Recipe: Spicy Seafood Laksa

This version of the famous creamy seafood and noodle dish is less piquant than that from Penang.

Serves 6


1 kg small prawns 850 gm other seafood

6 cups water

6 cups chicken stock

3 tbsp vegetable oil

350 gm packet rice vermicelli

4 cups thin coconut milk

2 cups thick coconut milk

1 cup fish cakes, sliced (optional)

1 cup fish balls (optional)

Laksa Paste

6-8 dried red chillies 3 tbsp dried prawns

1 stalk lemongrass, inner stalk

1 medium brown onion

2 tsp galangal powder

1 tbsp coriander seed, finely ground

1 tsp ground turmeric 1 tsp sweet paprika

8-10 macadamia nuts 1 tsp lemon zest

3 tbsp peanut oil

Sambal Belacan

6 fresh red chillies

4 small Asian onions, or ¼ Spanish onion

½ tsp roasted shrimp paste

1 tsp tamarind

½ cup warm water

½ tsp sugar (optional)

Salt and pepper to taste


250 gm fresh sprouts

1 green cucumber, julienned

1 small bunch Vietnamese mint or wild mint

1 lime, cut in 6 wedges

Fried Asian shallots (sold in packets, cooked)



  1. Remove the stringy part of the lemongrass for later Keep the soft end of the lemon grass for making the paste.
  2. If you want milder soup, remove the seeds from the dried chillies by breaking them and shaking out the seeds. Soak the dried chillies in hot water for 10 minutes until they
  3. Soak the dried prawns in water for about 20 minutes to
  4. Drain the soaked chillies and soaked prawns and put them in a blender with the soft bit of the lemongrass, onion, galangal, coriander seed, turmeric, paprika, lemon zest and macadamia nuts. Blend into a fine paste
  5. Warm the peanut oil and fry the Laksa Paste. Once the oil from the Laksa paste starts to separate, the paste is done. Add seasoning to taste

Sambal Belacan

  1. Soak the tamarind paste in the water for 5-10 Use your fingers to dissolve the paste, then squeeze out the tamarind juice and discard the remaining pulp.
  2. Blend the red chillies, onions and shrimp paste in a mortar and pestle until fine. Add tamarind juice, salt and sugar to You can fry this up or use fresh. Set aside for garnish.


  1. Peel the prawns and clean the other Make stock with the prawn shells and the 6 cups water.
  2. Season the seafood separately and gently fry in 1 tbsp of the Set aside.
  3. Heat the Laksa Paste and add the prawn stock and chicken Allow the soup to simmer slowly as you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

To Serve

  1. In a stock pot, add lots of Bring it to boil. Scald the noodles in hot water for a few minutes, then drain and set aside.
  2. Blanch the fish cake slices and fish balls in the soup if you are using
  3. In separate bowls, divide the noodles, top with the assorted seafood, bean sprouts, cucumber, Vietnamese mint and fried
  4. Add the thin and the thick coconut milk to the simmering soup, allow it to heat through, adjust the seasoning and pour over the noodles and
  5. Serve with a small amount of the Sambal

Chef Wanitha Tanasingam

Chef Wanitha Tanasingam hosts a range of classes here at The Essential Ingredient Rozelle. Growing up in Penang, Wanitha moved to Australia in 1982. She learned the art of cooking from her father, who was the Head Chef of the Kedah Royal Family in Malaysia. Wanitha later started her own restaurant and cooking school. She is a real goddess of flavours and spice and with her engaging personality, her positive energy and her incredible knowledge of food she will show you the secrets of cooking.

Discover more about her many wonderful classes here.