At Wickedfood Cooking School we teach our students a variety of southeast Asian inspired soups in our Thai cooking classes.   A laksa is the closest one will get to a hearty warming Southeast Asian soup.  It comes in many guises, this one is an adaption from Reuben Cooks, our cookbook of the week.  In his recipe he uses salmon fillets, but we find them a little rich and prefer whitefish such as hake or gurnard. Once you have mastered this recipe substitute the seafood for chunky vegetables or chicken breasts.

1L chicken or vegetable stock
1 tin coconut milk
Salt and black pepper
20 steamed, shelled mussels
400g salmon, cut into chunks (see introduction)
Juice of 1 lime (about 2 tablespoons)
2 red bird’s eye chillies, chopped (optional)
350g rice vermicelli noodles, cooked
1 handful of coriander or basil or mint leaves, to garnish
Onion sprouts, to garnish

Laksa paste
1T whole coriander seeds
3 stalks lemon grass
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup picked fresh coriander leaves
1T curry powder
1T turmeric
6 lime leaves
1/2 cup grated palm sugar
1/2 cup Thai fish sauce
3 green chillies, chopped
3 red chillies, chopped

  • Heat the stock in a large pot. When hot, add the laksa paste. Simmer for a few minutes and add the coconut milk. Continue to simmer for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
  • Add the steamed, shelled mussels and simmer for 1 minute.
  • Add the fish and simmer for 2 minutes.
  • Add the lime juice and chillies, if using. Bring the soup almost to boiling point, cover the pan and turn off the heat.
  • Serve as soon as the noodles are ready. Reheat the rice vermicelli noodles, drain well and transfer to a large bowl. Moisten the noodles with a little of the soup from the seafood pot. Serve the noodles, soup and seafood in 4 large bowls, garnished with herbs and onion sprouts.

Laksa paste

  • Blend all the ingredients together to make a fine paste.

Serves 4

Try these other Asian inspired soups:

Chinese corn and chicken soup

Tom yum kung

Wickedfood Chef

Sunninghill – (011)