Curry Laksa

4.33 stars

An authentic curry laksa recipe from Malaysia and Singapore, 'laksa lemak' is a typical Nyonya or Peranakan curry noodles dish. The amazing broth of this curry laksa or a.k.a curry mee is a combination of a special chilli paste and rich coconut milk.

Preparation 20 mins
Cooking 90 mins


Malaysian Curry Noodles with Coconut Milk, Laksa Lemak, Nyonya Laksa, Malaysian curry noodles

Malaysian, Singaporean, Thai, Indonesian

Nyonya Cooking on Facebook
Nyonya Cooking on Pinterest
Nyonya Cooking on Twitter

Nutrition per Serving

325 kcal
23 g
17 g
23 g

Curry laksa is perhaps the most requested recipe on Nyonya Cooking. Thus, I created this special tantalizing curry noodles with a mixture of spices befitting the dish.

Cooking curry laksa begins with the preparation of the broth followed by the laksa paste. These are the most important components to making a good bowl of curry laksa.

How do I make laksa paste?

You can always prepare a big portion of the laksa paste and freeze it for later use. It would come in handy whenever you feel the urge to have some curry noodles.

How to store laksa paste?

Laksa paste can be stored after stir-frying it in oil. Refrigerate it for up to 5 days or freeze it for up to 6 months.

Is curry laksa dairy free?

Coconut milk is used in the preparation of curry mee or curry laksa. This is very common in many Southeast Asian dishes where coconut milk is added for flavouring or to reduce the spiciness of the dish, therefore making most dishes dairy free.

Substitute for laksa paste ingredients

Laksa paste is made out of several ingredients such as dried chillies, turmeric, garlic, shallots and lemon grass. Just like in most Peranakan curries, candlenuts are included. For natural umami flavours, dried shrimps and shrimp paste are added. Substitute the ingredients accordingly with dried or frozen options. Visit our ingredient directory to learn more.

Most of the ingredients can be widely found at the Asian grocer. However, it might be difficult to get the Vietnamese coriander (also known as Vietnamese cilantro, Vietnamese mint and Cambodian mint). If you are unable to find it, just omit it. I read that it could be substituted with an equal amount of mint and cilantro but that would not work for this dish.

Improve flavours of broth

Although it is recommended to boil the broth for 30 minutes using chicken bones and prawn skins, the flavours will be enhanced if the broth is boiled for 2 hours or more. To do so, double the amount of water and allow it to simmer. Then, let the broth sit for another 4 hours for the flavours to develop. It is worth the wait if you want to indulge in a bowl of delicious laksa.

Chicken curry laksa

The best curry laksa broth uses both chicken bones and prawn shells as a base. As a result, it has a subtle sweetness. If you do not want to use prawns, feel free to use only chicken bones. Either way, the broth will still be really flavourful and delicious when infused with the spices.

Vegetarian curry laksa

To prepare vegetarian curry laksa, use vegetable broth instead of chicken and prawn broth. A vegetable broth can be made out of onions, carrots, celery, shiitake mushroom and radish. Lightly roast the vegetables before boiling them. Adding kelp helps to provide the missing ‘seafood flavour’ in vegetarian curry laksa. The broth needs to be boiled for at least 2 hours for best flavours. As for dried prawns and shrimp paste, omit them from the list of ingredients.

No doubt, the preparations may seem complicated but you would be encouraged with the result. Trust me, you would love to have this captivating dish over and over again. If you have not tried curry laksa noodles before, you are missing out.


chicken drumstick(s)
2 l
Vietnamese coriander/daun kesum
400 g
tofu puffs
fish balls
3 tbsp
20 g
shrimps (dried)
chilli peppers (fresh)
15 g
15 g
turmeric powder
garlic clove(s)
20 g
shrimp paste (dried)
lemongrass stalk(s)
chilli peppers (dried)
100 ml
coconut milk
2 tbsp
chilli boh
15 ml
1⁄2 tsp

Steps to Prepare

Curry Laksa Step 1

Step 1 of 7

    • 4 chicken drumstick(s)
    • 1 l water

Prepare the stock by adding drumstick bones and water into a pot and bring to boil. Once it boils, lower heat and allow to simmer for at least 30 minutes. After that, use a spoon to remove any impurities.

Curry Laksa Step 2

Step 2 of 7

    • 1 l water
    • 1 Vietnamese coriander/daun kesum
    • 400 g prawns

Heat oil in another pot and stir-fry prawns skin/heads (without meat) until cooked. Add rest of the water into the pot together with the Vietnamese coriander. Bring to boil. Lower heat and let it simmer for 30 minutes.

