Thai Prawn Laksa (泰式叻沙)

Sharing below is a recipe taken from my collection (source: Singapore Women’s Weekly magazine, July 2007).

Prep: 30 min   Cook: 20 min   Serves: 4 – 6


  1. 8 shallots, chopped
  2. 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  3. 2 cm knob galangal, chopped
  4. 2 coriander roots, chopped
  5. 6 – 8 dried chillies, soaked in warm water for 15 min, seeded and squeezed dry
  6. ¼ cup oil (just use any vegetable oil)
  7. 3 cup water
  8. 600g prawns, shelled and deveined (shells reserved)
  9. 3 cup coconut cream
  10. 10 tbsp fish sauce
  11. 4 tbsp palm sugar, chopped
  12. 4 tbsp tamarind juice
  13. salt to taste
  14. 600g rice vermicelli or bee hoon, blanched in hot water for 5 mins, drained and arranged into small coils
  15. Garnishes:
    • ½ cup shredded cabbage, lightly blanched, if preferred
    • ½ cup diced long beans
    • 6 quail eggs, hardboiled and shelled
    • 1 cucumber, diced
    • 6 lime wedges
    • sweet basil leaves


  1. To make laksa broth, grind or blend 8 shallots, 6 cloves garlic, 2 cm knob galangal, 2 coriander roots, 6 – 8 dried chillies and ¼ cup oil into a fine paste. Set aside.
  2. In a pot, bring water to a gentle boil over medium-high heat. Add prawn shells. When shells turn pink, press shells with a ladle to extract flavour, then use a sieve to remove shells and discard.
  3. Cook fresh prawns in the stock. Remove and set aside.
  4. Stir-fry spice paste in a pan, with 3 cup coconut cream over medium heat till oil separates, about 3 – 5 min.
  5. Ladle in prawn stock and stir gently to mix well. Let the broth simmer for about 5 min, but do not let it boil vigorously.
  6. Season with fish sauce, palm sugar, tamarind juice and salt. Adjust to taste.
  7. Arrange coils of rice vermicelli on a large platter with vegetable garnishes, prawns and quail eggs in separate bowls.
  8. Place small pots of laksa broth on the side. Let the guests prepare their own dish and watch them have fun creating their own concoctions.


  1. To blanch vegetables, dip them in boiling water for 2 min, then in cold water to retain their crunchiness.