Curry laksa

An Asian brand of comfort food, curry laksa has its roots in Malaysia, where the cuisine features a fascinating mixture of flavours, from Thai to Indian. The recipe below is a simple version of that soup/stew. I used frozen, partly shelled green mussels from New Zealand, as they look attractive in the soup, although regular mussels are good, too. You can also add vegetables such as snow peas or baby bok choy leaves. And if available, spices such as galangal and flavourings like shrimp paste lend even more authenticity.

Serves: 4


  • 4 bird’s-eye red chilies
  • 250 grams (7 ounces) thin rice noodles
  • 2 stalks lemongrass
  • 2-inch section of ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 4 shallots, peeled and quartered
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons Indian curry paste, as hot as you like it
  • 1 can (14 ounces) coconut milk
  • 5 cups chicken or fish stock
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon grated lime zest
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 12 peeled shrimp
  • 20 mussels, preferably New Zealand green
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped coriander
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onion
  • Several handfuls bean sprouts


Split chilies in half lengthwise, leaving stems intact. Soak in cold water. Set aside for garnish.

Soak rice noodles in hot water for 20 minutes or until softened. Cut off the bottom section of lemongrass, discarding the top. Remove tough outer leaves and coarsely chop. Put into food processor with ginger, shallots, sugar and coriander. Process until nearly smooth.

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add shallot mixture and sauté until fragrant (about 2 minutes). Stir in curry paste and sauté about 30 seconds longer.

Add coconut milk, stock, fish sauce and lime zest and bring to boil. Simmer gently for 10 minutes. Add seafood and simmer for 5 minutes or until shrimp are pink and slightly curled and mussels are cooked.

Stir in lime juice. Taste for seasoning, adding more lime, sugar or fish sauce to taste.

Bring a large pot of water to boil and add noodles. Blanch for 1 minute, then drain. Place in 4 large bowls.

Ladle soup and seafood over noodles. Garnish with coriander, green onion, bean sprouts and chilies.