Food Friday: Chicken Laksa

Posted by Lipglossiping On September - 6 - 2013

I first discovered the joy of Laksa courtesy of an inner-city food court almost 15 years ago.  I was living in Sydney at the time and alternating my lunches between New York Style pastrami sandwiches, Lebanese Fattoush, and Singaporean Chicken Laksa.  Such was the multi-cultural diversity of the city, coming from the British countryside, it was a revelation to taste my way around the continents in such an informal setting.  When I returned, I really missed some of my favourite dishes, and the first one that I had to learn for myself was the Chicken Laksa.

Now, back then… it was practically impossible to find a ready-made Chicken Laksa paste.  There are billions of recipes online describing how to make your own but nowadays, I just buy a jar of paste from my local Asian supermarket – tastes great and much less hassle.  I believe that some mainstream supermarkets stock it now, I’m pretty sure Sainsburys do anyway.

Chicken Laksa is a great dish to serve up when you’re looking to impress.  It’s a warming taste sensation, constructed around a base of chilli and coconut milk, you can customise it to suit your taste for spice just by adding more or less paste.  Not only that but it takes a mere half an hour to put together.

And this is what you need to do it…

Chicken Laksa

Not too many ingredients at all huh?  Just the way I like my cooking!  The above serves 2/3 people.

1 large fresh chicken breast/frozen chicken pieces – I used the meat that I’d pulled from a whole roasted bird after cutting off the breasts.
1 bag of bean sprouts (I use about half a bag for 2 people)
1 bag of noodles (traditionally vermicelli noodles but I’ve used rice, egg, whatever!)
1 can of coconut milk
Roughly 500ml water or chicken stock.  If you’re using water, add some chicken oxo-type cubes to the pan during cooking.
1 jar of Laksa paste (My favourite brand is Yeos – I use a whole jar but this will make it hot, for a milder version, use half a jar)

Apologies that my list is a little vague in terms of quantities, this is one of those recipes that is best judged by the eye as you go along… honest!

Chicken Laksa2

Grab a large saucepan or stockpot and add the paste, coconut milk, water+oxo cubes/stock and the chicken.  Bring to a simmer, put the lid on and stir occasionally until your chicken is cooked through.  How long this takes will depend on whether you’re using raw, pre-cooked, or frozen (pre-cooked) chicken… err on the side of caution and make sure the chicken is fully-cooked/heated to safe temperature.

I usually give it a good 15-minutes bubbling away for pre-cooked, frozen chicken.

Chicken Laksa3

Take note of the water levels and at this point decide if your “soup” is thin enough… if it feels a little too thick, add some more water.

Chicken Laksa4

Throw in your noodles and bean-sprouts and cook for a further 5-minutes before serving.

Chicken Laksa5

Chicken Laksa6

Done!  How easy is that?  And even though I do say so myself, it looks pretty impressive!

I usually serve it with some crusty bread… completely not traditional.  Not bothered either.

One of the best things about Laksa though is just how versatile it is.  If you’re vegetarian, use tofu instead of chicken (although remember to check the paste ingredients, they vary).  If you don’t like chicken, use king prawns instead!

Have you ever made a Laksa?  What’s your favourite way to cook it?


5 Responses to “Food Friday: Chicken Laksa”

  1. Tass says:

    This looks so yummy! I’ve made prawn laksa before (those pastes are a god send) but the chicken sounds equally as delicious. I think bean sprouts are the devil so I usually just use green beans or sliced carrots xx

  2. Nesita says:

    Never tried it but I will now because it looks delicious and super easy haha

  3. Jasmine says:

    Hi Charlotte! Singaporean checking in – this is my absolute favourite dish. I miss it so much 🙂

    At the Asian supermarket, if you can find puffy fried tofu (look at the chilled tofu section, you’ll see little choux-pastry-like tofu puffs) to add to your laksa you’ll love how it soaks up the gravy! We also add fish cake (a springy fish-and-starch ham like thing) and red fresh cockles to the laksa (on top of prawns). The garnish is usually finely chopped curry plant leaves (they are rhomboid and smell peppery). With thick rice noodles (not vermicelli) you’ll have Singapore Katong Laksa!

    We also eat laksa in another form called Yong Tau Foo – it’s a bowl of ingredients you can select (almost buffet style). There’s usually a selection of vegetables, tofu, fish meats, hard boiled egg, proteins, okra… Your selection is flash cooked in hot water and a light broth is poured over it and served. Sometimes, instead of this broth you can get laksa gravy. Laksa can be lower in carbs in this way too 🙂

    Thanks for posting this – I love your cooking posts! Your cheaty hollandaise made my day!

    • Ah-mazing! I’m going to definitely look for the tofu, it’s been ages since I’ve ever eaten it! Thank you for the kind words, and the tips! I’ll be trying some of them very soon!

  4. Jennifer says:

    Whoohoo! You covered a dish from where I’m from 🙂 Laksa is a very delicious dish and simple to make as you’ve dicovered.
    I’m glad you like one of our national favorites!

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