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Luke Nguyen’s Chicken & Prawn Curry Laksa


This recipe for Australian chef, restaurateur and TV host Luke Nguyen’s Chicken & Prawn Curry Laksa comes from a new cookbook featuring classic dishes from 150 top international chefs and cooks.

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Titled simply The Recipe, and edited by chef Josh Emett (who has worked with Gordon Ramsay over 10 years and owns a number of restaurants in his native New Zealand), the cookbook is divided into nine sections ranging from staples, soups and salads, to baking and desserts.

Among the 300 recipes are dishes from the likes of Rick Stein, Marco Pierre White, Alla Wolf-Tasker, Peter Gilmore and Colin Fassnidge, each re-created by Emett and accompanied by his personal tips.

Luke Nguyen’s laksa, perfect for the cooler weather, is from the soup section of The Recipe.

Chicken & Prawn Curry Laksa

Complexity: moderate
Prep time: 45 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Serves: 4


2 tbsp (30 ml) vegetable oil
6¼ cups (1½ litres) chicken stock
500g boneless, skinless chicken thigh, cut into 3cm chunks
1 tbsp (15 ml) liquid palm sugar or shaved palm sugar
2 cups plus 1¼ tbsp (500 ml) coconut milk
500g raw shrimp/ tiger prawns, peeled and de-veined, leaving the tails intact
100g fried tofu puffs
Juice of half a lime

Laksa paste:
8 dried red chillies, soaked in hot water for 15 minutes, then drained
2 tbsp dried shrimp, soaked in hot water for 15 minutes, then drained
5 red Asian shallots, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
4cm piece galangal, peeled and chopped
2 stalks lemongrass, white part only, finely diced
2cm piece turmeric, peeled and chopped
4 candlenuts or cashew nuts
1 tbsp mam ruoc (Vietnamese fermented shrimp paste)
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground chilli powder
3 tbsp (45 ml) groundnut/peanut oil

To serve:
400g rice vermicelli noodles, cooked according to packet instructions
150g bean sprouts
4 sprigs cilantro/coriander
2 tbsp fried red Asian shallots
Pinch of cracked black pepper
1 lime, cut into wedges
4 tbsp sambal oelek chilli paste, store-bought or made


To make the laksa paste, place all the ingredients except the groundnut/peanut oil in a food processor. Pulse together, gradually adding the groundnut/peanut oil, until a fine paste forms. Set aside.

Heat the vegetable oil in a large saucepan or stockpot over a medium heat, add the laksa paste and saute for 4 minutes until fragrant. Add the chicken stock and bring to the boil, then add the chicken pieces and palm sugar, reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Pour in the coconut milk and simmer for another 5 minutes, then add the shrimp/prawns, tofu puffs, and lime juice and cook for a further 5 minutes, until the shrimp/prawns are pink and cooked through.

To serve, divide the noodles between four soup bowls and ladle over the curry broth, dividing the shrimp/prawns, chicken, and tofu pieces evenly. Top with the bean sprouts, cilantro/coriander, fried shallots, and cracked black pepper and serve with lime wedges and sambal oelek on the side.

This is an edited extract from The Recipe, ed by Josh Emett, published by Hardie Grant Books, RRP $39.99, available in stores nationally. Photographer: © Kieran E Scott


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