Leave it to West Coast guide to the good life, Sunset Magazine, to throw together a chicken laksa soup recipe so good we’d eat it in Southern California all summer.
The spicy Malaysian laksa soup may have a long list of ingredients, but it’s super easy. Malaysian kitchens (in Southeast Asia, in Southern California, and elsewhere) weave Chinese, Indian and Malay culinary strands into a complex cuisine.
- 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
- 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
- 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
- 4 cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon ground tumeric
- 5 to 8 dried arbol chiles, stemmed
- 2 lemongrass stalks
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 lb. boned, skinned chicken thighs, cubed
- 1 teaspoon shrimp paste*
- 3 large shallots , thinly sliced
- 1 can (13.5 oz.) coconut milk
- 1 quart reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 3 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 8 ounces mung beans, rinsed
- 8 ounces wide rice noodles
- 1/3 cup fresh mint leaves, torn into smaller pieces
- 1/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves, torn
- lime wedges
- Sambal oelek chili paste
For the sambal oelek chili paste:
- Grind coriander, peppercorns, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, cloves, turmeric and chiles coarsely in a spice grinder; set aside. Peel tough outer layers from lemongrass, then mash core with a meat mallet or small, heavy frying pan.
For the laksa:
- Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add chicken, shrimp paste, shallots, and reserved ground spices and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 2 minutes.
- Pour in coconut milk, broth, sugar, and salt; add cinnamon stick and lemongrass. Bring to a boil, then simmer, covered, 20 minutes.
- Boil bean sprouts in a large pot of boiling water until softened, 2 minutes. Transfer sprouts to a bowl. Add noodles to pot and cook until firm, 4 minutes. Drain; rinse well.
- Divide sprouts and noodles among bowls. Ladle in soup (remove cinnamon and lemongrass) and top with mint and cilantro. Serve with limes and sambal.
*Find shrimp paste in the Asian-foods aisle of a well-stocked grocery store or at an Asian market.