Curry Noodles in Coconut Broth

Laksa Lemak “Curry laksa”


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes

    4 to 6

    bowls as a one-dish meal

Appears in

Flavored with a classic Malaysian combination of lemongrass, galangal, chilies, candlenuts, shallots, garlic and turmeric, this dish gets its name from the word, “lemak,” which indicates that that the dish is “rich,” due to coconut milk. Fresh turmeric, a brilliant yellow rhizome that defines the color of the broth, is becoming more and more available in the US.


  • ½ cup (½ oz. / 14 g.) Dried red chilies, stems and seeds removed
  • 2 tsp. Dried shrimp
  • ½ cup Vegetable oil
  • 6 small Shallots, roughly chopped
  • 3 cloves Garlic, roughly chopped
  • 3 stalks Lemongrass, trimmed and sliced thinly, about ⅛ inch (0.3 cm.) thick
  • 1 Tbsp. Finely grated galangal
  • 4 Candlenuts or macadamia nuts or blanched almonds
  • ¼ tsp. Ground turmeric
  • tsp. Coriander seeds
  • ¼ tsp. Ground white pepper
  • 1 qt. (1 L.) Light seafood or chicken broth
  • 2 cans (14 oz. / 413 ml. each) Coconut milk
  • 1 Tbsp. Granulated sugar
  • tsp. Kosher salt
  • 1 lb. (454 g.) Cooked egg noodles, ⅛ inch (0.3 cm.) thick (mee)
  • ¾ lb. (340 g.) Small shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • ¾ lb. (340 g.) Cooked fish balls or sliced fish cake
  • 1 pkg (4 oz. / 113 g.) Deep fried bean curd puffs, halved
  • 2 cups Bean sprouts, trimmed and blanched
  • 1 cup Cucumber, Kirby variety preferred, bite size julienne strips, about ⅛ inch (0.3 cm.) thick
  • ¼ cup Laksa Leaves or Mint leaves, thinly sliced, about ⅛ inch (0.3 cm.) wide
  • 2 to 3 medium Limes, cut into wedges
  • ¼ cup Malaysian chili sauce (Sambal Belacan) or store bought chili paste


  1. Make the spice paste (rempah): Soak chilies and dried shrimp in ½ cup room temperature water for 30 minutes; drain, and squeeze out excess moisture. In blender, combine oil, shallots, and garlic; puree on lowest speed until semi-smooth. Add lemongrass, galangal, candlenuts, turmeric, coriander, white pepper, drained chilies, and shrimp. Puree again until the paste is semi-smooth.
  2. Make the broth: Heat a 4 quart (4 L.) saucepan over medium-low heat. Add pureed chili paste, and fry over low heat until it is fragrant, and oil begins to separate from puree, 10 to 15 minutes. It should lose any raw aroma, and the raw flavor of the shallots also softens. Add stock; simmer 30 minutes. Add coconut milk and sugar; taste and season with salt as necessary. Bring back to a simmer.
  3. Assemble the soup: Add fish balls and fried bean curd to broth; heat through. Reheat noodles in boiling water, drain well and divide among 6 bowls. Pour in the broth, and arrange the hot solid ingredients atop the noodles, topping each bowl with bean sprouts, cucumber and laksa leaves or mint. Serve with lime wedges and chili sambal.