Photo: Annabelle Breakey; Styling: Karen Shinto Photo by: Photo: Annabelle Breakey; Styling: Karen Shinto

Chicken Laksa

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.

Sunset JANUARY 2011

  • Yield: Serves 4 to 6
  • Total: 1 Hour


  • 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*


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.

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

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

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving
  • Calories: 494
  • Calories from fat: 46%
  • Protein: 27g
  • Fat: 25g
  • Saturated fat: 14g
  • Carbohydrate: 39g
  • Fiber: 2.7g
  • Sodium: 1455mg
  • Cholesterol: 81mg

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Chicken Laksa Recipe