To make laksa paste

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Feeds


Appears in

Old Food

Old Food

By Jill Dupleix

Published 1998

  • About

The best laksa pastes are made in a big, heavy mortar, and are pounded with a pestle, a strong arm and about fifteen minutes to spare. Failing that, bung it all in the food processor.


  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 stalks lemon grass, white part only
  • 4 dried chillies, soaked in water
  • 6 candlenuts or macadamia nuts
  • 1 tbsp belacan (dried shrimp paste)
  • 6 laksa or Asian mint leaves
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt


Pound or blend the onion, ginger and garlic together. Roughly chop lemon grass. Drain chillies, squeeze dry and finely chop. Add lemon grass, chillies, nuts, belacan, laksa leaves, coriander, paprika, turmeric, cumin, sugar and salt and continue pounding for up to 15 minutes until you have a mushy paste. To turn the curry paste into a curry, fry it in a little oil until fragrant, gradually add some chicken stock and bring to the boil, then reduce heat and add some coconut milk. Gently poach whatever you want - chicken, fish, noodles, prawns - until cooked, and serve. See Vegetables with wing beans.