Got a Thai food craving? Why not try this super delicious Thai Seafood Laksa. A great way to get a fabulous Thai meal on the table quickly, using only one pan and ready in less than 30 minutes. If you like Thai food like I do then you will LOVE this!
This Seafood Laksa is heaven in a bowl.
A slurpy, splash-orange-coloured-sauce-down-your-white-top-in-enthusiastic-eagerness kind of soup, that makes you look at your husband’s bowl to see if he has any left that you could steal.
That’s how good this soup is. It’s also on the table in less than half an hour.
I first had laksa soup in a Thai restaurant, and I adored all the flavours and textures. I may have mentioned before that Thai is my favourite kind of food, and seafood laksa is such a great way to get a fabulous meal on the table quickly, using only one pan.
The paste ingredients are cooked in a pan, then whizzed up with a stick blender:
From my research, it seems that most laksa curry/soup recipes, whether from Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand or Indonesia, have the same basis of noodles, with seafood or chicken in a spicy coconut sauce. There’s also a variation called Asam Laksa, that doesn’t use coconut milk, but it uses fish paste and tamarind for a more sour, rather than creamy taste.
Believed to have originated as a combination of Chinese noodle soup (brought over by early Chinese migrants settling in Malacca, Malaysia) and local spices and coconut milk, it falls firmly under the label of Peranakan cuisine.
My version came about when I was pondering what to do with leftover haddock (I’d defrosted too much after making fish burgers and matchstick fries the previous night) and some prawns that I’d forgotten to put back in the freezer.
It was going to be some kind of fish stew, but then the Thai craving struck and I was unable to resist.
I’ve made my own laksa paste for this recipe. Most store-bought versions are a good alternative, but it’s super quick to make your own paste, without fussing about with a pestle and mortar or a food processor. I like to cook my paste ingredients before blending them into a paste using a hand blender – right in the pan. You do have to be careful it doesn’t splash, so you can leave the sauce ingredients to cool a little before blending.
I find that cooking the paste ingredients first gives the whole dish a deeper level of flavour.
I don’t like seafood, how do I make Chicken Laksa instead?
Yes, you can simply replace the haddock and prawns with cooked shredded chicken. Alternatively, you can add pieces of raw chicken in with the blended paste and cook until the chicken is sealed. Add the coconut milk and stock and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, then continue on with the rest of the recipe steps.
Can I freeze Laksa?
The noodles, seafood and beansprouts won’t freeze very well. If you want to get ahead, I’d suggest making the paste, and freezing it in portions. Then you can defrost and continue with the recipe from step 4 (make the garnish on the day of serving too).
Can I make low fat Laksa?
You could use low fat coconut milk, although being lower fat, it has more of a tendency to split. To counter this, I’d suggest leaving out the coconut milk until the end of cooking, then add the low-fat coconut milk to the laksa and heat through until hot. Don’t let it boil or it will split.
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The Seafood Laksa Recipe:
Laksa Paste (note 1)
- 1 regular onion peeled and chopped
- 4 medium red chillies chopped - I use fresno chillie. Use Thai chillies if you like it really hot
- 1 x 2cm piece of ginger peeled and chopped finely (or replace with 2 tsp ginger paste)
- 2 cloves garlic peeled and chopped finely
- 1 lemongrass stalk outer leaves discarded, inner part chopped finely (you can replace this with a tsp of lemongrass paste)
- 1 heaped tbsp of fresh coriander stalks you can use the leaves for garnish later
- 1.5 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp tamarind paste
- ½ tsp cumin
- ½ tsp paprika
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 200 g rice/vermicelli noodles (or 300g-400g of ready cooked vermicelli)
- 2 cod or haddock fillets (weighing approx 140g/5oz each) or any firm fleshed white fish, skin removed
- 12-16 king prawns peeled and deveined
- 200 g beansprouts (mung bean sprouts)
- 1 tsp fish sauce
- 200 ml full fat coconut milk
- 200 ml chicken/seafood/veg stock use bouillon for gluten free
- 1 tsp rice wine vinegar
- 1 tsp caster sugar
- 1 red chilli chopped finely
- 1 finger sized piece of cucumber chopped finely
- ¼ of a small red onion peeled and chopped finely
- Small handful of chopped coriander
- Start by soaking your vermicelli in a large bowl of boiling water for about 8-10 minutes until cooked. Drain, and then rinse through with cold water to prevent it from sticking together.
- Next make your garnish by mixing the vinegar and sugar together until the sugar dissolves, then mixing in the chilli, cucumber and red onion. Put to one side.
- Whilst your noodles are soaking, make your Laksa paste. Heat the oil in a medium-to-large pan, and add the chopped onions. Cook on medium for about 5 minutes until the onions soften and start to turn translucent. Add in the rest of the Laksa paste ingredients, stir and continue to cook for 6-7 minutes, stirring every now and then. Then carefully use a stick blender to blend the ingredients into a paste. You could also use a mini chopper to do this.
- Add the coconut milk and stock to the paste and gently heat through. Then add in your fish, stir, and allow to cook for 2-4 minutes until the fish is starting to fall apart. Add in your prawns, stir, and cook for an extra one minute. The prawns should be starting to turn pink, and your fish should be cooked. Finally add in the beansprouts and cook for another minute.
- Whilst your fish and beansprouts are cooking, divide your noodles between the bowls. Scoop the fish, prawns and beansprouts out of the soup, and spoon them over the noodles. Then gently pour or spoon the sauce over and around the noodles.
- Garnish with a sprinkle of coriander and a teaspoon of the chilli/red onion/cucumber mix.
How to I make Chicken Laksa instead?Yes, you can simply replace the haddock and prawns with cooked shredded chicken. Alternatively, you can add pieces of raw chicken in with the blended paste and cook until the chicken is sealed. Add the coconut milk and stock and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, then continue on with the rest of the recipe steps.
Can I freeze Laksa?The noodles, seafood and beansprouts won't freeze very well. If you want to get ahead, I'd suggest making the paste, and freezing it in portions. Then you can defrost and continue with the recipe from step 4 (make the garnish on the day of serving too).
Can I make low fat Laksa?You could use low fat coconut milk, although being lower fat, it has more of a tendency to split. To counter this, I'd suggest leaving out the coconut milk until the end of cooking, then add the low-fat coconut milk to the laksa and heat through until hot. Don't let it boil or it will split.
Can I make ahead for lunch the next day?If you want to prepare this for lunch to take to work the next day, then make the soup up to the point just before you add the beansprouts, cool and refrigerate. Then just reheat the sauce for a couple of minutes in a pan or the microwave, throw in the beansprouts for a final minute and pour over your pre-cooked noodles. Nutritional information is per serving.
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This recipe was first published in 2014 (check out the old picture below!). Newly updated with photos, tips and video in March 2018.