Laksa Lemak | Spicy Noodle Soup

My Laksa Lemak, or spicy noodle soup, has been made with tofu and prawns to be as traditional as possible.

I am going to try and make one dish each week related to the quiz that PinkPolkaDot posts on a Friday. This week, the dish is Laksa which I have taken from my Curry recipe book. The original meaning of the word laksa is fine rice noodles or rice vermicelli, but nowadays, a laksa is a spicy soup made with coconut milk and what ever noodles you fancy, plus chicken prawns, scallops and so on. Lemak literally means ‘fat’ but it should be understood here as rich, lavish and delicious.

Laksa Lemak
Laksa Lemak
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Laksa Lemak

Recipe Category: Asian, Soup
All Rights Reserved: Adapted from Curry page 180


  • 1 block Chinese tofu (about 400g)
  • 30 - 45 mls apricot kernel oil
  • 16 raw king prawns, heads removed, peeled and deveined
  • 5 mls salt
  • 1.2 l chicken or vegetable stock
  • 300 mls coconut milk
  • 225 - 350 g rice vermicelli, soaked in hot water in a covered bowl for 5 minutes then drained
  • 115 - 175 g bean sprouts
  • 2 hard boiled eggs quartered

for the paste

  • 1 - 2 large red chillies, chopped
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 2 candlenuts, chopped (or 15mls ground almonds)
  • 5 mls chopped peeled fresh root ginger
  • 5 mls chopped galangal
  • 5 mls ground coriander
  • 5 mls salt
  • 30 mls tamarind water
  • 30 mls groundnut oil

to garmish

  • 30 mls chopped spring onion
  • handful of flat leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
  • 30 mls deep-fried shallots


  • make the paste by blending the ingredients together until smooth
  • using a large non stick pan, cook on a moderate heat for 4 minutes, stirring occassionaly
  • remove and set aside
  • cut the tofu into quarters, then cut each quarter into quarters again (handle these carefully as they break easily)
  • heat the oil in the pan and fry the tofu pieces, turning them over several times, until they are slightly coloured
  • drain on kitchen paper and set aside
  • rub the prawns with the salt and set aside
  • bring the stock to the boil
  • stir in the paste and cook for 2 minutes
  • add the prawns and cook for 2 minutes, then remove them with a slotted spoon and set aside
  • pour the coconut milk into the stock and bring to the boil and simmer for 4 - 5 minutes
  • while you are doing this, place the noodles, prawns and tofu into bowls
  • then add the beansprouts and eggs
  • adjust the seasoning of the soup and bring it to a rolling boil, then ladle the soup into the bowls
  • garnish and serve immediately

Click on the links for conversions and notes.


In 2010 I wrote the recipe down, as per the recipe book. No thought was given to recording what I had actually done. Eleven years later, my blogging has improved. My recipe writing has come a long way since then so I hope you will forgive me if you stumble upon this recipe and want to make it. Buy which ever size tofu you can get. It is not essential to this recipe that you have 400g exactly. Use canola oil if that is what you have at home. It really is not necessary to buy other oils. Rather use chicken stock for depth of flavour and go with the smaller weights for the noodles and bean sprouts. We don’t get candlenuts here so I have no idea what they taste like. But as I have noted, almonds will do.

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11 thoughts on “Laksa Lemak | Spicy Noodle Soup

  1. This sounds really lovely! And a great idea – I look forward to your upcoming recipes. I have found Woolie’s tofu to be very mushy – I think a firmer tofu would work better? But tofu is definitely an acquired taste 🙂 What country does laksa originate from?

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