Laksa - Malaysian-Style Curry Noodles (Gwaytiow Kaek)

Malaysian Curry Noodle Soup with Seafood


This Nonya version of laksa comes from Malacca in southern Malaysia. In this recipe, both yellow egg noodles and rice noodles are combined and served in a thick coconut milk soup, seasoned with freshly ground spices and shrimp paste.

Shellfish, shrimp and shredded chicken are all added for the ultimate dish (but you can use just one or two of these). Traditionally fresh herbs and vegetables garnish the dish including blanched bean sprouts, polygonum (daun kesum in Malay) and wild ginger buds, which are impossible to find in the West. Freshly made chili oil (recipe below) finishes the dish if desired.


Spice Paste


  • Chili garlic oil, see recipe below (or prepared nam prik pao)
  • 1/2 lb. fresh bean sprouts, blanched
  • Fresh sliced seasonal vegetables e.g. cucumber, green beans and fresh herbs like mint, polygonum and lime quaters


  1. First prepare the seafood, shrimp and chicken, set aside. Prepare shrimp stock by boiling the shrimp shells in water to cover for about 10 minutes, strain and set aside. Quickly blanch in boiling water the two types of noodles, set aside. Blanch bean sprouts for topping and reserve.
  2. Grind the shallots, garlic, lemongrass and dried spices in a heavy mortar and pestle or small coffee grinder until a fine paste. Add the shrimp paste last and combine into the paste.
  3. Heat 1/4 cup oil in a wok over low to medium heat and saute the ground paste mixture, until fragrant, being careful not to burn. Add half the coconut milk, salt and rock sugar. Boil slowly over low to medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Add the remaining coconut milk, stirring to combine.
  4. When the soup returns to a boil add 1 3/4 cups of the prepared shrimp stock (discard any remaining stock) and heat again until just boiling. Add the prepared clams, shrimp and chicken. If desired, stir in a teaspoon or two of chili garlic oil or prepared nam prik pao (reduce the sugar if you plan to add this). Adjust seasoning to taste. Remove from the heat.
  5. To serve, divide noodles into individual bowls and ladle hot laksa soup over to cover. Serve garnished with sliced vegetables, herbs and lime.

Serves 4.

Asian Chili Garlic Oil  

Chili Oil

  • 7 tbsp ground fresh red chili peppers
  • 5 medium cloves (25g) garlic
  • 3/4 cup cooking oil (not olive oil)

Heat oil over medium heat until almost smoking. Quickly saute the chili paste and garlic together in the oil, until the chili falls apart and the oil separates Lower the heat if needed, in order not to burn the oil. No need to strain, use the chili-garlic oil to garnish the finished laksa dish. This makes a lot of chili oil, but you will find plenty of other uses for it.

Recipe Copyright © 2013; Image Copyright © 2013 desmondlwf / 123RF Stock Photo

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