Curry Laksa or often referred to as just laksa, is a celebrated spicy coconut enriched curry soup from the Peranakan cuisine, a fusion of Chinese and Malay cuisines. Curry laksa typically comprises rice noodles, rice vermicelli or rice sticks, served with chicken, prawn, fish balls and tofu puffs in a spicy soup enhanced with spicy curry coconut milk. For my gluten free curry laksa, I am using gluten free rice sticks served with king prawns, chicken and tofu puffs and garnished with fresh bean sprouts.
Laksa is a delicacy with a combination of spicy, sweet, sour and salty ingredients. Most commonly dished up in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and southern Thailand as a popular hawker or street food. It is no doubt one of my favourite childhood hawker or street foods. In Malaysia and Singapore, I remember having laksa either for breakfast, lunch or dinner. It is always available all day in most hawker centres and now in most chain restaurants. This delicious curry laksa dish is also widely available in Australia in food courts and Asian restaurants.
Like all popular dishes, there are numerous variations to curry laksa. Some varieties of curry laksa include but are not limited to chicken laksa, king prawns laksa, beef laksa, mixed seafood laksa and vegetarian laksa. While other versions garnish the curry laksa with hard boiled eggs and cooked snake beans. Lately, contemporary varieties include lobster laksa and stuffed tofu laksa, also called “yong tau foo”, a Chinese dish whereby stuffed tofu puffs and mixed vegetables like okra (ladies fingers), fresh long red and green chillies, bitter melon, eggplants, tomatoes and hard tofus are stuffed with fish paste.
This curry laksa is not only impeccable for a cold, rainy and winter day to warm you up but also ideal when you are craving for some hot and spicy flavours to bring up your appetite in summer.
- 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 kg extra-large fresh king prawns shelled and deveined tails intact (wash and reserve prawn shells)
- 1 kg skinless and boneless chicken breasts or thighs trimmed and thickly sliced
- 400 ml gluten free canned coconut milk
- 2 litres water
- 4 tablespoons salt or to taste
- 15 curry leaves
- 200 g gluten free fried tofu puffs halved crosswise into triangles
- 450 g gluten free dried rice noodles or rice vermicelli or rice sticks
- 200 g fresh bean sprouts 1 packet
For the Spice Paste:
- 3 Garlic cloves
- 1 medium brown onion cut into wedges
- 8 long fresh red chillies deseeded and cut into 3cm pieces
- 3 small fresh red chillies deseeded optional
- 5 kaffir lime leaves stems removed and leaves finely sliced
- 3 cm piece fresh galangal peeled and finely sliced
- 3 cm piece fresh ginger peeled and finely sliced
- 3 cm piece fresh turmeric peeled and finely sliced or 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 stem lemon grass white part only, finely sliced
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon ground paprika
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Add the ingredients for the spice paste into a food processor and blend until you get a smooth paste. Alternatively, you can use a mortar and pestle if preferred.
- Fill a pot with half full of water and bring to a boil. Turn the heat to low, submerge the rice noodles into the water for about 5 minutes or until noodles are soft. Drain the water, and set the noodles aside.
- Heat up another large pot with 5 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, add the spice paste and curry leaves and stir-fry for 10 minutes or until aromatic on medium heat.
- Add the prawn shells, coconut milk, salt and water to the curry paste and stir and mix well. Bring to a boil, then cover with lid and turn the heat to low and simmer lightly for 10 minutes.
- Cook the prawns in the curry laksa soup for 3 minutes or until just cooked through. Remove and set aside in a bowl.
- Then cook the chicken pieces in the same curry laksa soup for 3 minutes or until chicken is just cooked through. Remove and set aside in a bowl.
- Lastly, cook the gluten free fried tofu puffs in the curry laksa soup for 2 minutes or until the tofu puffs has absorbed the laksa soup and softens. Remove and set aside in a bowl.
- Remove all prawn shells from the laksa soup and discard.
- For each serving, place some rice noodles in the serving bowl, top with a few prawns, some chicken pieces and some tofu puffs. Garnish with some bean sprouts. Then serve with hot curry laksa soup.