Malaysian Cuisine - Rice & Noodle

Penang Asam Laksa

July 19, 2017 | Recipe by Bake with Paws

Penang Asam Laksa  (Rice Noodles in Hot and Sour Fish Gravy)

It has been a while since I have made Asam Laksa as it is a lot of work. We had our uncle from Australia as our guest the past few weeks and it was a treat for him.

The recipe shared here may involve a little more extra effort to grind the spices and aromatics but, the result is very rewarding.

If you have any questions regarding this recipe or any other post, please leave me a comment in the “LEAVE A COMMENT” link and I will reply you as soon as possible.

Penang Asam Laksa Recipe

Yields: 15 – 16 servings


Spice paste (ground finely):
25 – 30 red chillies
3 tbsp chillie boh (dried chillie paste)
30 (350g) shallots
12 cloves (90g) garlic
60g fresh turmeric
150g galangal (lengkuas)
6 stalks lemongrass
2 tbsp belacan powder (dried shrimp powder)

2 kg ikan kembung (Indian Mackerel)
½ medium size pineapple, quartered
2 bunga kantan (ginger flower), cut into half
200g lengkuas (galangal), quartered
6 lemongrass, lightly smashed
100g asam jawa (tamarind pulp), dilute with 2 cups water
10 asam keping (tamarind peel)
15 stalks daun kesom (Vietnamese mint)
9 tbsp brown sugar or to taste
3 tbsp salt or to taste

2 kg fresh laksa noodles, rinse them in cold water and drain
1 big cucumber, julienned
½ medium size pineapple, julienned
1 big red onions, thinly sliced
2 bunga kantan (ginger flower), finely sliced
2 red chillies, sliced
Mint leaves
Chinese lettuce, sliced
Thick prawn paste (heh kou), add enough hot water to achieve a pouring consistency


Prepare the laksa stock:
  1. Blend the spice ingredients in a food processor until fine and set aside.
  2. Boil the fish in a big pot of water for around 10 minutes until the fish is cooked. Remove fish from the pot and let cool before deboning the fish. Do not discard the fish broth. Keep the fish meat and broth aside separately.
  3. In another big pot, heat some oil and fry the spice paste till aromatic or fragrant. Then add fresh herbs (bunga kantan, daun kesom, lengkuas, lemongrass), asam keping and pineapple. Next add the reserved fish broth, asam jawa juice and some water.
  4. Bring the laksa stock to boil then simmer for 45 minutes to an hour until aromatic. 
  5. Remove the lengkuas, lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves from the stock.  
  6. Add in the fish meat and add more water if stock is too thick.
  7. Season to taste with sugar and salt to the desired balance of flavour and simmer for another 10 minutes.
To serve:
  1. Place a serving of laksa noodles in a bowl.
  2. Top with a little of each of the topping ingredients except thick prawn paste.
  3. Ladle boiling laksa gravy over the noodles and toppings.
  4. Serve with a tablespoon of prepared thick prawn paste.
Enjoy the laksa....

  1. Ikan Kembong is recommended for the authentic taste of Penang Asam Laksa.
  2. The above measurements are just a guide, please adjust the salt, sugar, asam jawa and chillies to taste.
  3. It is best to prepare the laksa stock one day in advance and leave the soup to steep overnight for a fuller flavour.