This easy and authentic laksa paste recipe starts with a versatile and easy homemade curry paste and is finished with coconut milk, stock and fish sauce for authentic south Asian flavour. The snapper is added minutes before serving and poured over a bowl of rice noodles and vegetable garnishes. Let's take a trip to South East Asia, come on and I'll show you how easy it is!
Homemade Laksa (Curry) Paste
Laksa is a really delicious version of curry that is popular in Southeast Asia. A mash up of Chinese, Malay and Indonesian influences come together in this fragrant and flavorful paste. Adding soft nuts to the paste adds to the creaminess of the finished curry. I love Asian flavors, travelling throughout South East Asia multiple times in my twenties gave me a deep appreciation for the food there.
Spicy, rich and authentic are the descriptions that come to mind when I recall the flavors I tasted. Some (many) I haven't mastered yet but there are a few that I've recreated to my satisfaction. Have you tried my Chirashai Sushi Bowl or Miso Baked Oysters? If not, these are worth trying too.
Don't be daunted by the ingredient list, it all goes in the blender and is done in minutes and the ingredients are easy to find at most grocery stores. Thick and rich, full of bright spice and herbal aromas, this soup is a comforting and satisfying meal in a bowl.
Why I Made This
Through winter and early spring, there are fewer fresh vegetables grown here in Canada but fresh fish is abundant. In fact many seafoods like this snapper and most shellfish are at their best in the colder months.
To combat the cold, I love to add both kinds of heat. This is a wonderful laksa paste that can be easily made mild to hot and anywhere in between depending on how much heat you like.
Other ingredients like lemongrass and chilis keep well through winter. Sometimes I buy my cilantro but sometimes I grow cilantro as microgreens in the winter. They work awesome in this recipe and if you're curious to try it yourself, read my post on how to grow microgreens in winter.
Why Use BC Snapper
Many types of seafood are in season and even at their best in the cold winter months and one of my favourite fish to buy for weeknight meals is "Snapper". It is certified Ocean Wise. Snapper is fished regularly through the winter making it readily available and much less expensive that halibut. Another seafood in season in cold weather are scallops. If you get some, try my Scallops Vongole , another delicious seafood recipe.
Snapper has nice, firm flesh and a mild flavour similar to ling cod and because it has more natural oil than halibut it won’t dry out as easily. I use it frequently in fish tacos, baked fish n’ chips and soups.
I hope you give this laksa paste a try and let me know how you like it!
Easy Laksa Paste and Snapper Laksa
- ½ c Cashews Or other soft nut like macadamias
- 1 small Shallot About 2-3 tbsp
- 2 cloves Garlic
- 1 stalk Lemongrass, white part only sliced into small rounds
- 1-3 Thai Red Chilis Depending on heat level desired
- 1 Bunch Cilantro Stems (Save The Leafy Tops For Garnish)
- 1 1" piece Ginger, Peeled And Grated
- 1 1" piece Turmeric, Peeled And Grated You can substitute 1 tsp dry ground turmeric if desired
- ½ tsp Paprika
- 2 tbsp Coconut Sugar Or regular granulated sugar
- ½ tsp Salt
- 2 tbsp Vegetable Oil
- 1 tbsp Vegetable Oil
- 1 can Coconut Milk Regular, 400 ml
- 2 c Chicken Stock
- 1 c Water
- 1 tbsp Fish Sauce
- 1 lb Fresh Snapper, Cut Into 2" Pieces, Any Bones Removed Or other firm fleshed Oceanwise cod
- 2 Baby Bok Choy, Cut In Half Lengthwise Or other asian green
Garnishes to serve
- 300 grams Rice Noodles, Prepared According To Package
- 1 c Bean Sprouts
- Leftover Cilantro Leaves
- 1 Lime, Cut Into 4 Wedges
- For the paste, first process the cashews very finely in a food processor (or high powered blender). The smaller they are the better as this will help add "thickness" or body to the soup. Once chopped, add garlic, lemongrass, shallot, chilis, and cilantro stalks and process until they are a coarse paste then add remaining ingredients and process again until smoothly combined. (It should be a rough paste)
- Heat a soup pot on medium-low heat, add oil and then saute laksa paste (reserve 1 tbsp to stir in at end) until it turns slightly darker and cooks through. Stir frequently to prevent burning.
- Add coconut milk and stir until well combined, add stock, water, fish sauce and remaining tbsp of Laksa paste and bring to a simmer. Taste and season with salt or fish sauce as desired. Meanwhile fill 4 large soup bowls about ½ full with prepared rice noodles and set aside.
- Add fish and simmer until just cooked, approximately 3-5 minutes. 1 minute before it is finished, add in the bok choy and let cook just until wilted.
- Spoon fish, broth and bok choy over noodles in bowls and garnish with bean sprouts, cilantro and lime wedges. Bring a jar of sambal oelek to the table so everyone can season to taste and enjoy 🙂