Photo: Annabelle Breakey; Styling: Karen Shinto
Total Time
1 Hour
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.

How to Make It

Step 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.

Step 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.

Step 3

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

Step 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.

Step 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.

Step 6

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

Step 7

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

Ratings & Reviews

Close enough

October 29, 2016
Lived in Indonesia and Malaysia for a year. Wanted the dish we remember. I had to improvise. Used Thai coconut ginger soup base for lemongrass, used ham broth seasoning for shrimp paste, skipped Sambal. Added mushrooms and shrimp. Was very much what I remember from my time there. I thought the amount of spices was overboard but it was wonderful. I just used the ground stuff from my cabinet.Will cook soon for company.

KillerTerry's Review

May 12, 2014
I made this for the first time this evening for my fiance who loves Asian and spicy food. I added all of the arbol chilis called for in the recipe, but I did not seed them - spicy indeed! I've never had Malaysian food before, but I think the flavors are reminiscent of Thai food due to mixture of coconut milk and spices. On a whim, I added enoki mushrooms. I simply added them to the bowl with the noodles and sprouts before ladling in the broth. Delicious!

jenwestdesign's Review

September 10, 2012

lingalea's Review

December 30, 2011
Easy, delightfully spicy and satisfying. However, I never could locate the shrimp paste.

gosunset's Review

February 04, 2011
This recipe is pretty close to what I had in Singapore & Malaysia. It's one perfect meal for a cold night.