Penang Asam Laksa Recipe

Penang Asam Laksa Recipe

Penang Asam Laksa Recipe



  • 10-12 Bird’s Eye chillies
  • 4-5 sticks lemon grass – lower half, white part, cut into fine slices OR 5 tablespoons drained lemongrass from jar
  • 1 small piece turmeric, peeled and diced
  • 1 small piece galangal (lengkuas), peeled and diced
  • 2 ginger flower stalks (bunga kantan)
  • 2/3 block belecan, about 160 grams
  • 3/4 cup diced shallots (can substitute with onions)
  • 1/4 cup water


  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1.5 litres water
  • 1 bunch laksa or vietnamese mint leaves (daun kesom), washed
  • 1/3 cup dried tamarind (asam), soaked in hot water for 30 minutes and then drained
  • 4-5 tablespoons tamarind (asam) juice
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 2 large cans sardines in tomato sauce
  • 1 large pack rice vermicelli, cooked according to instructions


  • 1/2 fresh pineapple, peeled, cored, de-eyed, and cut into shreds
  • 1 large cucumber, peeled and cut into matchsticks
  • Bunch fresh mint, washed
  • 1 red onion or 2 shallots, peeled and sliced very finely
  • Few teaspoons of Hae ko, a thick, sweet Shrimp paste, to garnish (optional)


  1. Blend all ingredients for paste until finely ground and mud like.
  2. To make soup, heat up a large non stick pot and add cooking oil.
  3. Add paste and cook over a medium heat, stirring frequently, for around eight minutes so paste ‘splits’ and separates from the oil.
  4. Add 1.5 litres water, laksa leaves, dried tamarind, tamarind juice, sugar and soy sauce and bring to the boil.
  5. Taste and adjust seasoning if you like, adding more tamarind juice for a more sour taste, more sugar for a sweeter taste and/or more light soy sauce for a saltier taste.
  6. Add sardines in tomato sauce, break the fish up gently with a ladle and simmer for a further 15-20 minutes.
  7. To serve, use chopsticks to put rice noodles in a bowl and spoon over steaming hot soup and fish.
  8. Garnish with pineapple, cucumber, mint and shallots.
  9. Add a spoonful of hae ko if you like for a stronger shrimp flavour.


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