Chicken & prawn curry laksa

Chicken & prawn curry laksa

Mee kari ayam udang

Street Food Asia
Alan Benson

I’m not sure what it is that makes things taste amazing up here. Perhaps it’s the soil and general growing conditions in Asia, or maybe it’s the freshness of the coconut milk… Whatever, curry laksa in Kuala Lumpur just tastes so different to what I’m used to at home in Australia and you really have to have it here to fully experience the text-book perfect version. That’s what the couple I gravitate to in Madras Lane in Chinatown make; theirs has ruined me for laksa cooked by anyone else. While there are plenty of pre-made laksa pastes on the market, I urge you not to be tempted by them and to make your own. It’s not hard (we’re lucky to have food processors – in the past these pastes were all made by hand), it doesn’t take long at all and the difference in flavour is out of this world. You won’t regret it.


Quantity Ingredient
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1.5 litres see method for ingredients
500g boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 3 cm chunks
1 tablespoon liquid palm sugar (see glossary) or shaved palm sugar (jaggery)
500ml coconut milk
500g raw tiger prawns, peeled and deveined, leaving the tails intact
100g fried tofu puffs, halved
1 lime, juiced

Laksa paste

Quantity Ingredient
8 dried red chillies, soaked in hot water for 15 minutes, then drained
2 tablespoons dried shrimp (see glossary), soaked in hot water for 15 minutes, then drained
5 red asian shallots, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
4cm piece of galangal, peeled and chopped
2 lemongrass stems, finely diced, white part only
2cm piece of turmeric, peeled and chopped
4 candlenuts (see glossary) or cashew nuts
1 1/2 tablespoons mam ruoc (vietnamese fermented shrimp paste; see glossary)
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chilli powder
3 tablespoons peanut oil

To serve

Quantity Ingredient
400g rice vermicelli noodles, cooked according to packet instructions
150g bean sprouts
4 coriander sprigs
2 tablespoons Fried red Asian shallots
pinch cracked black pepper
1 lime, cut into wedges
4 tablespoons sambal oelek chilli paste, (see glossary)


  1. To make the laksa paste, place all the ingredients except the peanut oil in a food processor. Pulse together, gradually adding the peanut oil, until a fine paste forms. Set aside.
  2. Heat the vegetable oil in a large saucepan or stockpot over a medium heat, add the spice paste and sauté for 4 minutes until fragrant.
  3. Now add the chicken stock and bring to the boil, then add the chicken pieces and palm sugar, reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Pour in the coconut milk and simmer for another 5 minutes, then add the prawns, tofu pieces and lime juice and cook for a further 5 minutes, until the prawns are pink and cooked through.
  4. To serve, divide the noodles between four soup bowls and ladle over the curry broth, dividing the prawns, chicken and tofu pieces evenly. Top with the bean sprouts, coriander, fried shallots and cracked black pepper and serve with lime wedges and sambal oelek on the side.
South-East Asian
Street Food
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