Curry Laksa Step 3

Step 3 of 7

    • tofu puffs
    • fish balls

In another pot of boiling water, blanch prawns (meat), tofu puffs, fish balls and noodles. Set aside

Curry Laksa Step 4

Step 4 of 7

Toast shrimp paste on a dry pan. Then, blend toasted shrimp paste with dried shrimps, dried chillies, fresh chillies, galangal, candlenuts, turmeric powder, garlic, shallots and lemongrass until smooth. Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a pot at medium heat. Sauté blended ingredients until fragrant.

Curry Laksa Step 5

Step 5 of 7

    • salt
    • 100 ml coconut milk

Pour drumstick bones and prawn broths into the pot with the sautéed blended ingredients. Mix well. Add salt to taste. Allow broth to boil at medium to high heat for 10-15 minutes. Add coconut milk. When broth begins to boil, add tofu puffs and fish balls. Bring to boil again. Turn off the stove.

Curry Laksa Step 6

Step 6 of 7

On a dry pan, toast shrimp paste until fragrant. Then, remove shrimp paste to sauté chilli boh with 1.5 tablespoon of oil at medium heat until oil separates. Add 0.5 tablespoon of water, toasted shrimp paste and sugar to taste. This is the sambal to serve Curry Laksa with.

Curry Laksa Step 7

Step 7 of 7

Serve by placing noodles into a bowl. Add broth and garnish with prawns, tofu puffs, fish balls, Vietnamese coriander, sambal and hard-boiled egg.

Published: September 21, 2014

9 Discussions

6 months ago

zaharah ibrahim

I got a 'Crazy Delicious' from my fussy boy on my first attempt. All around the table were quite happy too. Thank you for the recipe and easy to follow instructions.

6 months ago

Mira - Community Happiness Manager

This feedback is simply so dear!! Thank you for taking the time to share with us. If you have a photo, you can upload it to your Nyonya Cooking profile too.

6 months ago


Thank you for the delicious recipe. I live in UK and I have not used shrimp paste ever in my life. what brands would you recommend?

6 months ago


No particular brand. This might help, a guide to the type of shrimp paste (in block) that we use:

6 months ago

Helena Cheah


9 months ago

Godwin Lee

You're missing a couple of ingredients there. I guess that's our little nyonya secret. Even my wife doesn't know the true recipe :)

9 months ago

Mira - Community Happiness Manager

We share everything we know. Unless, you have a secret recipe to share...? Share with us on your profile! ;)

a year ago

Angeline Toh

Hi! Do we need to boil the chicken bones and prawns shells separately? can we do that in 1 pot?

a year ago

Mira - Community Happiness Manager

Yes, sounds possible. Why not?! Upload a food snap once you're done!

a year ago

Angeline Toh

Hi ! Do we need to boil the chicken and prawn broth separately? Can we do it in the same pot?

a year ago

Audrey Lim

Hi Grace, I love all of your recipes. Looks good. The broth is it a must to use 2 types of broth?

a year ago

Mira - Community Happiness Manager

Not a must but it is highly recommended!

a year ago


Hi Grace, the recipe looks great, can't wait to try it. A couple of questions; Step 4, the ingredients say fresh chilli, but the method says dried chilli. Which is best to use? Is it dried long chilli that we soak in hot water? Seeds in or out? Step 6, what happens with this? There's no mention of what to do with it once done. Also, what is chilli boh? Is step 6 the chilli oil garnish floating on top of the soup? Thanks again, i am dying to learn to make this like my favourite restaurant does.

a year ago

Mira - Community Happiness Manager

Apologies for not being clear enough. It uses both fresh and dried chillies. We always recommend soaking dried chillies. Learn more here: Step 6 is the sambal (condiment) which is served with the dish. Chilli boh recipe can be found here: The oil that floats on the soup is from Step 2 and 4. Can't wait to hear the outcome. Send us a food snap okay!

a year ago


Fantastic, thanks for the details! I'll definitely post a foos pic. Last question - what noodles go in Laksa? Thanks!

a year ago


Egg noodles or spaghetti, flat rice noodles or vermicelli. Good luck!

a year ago


Thanks Grace!

a year ago

Mary Zacharia

Hello, I love you recipes. I just wanted to the list of ingredients it says 800g of prawns, however in step 3 its says 400g of prawns.

a year ago

Mira - Community Happiness Manager

Apologies for the inconsistency. You'll only need 400g of prawns here (including head and shell).

Give us your opinion! Log in and start posting.