Simple Chicken Laksa

laksa-2 laksa

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Simple Chicken Laksa

Laksa is a Malaysian noodle soup that’s so flavoursome it’s hard to resist. I included a minimalist laksa recipe in my first free eCookbook which got plenty of compliments. But I also had a lot of people contacting me to say they couldn’t find any commercial laksa pastes in their area. So I’ve included a recipe below.

serves 2
takes: 10 minutes

1 – 2 chicken breasts, very finely sliced
1 quantity laksa paste (recipe below)
1 can coconut cream (400g / 14oz)
220g (8oz) fresh laksa noodles or singapore noodles
small bunch basil leaves, to serve

1. Heat a few tablespoons peanut oil (or other neutral flavoured oil) in a large saucepan over a very high heat.

2. Add chicken and stir fry quickly for 1 -2 minutes or until chicken is white and no longer pink. Remove from the pan and place in a clean bowl.

3. Add a little more oil to the pan and add laksa paste. Stir fry for a few minutes until it smells lovely and fragrant.

4. Add coconut cream and 2 cups water. Bring to a simmer.

5. Add noodles and bring back to a simmer, stirring to break up the noodles.

6. Return chicken to the pan. Taste and season with salt and possibly a pinch or two of sugar.

7. Serve with basil leaves on top.

5-ingredient Laksa Paste

If you have access to good commercial laksa paste, go ahead and use it! You’ll probably need 3 – 4 tablespoons in the recipe above.

This is for people who can’t find laksa paste or people who prefer to make everything from scratch.

If you dont have a food processor, just chop everything as finely as possible or grate the onion and ginger and roll with a chunkier soup.

takes: 5 minutes
1 onion, peeled & chopped
1 thumb-sized piece ginger, chopped
1 tablespoon turmeric
2 teaspoons chilli flakes (1 teaspoon chilli powder)
1 lime, zest and juice

1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and whizz until you have a smooth paste.

Quantities for Different Serving Sizes:

You can easily double or triple this recipe. The cooking time will be about the same, maybe slightly longer.

Prepare Ahead?

The laksa paste can be made in advance and stored in the fridge for a week or so or in the freezer for longer.
It’s best if the basil is added at the last minute but the soup can be made in advance and reheated. The noodles can keep soaking up liquid so be prepared for that. You might like to add the noodles just before serving.


vegan / vegetarian – replace the chicken with cubes of tofu, cooked legumes and/or mixed vegetables, either frozen or fresh. Add the veg with the coconut milk and water and simmer for a few minutes until cooked. Red peppers (capsicum) are lovely as are green beans, carrots, bean sprouts, zucchini (courgettes). Cauliflower would have to be my favourite veg in laksa because it soaks up all the lovely sauce and tastes wonderful.

gluten-free – replace the wheat noodles with rice noodles or mung bean noodles or even gluten-free spaghetti. Some traditional Laksas contain a mix of both yellow wheat noodles and white rice vermicelli.

carb lovers / more substantial – add extra noodles.

paleo (gluten, grain + dairy-free)
– replace noodles with shaved carrot or zucchini ‘noodles’.

more veg – add shaved carrot or zucchini or peppers.

low carb – use spirazlied zucchini noodles.

Waste Avoidance Strategy

chicken breasts – freeze them.

onion – will keep in the pantry for months. Best if in a dark corner in a brown paper bag.

ginger – in the fridge wrapped in a plastic bag. I also tend to keep it in the freezer in a ziplock bag.

– in the fridge wrapped in a plastic bag.

coconut cream / noodles / turmeric / chilli flakes – keep them in the pantry.

basil – store in a plastic bag in the fridge for 1-2 days. For longer storage wash and spin dry the leaves in a salad spinner then wrap loosely in paper towel and place inside plastic bag. Push out most of the air and seal. Store in the fridge. For long term make pesto or basil oil.

Problem Solving Guide

too bland – season more generously with salt or fish sauce. Or add a dash of chilli powder or chilli flakes. If you’ve used a commercial paste, add more or try another brand next time.

don’t have any noodles– no problem. Cook some spaghetti or bucatini until not quite done then drain and add as above. Or do the same with dried wheat noodles.

no fresh ginger?
– substitute a tablespoon dried ground ginger.

no turmeric? – substitute in curry powder (preferably one that has turmeric high up on the ingredients list) or use ground cumin – the colour won’t be as yellow but it will still taste heavenly.

too hot?
– be careful with the chilli! For now you can dilute it with more coconut milk or just serve with some cooling cucumber or yoghurt.

Serving Suggestions

A meal on its own.

Leftover Potential:

Will keep in the fridge for at least a week or more but best when served fresh with the fresh basil and noodles.

Related Links:

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