The iconic street food, Laksa, is putting a new twist on the comforting bowl of noodle soup.
Laksa is a steaming hot complex flavoured broth that combines Malaysian seasoning and Chinese Noodles. This fusion dish has some serious global street cred but Singapore is one of the best places to taste this authentic noodle soup. It’s typically made with a coconut milk or tamarind base and amped up with chilli paste and aromatic herbs and spices.
There are two distinct types of Laksa. Assem Laksa, which is made with a sour, fish and tamarind based broth also called Penang Laksa. The other is Curry Laksa, which is a rich coconut-based curry soup and is also known as Singapore Laksa or Laksa Lemak (Lemak means fatty).
Restaurateurs around the globe are throwing out the rules when it comes to traditional Laksa flavours and reaching for more interesting flavour combinations. Think lobster flavoured broth, dried shrimps and even creating delicious vegan-friendly versions.
Top that laksa!
Laksa knows so many different regional interpretations with toppings varying from shredded pineapple to fish floss. There are no boundaries. Here are some topping ideas to get you inspired. From traditional to more creative suggestions:
Crispy fried shallots
For an umami-rich crunch
Fried tofu puffs
Crunchy from the outside, soft and cloud-like inside
Tiny baked egg plants stuffed with fish paste
The neutral taste of the egg plants gets a kick from the fish paste
Raw or fried mushrooms
Raw they give a fresh light touch, fried they have an interesting crunch
Little fried fishes (like anchovies or baby squid)
Fry them yourself or use store bought, these are usually fried with sambal and are very rich in flavour
Strips of ginger-pickled cucumber
For a fresh and clean taste
Fried chicken skin
The fatty skin is a good complement to a lean and green vegetable Laksa
Perfect in a pork Laksa
Grinded toasted nuts or rice
For crunch and a nutty taste
For a crispy, spicy touch
Fresh herbs like cilantro, mint and laksa leaves
These add freshness to balance the strong and spicy broth
Sambal, chilli jam or fresh chillies
Indispensable in any Laksa and adds a nice kick
Soft boiled eggs
Creates a rich and creamy texture
Discover different ways to make comforting noodle soup that is lean, green and light.
Lighten up your laksa
Create a healthier, nutritious and lighter version of the traditional comforting bowl of noodle soup.
Roughly speaking, there are two types of Laksa, one with a sour broth (Assem Laksa) and a creamy one with coconut milk (Curry Laksa). For a lighter version, stick to the Assem Laksa. Add variation like a sprinkle of toasted coconut. This gives a coconut taste without the heaviness of the cream. The coconut milk can be substituted by almond or cashew milk.
Use a spice paste with less salt. Also swap salt for texture and ingredients like sautéed mushrooms, dried strips of tamarind, toasted and grinded nuts, or dried fish skins.
Attract the growing number of vegan customers with a plant based Laksa that is fully packed with spices and flavour. Try Laksa with roasted pumpkin or sweet potato, fried tofu puffs, crispy snow peas and spicy sprouts and pickled mango.
Many of the noodles used for Laksa are gluten free (like rice noodles or noodles made from pulse flours). But sometimes you want an extra bite. Whole wheat noodles are a healthy option.
Green and lean
Make a chicken broth based Laksa. Fill the bowl with strips of lean boiled chicken and loads of steamed greens such as broccoli, mangetout, beansprouts, pak choi and bok choy.
Spice up your kitchen with these exotic pairings.
Except the unexpected with these Laksa pairings
Tamarind and mackerel
The deep and sour taste of tamarind is the perfect addition to a fatty fish like mackerel – this creates the classic Penang Laksa.
Coconut and bitter-sweet kalamansi lime
Sweet and creamy coconut works well with the fragrant, fresh and slightly bitter kalamansi lime base for a curry Laksa.
Chicken and lemongrass
Aromatic and elegant lemongrass complements the subtle taste of chicken.
Laksa leaves and shrimp paste
Laksa leaves (also referred to as Vietnamese coriander) are fresh and slightly pungent and these contrast well with shrimp paste. Both are used as a topping in Penang Laksa.
Pumpkin and lime leaves
For a vegetarian Laksa, bring together sweet pumpkin with lime leaves to create a fresh citrus flavour.
Pork and grilled pineapple
The sweet yet subtle taste of pork works well with sour grilled pineapple. The taste cuts through the fat of the meat.
Scallops and sweet basil
Combining soft and delicate scallops with a fresh hint of sweet basil creates an elegant and subtle Laksa.
Beef and peanuts
The peanuts give the beef meat a more rounded flavour and combined they create a great Thai inspired Laksa.