Thai Laksa

I know that the recipe seems very, very complicated. It actually is not, as long as you have some spare time to prepare it which is why I never attempt to make these kind of recipes mid week, I prefer weekends when I have more time and then I really enjoy it. If I am stressed I don't enjoy making food which requires me to think too much (that usually results in broken and spilled things on my kitchen floor.....usually by accident, not out of frustration!).

I usually break this recipe down into two parts and often prepare it over 2 days. I start with making the paste on a Friday evening and making the rest on the Saturday, long before dinner time. The world Laksa actually means "ten thousand", reflecting all the different ingredients you can add to this wonderful soup base. If you are vegan you will have to omit the fish sauce and shrimp paste, perhaps using tamari sauce instead. If you like chicken, you can add some cooked chicken in the soup or even fish if you have some leftovers. Just make sure you use only free range chicken. This soup is perfect if you are lactose- and/or gluten intolerant because there are no milk ingredients and I use rice noodles although you can use other if you are ok with using gluten. Note that you might be able to buy Thai Laksa Paste, just make sure it is organic and doesn't include gluten or milk ingredients if you are intolerant to these food items.

Note that tamarind paste and tamari sauce are two very different ingredients. You might be able to source the tamarind paste (and shrimp paste) from a supermarket specializing in Asian food ingredients or in a large supermarket with a well stocked Asian section. Tamari sauce you will find in your local health food store (or larger supermarkets).

Note also that you will need a food processor (or a hand blender) to make this recipe.

A lovely and fragrant soup with lots of flavours

This recipe is:

  • Egg free
  • Gluten free
  • Lactose (dairy) free
  • Nut free

Thai Laksa

Serves 5-6



  • 3 stems lemon grass, chopped quite finely
  • 4 chilli peppers (red), chopped coarsely
  • 3 scallions, chopped coarsely
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped finely
  • A small piece fresh ginger (similar to a large grape in size), chopped finely
  • Handful fresh coriander leaves
  • 100 millilitres (3½ fluid oz) tamarind paste
  • 3 tablespoons agave nectar or raw cane sugar
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon dried shrimp paste (if not available use 1 tablespoon extra of Nam Plah (fish sauce))

Soup Base:

  • Handful fresh coriander leaves, chopped coarsely
  • Handful fresh basil leaves (Asian Basil if you can get a hold of some), chopped coarsely
  • Paste (prepared before)
  • 1 small broccoli head, stalks sliced thinly on the diagonal, florets separated
  • 100 grams (3½ fluid oz) very small button mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 750 millilitres (25¾ fluid oz) water
  • 2 yeast free vegetable stock cubes
  • 400 millilitres (13½ fluid oz) coconut milk
  • 100 millilitres (3½ fluid oz) Nam Plah (fish sauce)
  • 150 grams (5¼ oz) fresh shiitake mushrooms (or 20 grams (¾ oz) dried)
  • 150 grams (5¼ oz) brown rice noodles



Paste - Method:

  1. Trim the roots and tough top of the 3 lemon grass stems away, leaving about 15 centimetres (6 inches) of stem. Remove the outer skin and chop the lemon grass quite finely.
  2. De-seed the 4 chillies and chop coarsely.
  3. Remove the skin off the ginger (you can do this with a spoon or a small knife since the skin is thin). Chop finely.
  4. Peel the 3 garlic cloves and chop coarsely
  5. Peel the 3 scallions and chop coarsely.
  6. Place the 1 teaspoon shrimp paste, 1 tablespoon coconut oil, chillies, ginger, scallions, garlic cloves in the food processor and blend for 1 minute. You might need to scrape down the sides of the bowl and continue blending.
  7. Add the handful coriander leaves, 1 teaspoon ground turmeric, agave nectar and 100 millilitres tamarind paste to the food processor. Blend for 1 minute.
  8. Place in a glass bowl (plastic will absorb both colour and taste from the paste) and set aside.

Soup Base - Method:

  1. Chop the handful fresh coriander and basil leaves coarsely
  2. Slice the broccoli stalks thinly on the diagonal 1 centimetre (0.4 inches) thick and 2.5 centimetres (0.9 inches) in length and separate the florets.
  3. Slice or chop the 150 grams shiitake mushrooms finely.
  4. Heat the 1 tablespoon coconut oil in the saucepan.
  5. Add the prepared paste (in the glass bowl) and stir frequently. Heat for 2 minutes or until very fragrant.
  6. Add 750 millilitres water and 2 vegetable stock cubes.
  7. Turn the heat up, add  the 100 millilitres Nam Plah (fish sauce), chopped basil and coriander leaves and allow to simmer for 2 minutes.
  8. Add the sliced mushrooms, the 100 grams very small mushrooms (no need to chop) and allow to simmer for 10 minutes.
  9. Add brown rice noodles and cook for 7 minutes or until ready. Stir very carefully so as not to brake the noodles.


  • If the coconut oil is cold (in which case it becomes solid), place the jar in a bowl filled with hot water for a couple of minutes.          
  • You can use soy sauce instead of the tamari sauce (note: includes wheat).
  • You can use honey instead of the agave nectar.