Malaysian cuisine is a melting pot of  traditions from its Malay, Chinese, Indian, Indonesian and ethnic Bornean citizens, with heavy to light influences from Thai, Portuguese, Dutch, Arabian cuisines and British cuisines, to name a few. The condiments and spices used in cooking varies and this results in strong regional nuances.

There are two types of laksa: curry laksa and asam laksa. Curry laksa is a coconut milk curry soup with noodles, while asam laksa is a sour, most often tamarind-based, soup with noodles. I have tried to keep this vegan, (took inspiration from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty More) and so did not use any of the traditional seasonings like shrimp paste. Here is my take on the classic.

Curry laksa



2 tablespoons sambal oelek

100g shallots, peeled and chopped

8 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

30g ginger, peeled and sliced

1 tablespoon ground lemon grass (frozen)

1 tablespoon ground coriander

1-2 red chillies, chopped

40g coriander roots, stems and leaves

30ml vegetable oil


30ml vegetable oil

1.2l vegetable stock

400ml coconut milk

2 teaspoon curry powder

1 tablespoon sugar

300g bean sprouts

150g French beans

200g rice vermicelli

200g tofu puffs or squares

Salt to taste

2 limes, halved

Chopped red chillies and coriander leaves for garnish


Put all ingredients for paste into a food processor and make a semi smooth paste.

Heat remaining oil in a medium sized saucepan and fry paste on medium low for 15 -20 minutes stirring frequently.

Add stock, coconut milk, curry powder, salt and sugar. Increase the heat and simmer gently for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile blanch the bean sprouts and French beans and set aside.

Cook vermicelli by steeping in hot water (about 70 degrees) for 20 minutes. Refresh in cold water and drain well.

Add beans and half the bean sprouts to heat up in the soup.

Spoon the noodles into four large bowls. Top with the tofu puffs and remaining sprouts. Pour over the hot soup.

Garnish with lime halves, coriander leaves and sliced chillies. Serve hot.

Serves four.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *