook for another 2 minutes before adding the coconut milk and shrimp stock.

4. Bring to the boil and lower the heat to simmer for 5 minutes. Add fish balls and tofu tear in the chopped Vietnamese mint and fresh mint leaves.

5. Add salt and sugar to taste and a splash of water or coconut milk if the mixture looks too thick. Finally, add the kaffir lime leaves.

6. Meanwhile, blanch the noodles in boiling water for a couple of minutes to soften and heat through, then drain and divide between 4 bowls.

7. To serve: add a few bean sprouts and cucumber shreds to the bowls and pour over the soup. Arrange the prawns and mint leaves on top and finish with a squeeze of lime juice. Serve with cooked sambal.

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