Mamta's Kitchen

Penang Laksa Noodles

Penang Laksa Noodles

John Young


This Malaysian dish is a complete meal in itself. It is sold all over Malaysia by street hawkers, You see them crowded by people during late mornings and lunch time. I have used fish and prawns here but you can also use Oysters, mussels and cockles. A handful of bean sprouts can also be added. Don't be put off by the long list of ingredients, it is quite easy to put together. It can be prepared in advance up to step 11 and kept aside.

Serves 4


  • 500 gm. or 1 packet coarse noodles or wheat/rice vermicelli

  • 2 fresh mackerels (fish), whole

  • 300 gm. king prawns, uncooked

  • 400 gm. or 1 tin sardines or pilchards (fish)

  • 400 gm. or 2-3 medium onions, peeled and roughly chopped. Equivalent amount of shallots can also be used.

  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled

  • 2 inch piece ginger, peeled and roughly chopped

  • 1 tsp. dry or 2 stalks fresh lemon grass

  • 2 tbsp. Tamarind purée

  • 2 tbsp. Sambal Udang (chilli prawn pickle powder or paste, bought from Oriental stores)

  • Salt to taste (add at step 11)

  • 2 litre water

  • 5-6 curry leaves

  • For Serving:

  • 4 LARGE soup bowls

  • 1/4 iceberg (crisp) lettuce, shredded

  • 1/4 cucumber, cut into batons

  • 1 cup fresh or tinned pineapple cubes

  • 2-3 green or red chillies, thinly sliced

  • A handful of fresh mint leaves, washed and de-stalked

  • ☼ Tamarind purée can be bought in jars from Chinese, Asian grocers. It is much better than the dark coloured tamarind concentrate usually found in Indian stores, it is just tamarind pulp with fibrous bits removed.


  1. Boil vermicelli according to instruction on the packet, rinse under cold water and leave soaking in a pan of in water.

  2. Peel and de-vein prawns, leaving the tails intact. Keep aside.

  3. Prepare lettuce, cucumber, pineapple, chillies and mint leaves.

  4. Pound all ingredients marked● together in a mortar or grind in a food processor.

  5. Boil 2 litre water in a large pan.

  6. Add mackerel fish and continue boiling, until cooked.

  7. Remove fish, discard head, tail and bones. Add flaked flesh back to the pan.

  8. Add pounded/ground ingredients to the pot and continue boiling.

  9. Add tinned sardines/pilchards, flesh broken up.

  10. Add 2/3rd of tamarind puree and salt.

  11. Taste and adjust the amount of salt and tamarind.

  12. Tinned fish is salty and the dish may not need a lot of additional salt. The liquid should be sour in taste.

  13. Serving:

  14. Bring the dish to a brisk boil.

  15. Add prawns and turn heat off.

  16. Divide noodles into 4 soup bowl.

  17. Heap a large handful of lettuce, 1/4 each of cucumber, pineapple cubes, mint leaves and green/red chillies on top of the noodles.

  18. Pour 1/4th of the piping hot Laksa onto each bowl of noodles.

  19. Serve immediately, with chopsticks and a soup spoon.

  20. Also see Soup Selection.


  • If you can't find tamarind puree, take approximately 2 inch piece out of a block of tamarind and soak in 1 cup warm water for 1 hour. Mash with your fingers and pass through a sieve to remove stones and fibres.

  • You can also make this dish using a packet of Laksa mix from oriental stores.

  • It can also be made with chicken and meat.

  • Other Laksa dishes are Asam Laksa, Singapore Laksa

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