Asam Laksa – Malaysian Soup

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Asam Laksa soup is a spicy flavorful Malaysian red-curry soup. It’s a tangy curry broth with rice noodles and a bunch of garnishes that add the right amount of crunch. The word laksa comes from an ancient Persian word for “noodles”. Asam in Malay is for anything sour. It comes from the state of Penang in Malaysia and is one of the most popular noodle dishes. Laksa is very popular in Southeast Asia and every country has its own different version. The soup base determines the type of Laksa; so its either made with coconut milk(rich and savory and sometimes referred to as curry style) or with tamarind (sour) or the combination of the two. So the Laksa in Singapore or Indonesia could taste completely different.

When I was in college, I had a few Malaysian friends who would treat us to this culinary adventure. I only ever remember them making the sour version, so that is what my recipe is. It can also be made with chicken or fish but I chose to make mine vegetarian. I do not claim that it’s authentic but it’s definitely a version that my family loves.

I made my own Laksa paste at home but you can buy it at a local Asian store near you or online. Also, the recipe calls for galangal, which is a relative of ginger but has more of a citrusy flavor as compared to ginger which is a little on the spicy side. People do use them interchangeably but they have very different flavors. If you want an authentic Laksa taste then I would venture out to the local Asian store near you and pick up some galangal but you can definitely make it without it also.

Malaysia is on my bucket list of countries and one of these days I shall be sitting down for an authentic bowl of Asam Laksa somewhere in Penang.

Fun Fact: Did you know that in 2019 CNN ranked Penang Asam Laksa as seventh out of fifty most delicious foods in the world? Now doesn’t that make you want to dash into the kitchen and get started? Check out the article to see what other favorites of yours made the list.

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Asam Laksa – Malaysian Noodle Soup

Spicy & Sour Noodle soup (Gluten Free & Vegetarian)
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Malaysian
Keyword: GF, gluten free, noodles, soup, vegetarian



  • 1 piece Peeled and sliced ginger
  • 1 piece Peeled and sliced Galangal optional but see note in post
  • 2 Cloves of garlic
  • 1 Small red onion or shallots
  • 4 Fresh green chilies
  • 2 Small dried red chillies soaked in water for 15 minutes
  • 2 Stalks lemongrass chopped (white part )
  • 2 tsp Coriander Powder
  • 1 tsp Roasted Cumin powder
  • 1 tsp Turmeric powder
  • 3 or 4 Cashews optional


  • 1 tbsp Tamarind paste or 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 5 cups Veggie broth
  • 2 tbsp Sesame oil can use any oil
  • 2 tbsp Brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp Salt or per taste
  • 2 tbsp Sambal
  • 1 tbsp Soy sauce
  • 4 or 5 leaves Thai mint
  • 4 or 5 leaves Kaffir or lime leaves


  • 1 box Extra Firm Tofu
  • Thinly sliced carrots
  • Thinly sliced cucumbers
  • 1 small Thinly sliced red onion
  • Handful of Bean sprouts

Rice Noodles


    Laksa Paste

    • Grind all the ingredients finely for the paste and set aside


    • Cook rice noodles as per package instructions and set aside


    • On medium heat sauté the laksa paste in oil for 5/6 minutes
    • Slowly add the soup ingredients, bring to a boil and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
    • Taste for seasoning of salt/ soy sauce and spice and sour level you prefer


    • Press tofu for 15 minutes to remove excess water
    • Cut tofu lengthwise and saute till slightly brown
    • Thinly slice tofu, carrots, onions, and cucmbers (and anything else you like)- we add steamed broccolini

    Serving The Laksa

    • Take one serving of rice noodle, pour the soup over the noodles, and garnish with thinly sliced cucumber, carrots, onions, strips of tofu, red chilies, bean sprouts, and mint leaves

    As always have FUN IN YOUR KITCHEN as every creation is your very own, and one of its kind masterpieces.

    This is my creation that I am sharing. If you try the recipe, do tag me on Instagram – Footprint The World and add the tag #footprinttheworld as it’s always so fun to see the different variations.

    “The world is big enough for all of us”- RGK

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    2 years ago

    5 stars
    This was a wonderful recipe – easy to follow and the soup turned out delicious! I’ll be making it again as the flavors were perfect for our family. I had never had Malaysian food before so this introduction to it has me excited for this cuisine.