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Laksa Lemak

Laksa Lemak is a Malay coconut and noodle soup from Malacca. It’s a meal in itself; very rich and spicy and best served in deep bowls with chopsticks and a spoon to slurp up the coconut broth. This recipe also happens to be vegan, gluten free, and nut free which makes it a great option if your serving people with special dietary requirements. See how easy it is to make in our short video below (and read on for the recipe):

Laksa Lemak

Serves: 4

Prep time: 30 minutes | Cook time: 15 minutes

Dietary: Vegan, Gluten Free


Spice Paste

  • 5cm piece of galangal, peeled and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 1 red chilli, de-seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1 stalk lemon grass, finely chopped
  • 5cm piece fresh turmeric, peeled and chopped
  • ½ tsp salt

Noodle Soup

  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 2 banana shallots, finely sliced
  • 1 red pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 tin coconut milk (400ml)
  • 500ml boiling water
  • 2 lime leaves
  • 100g mange tout or baby asparagus spears
  • 2 pak choy, washed and thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • salt to taste
  • 200g dried thin flat rice noodles


  • 200g plain tofu, sliced into matchsticks
  • 100ml sunflower oil for frying the tofu
  • 4 spring onions, sliced into rings
  • 1 red chilli, finely sliced
  • handful of micro herbs such as lemon balm-alternatively use pea shoots


  1. Start by making the spice paste, blend the galangal, garlic, chilli, lemongrass and turmeric with the salt in a mini food processor to a smooth paste.
  2. Prepare the garnishes; fry the tofu matchsticks in sunflower oil until golden and crisp, drain on kitchen paper. Slice the spring onions and red chilli.
  3. To make the noodle soup, heat a large saucepan, add the sunflower oil and fry the banana shallots until soft and translucent.
  4. Add the spice paste, stir-fry until fragrant and the colour of the paste has turned a shade darker.
  5. Add the red pepper and stir-fry for a couple of minutes.
  6. Pour in the coconut milk, water and lime leaves, bring to the boil, turn down the heat and simmer gently uncovered for 5 minutes.
  7. Simmer the rice noodles in a separate pan of boiling water for 2 minutes until tender, then drain.
  8. Add the pak choy and the asparagus or mage tout to the coconut broth and simmer for a minute.
  9. Add the sugar, lime juice and salt to taste.
  10. Divide the cooked rice noodles into 4 deep Chinese bowls. Ladle the laksa broth over the noodles. Top with the fried tofu, spring onions, sliced chillies and finish with a few micro herbs for garnish.

Delicious food photography by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

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