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Prawn Laksa


This creamy and spicy Malaysian soup is made with prawns, macadamia nuts and yellow or red curry paste, then topped with pickled red chilli and shallots.

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The recipe comes from new cookbook My Asian Kitchen, by UK food writer Jennifer Joyce, which features simple recipes for dishes ranging from bao buns and gyoza to poke bowls, ramen and kimchi.

Of this recipe, she writes:

“Malay cuisine is a mash-up of local Chinese, Thai and Indian influences, which makes their soups, curries and noodles dazzle with exotic spices, creamy coconut and hot chillies. What distinguishes laksa paste from red curry is the use of nuts. Traditionally it’s candlenuts, but they’re tricky to source so I use macadamias.”

Prawn Laksa

Serves 4 as a starter or 2 large portions
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes


6 macadamia nuts
1 tbsp vegetable oil
75g yellow or red curry paste
250ml chicken stock
1 x 400g tin coconut milk
2 whole star anise
2 cinnamon sticks
3 tbsp tamarind purée
2 tbsp palm sugar
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp lime juice
150g green beans, chopped
200g large raw prawns
200g thin rice vermicelli
100g pineapple
Large handful each of chopped coriander (cilantro) and mint leaves
Pickled red chilli and shallots (see below) and crispy fried shallots, to serve


Using a mortar and pestle, crush the macadamia nuts to a fine paste.

In a large saucepan, heat the vegetable oil and add the curry paste and crushed macadamia nuts. Turn the heat down to medium and cook for 5 minutes.

Pour in the stock, coconut milk, spices, tamarind, palm sugar, fish sauce and lime juice. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes, then add the beans and prawns. Simmer for 2–3 minutes and remove from the heat.

Pour boiling water over the rice noodles and leave for 2 minutes or until soft.

Cut the pineapple into 2cm batons.

Divide the noodles among four large bowls and ladle the laksa over. Top with the pineapple, chopped coriander and mint and pickled red chilli and shallots. Serve with crispy fried shallots.

Pickled red chilli and shallots: Place two long red chillies (sliced), 6 small shallots (quartered), 45ml rice vinegar, 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp caster sugar in a small bowl and mix well to dissolved the sugar and salt. Leave to sit for one hour before using. If you have any left over it can be stored in a glass jar with a fitted lid for up to a week in the fridge.

Image and recipe from My Asian Kitchen by Jennifer Joyce, Murdoch Books, RRP $39.99. Photography by Phil Webb, illustrations by Riley Joyce.

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