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Chicken Laksa

Photo: Annabelle Breakey; Styling: Karen Shinto
Total time 1 hr
Yield Serves 4 to 6
This spicy Chicken Laksa is a Malaysian soup that may have a long list of ingredients, but it's super easy. Malaysian kitchens weave Chinese, Indian, and Malay culinary strands into a complex cuisine.


  • 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 4 cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 5 to 8 dried arbol chiles, stemmed
  • 2 lemongrass stalks
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 pound boned, skinned chicken thighs, cubed
  • 1 teaspoon shrimp paste*
  • 3 large shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 can (13.5 oz.) coconut milk
  • 1 qt. reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 3 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 6 ounces mung bean sprouts, rinsed
  • 8 ounces wide rice noodles
  • 1/3 cup fresh mint leaves, torn
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves, torn
  • Lime wedges
  • Sambal oelek chili paste*

Nutrition Information

  • calories 494
  • caloriesfromfat 46 %
  • protein 27 g
  • fat 25 g
  • satfat 14 g
  • carbohydrate 39 g
  • fiber 2.7 g
  • sodium 1455 mg
  • cholesterol 81 mg

How to Make It

  1. Grind coriander, peppercorns, cumin, fennel, cloves, turmeric, and chiles coarsely in a spice grinder. Peel tough outer layers from lemongrass, then mash core with a meat mallet or small, heavy frying pan.

  2. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add chicken, shrimp paste, shallots, and reserved spices and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 2 minutes.

  3. Pour in coconut milk, broth, sugar, and salt; add cinnamon and lemongrass. Bring to a boil, then simmer, covered, 20 minutes.

  4. Boil bean sprouts in a large pot of boiling water until softened, 2 minutes. Transfer sprouts to a bowl. Add noodles to pot and cook until firm, 4 minutes. Drain; rinse well.

  5. Divide sprouts and noodles among 6 bowls. Ladle in soup (remove cinnamon and lemongrass) and top with mint and cilantro. Serve with limes and sambal.

  6. *Find in the Asian aisle of a well-stocked grocery store or at an Asian market.

  7. Note: Nutritional analysis is per 1 1/2-cup serving.