Nyonya Curry Laksa – International Noodles Incident Party


Like every good little Asian mother, dear Lily used to cook up wonderful hot meals for my school lunches and send it off to school with me in a thermos. Fried rice, teriyaki beef, noodles….you name it – she’ll thermos it. But like every little kid wanting to fit in, I used to empty out my thermos and scrounge together enough pocket money to buy a measly sandwich from the school canteen. After all – that’s what all happy little Vegemites ate right?

Oh what I would give to be able to time travel back and cuff my younger self around the ear. As it sometimes so happens, it’s not till later on in your life that you realise how lucky you are.

Another realisation I made in my later years is that I am extremely fortunate to have come from a true blue Peranakan (aka Nyonya) family from Malacca. What was I doing not learning all their famed culinary delicacies!

So I thought recently that it was time to get off my behind and start greedily collecting cooking tips straight from the horses’ mouth. This is the start of what I hope to be a “culinary journey” into my family’s heritage. The Peramakan Project perhaps (‘makan’ meaning ‘eat’ in Malay). Does it have a ring to it?

With the International Incident Party theme for this month being noodles, I figured – why not start with the most recognisable Nyonya dish to most Australians…the perennially popular and oft bastardised Curry Laksa.

Laksa varies from State to State in Malaysia. For example, the Penang Assam version uses flaked mackeral and liberal amounts of tamarind. The most popular version in Australia though, is the Malaccan Curry version, which is coincidentally where my family is from!

So without further adieu, my Nyonya Curry Laksa courtesy of Lily’s somewhat vague but guaranteed authentic instructions.

Ps. Herman used to be an ex Navy Diver and loves nothing more than going night diving in the Swan River for prawns. The little critters you see below are nice and fresh courtesy of him! Nothing beats the sweet, succulent flesh of Swan River prawns IMHO.


  • 300g prawns cooked in about half a litre of water (to make stock)
  • 1 stalk lemongrass
  • 1t turmeric powder
  • 6-10 dried chillies (boiled and seeded)
  • 8-10 candlenuts
  • 8-10 shallots
  • 2T belacan (dried shrimp paste)
  • 10-12 slices galangal
  • laksa leaves (vietnamese mint)
  • fresh egg noodles
  • cucumber (thinly sliced)
  • fried tofu puffs
  • sambal
  • 1 can coconut milk
  1. Boil prawns in water, when they are cooked – peel them and place the shells back in the water to make the stock (leave simmering while you prepare the spice paste)
  2. Grind the lemongrass, galangal, turmeric, candlenuts,dried chillies, shallots and belacan with a couple of laksa leaves
  3. Heat some peanut oil in a wok, fry the spice paste until fragrant (about 5 minutes)
  4. Add in the drained prawn stock and coconut milk, bring to boil then leave to simmer for 10 minutes adding in the tofu puffs just before removing from heat.
  5. Parboil the noodles, top with peeled prawns and gravy.
  6. Garnish with sliced cucumber, laksa leaves (and a little drizzle of coconut milk if you are trying to be a little fancy!).
  7. Serve with a side of sambal

(Close-up of some replica Peranakan S & P shakers Lily picked up for me in Malacca)


Much thanks to Penny from Jeroxie for organising this fun little event. Don’t forget to check out some of the other bloggers’ fantastic noodlelicious creations.

  • Penny – Jeroxie (Addictive & Consuming) – Homemade ban mian with minced pork and mushrooms
  • Christine – Christine’s Recipes – Spicy Pork Mince and Noodles in Crisp Lettuce Cups
  • Mardi – Eat, Live, Travel, Write – Ginger scallion & Butter noodles
  • Trix – Tasty Trix – Summer ‘Noodles’ with yellow and green zuchinni with cool basil oil tomato sauce
  • Shirley – Enriching your kid – Vermicilli Biryani with Tahini
  • Natasha – 5 Star Foodie – Homemade Soba Noodles
  • Anges – Off the spork – Handpulled noodles at home
  • Joanne – Second Helping
  • Cherry – Sweet Cherry Pie – Coconut noodles with honey glazed pork belly
  • Tracey – Tangled Noodle
  • Evelyne – Cheap Ethnic Eatz – Incidental Noodles
  • Ms Baklover – Footscray Food Blog – Zha Jiang Mian
  • Casey – Eating, Gardening & Living in Bulgari
  • Tamar – Koreanfornian Cooking – Tteokbokki
  • Billy – Half-Eaten – Pumpkin Miso Noodles in Shitake Dashi Broth
  • Nina – Consumed Food Love – Vietnamese Noodle Salad
  • Suresh – 3 hungry tummies – Twice cooked pork with rice noodles
  • Anh – A food Lover’s Journey – Taco Soba Noodle
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    10 Responses to “Nyonya Curry Laksa – International Noodles Incident Party”
    1. OMG.. you are Nyonya too? I wish that I learnt more but never had anyone to teach me and was too young to learn anyway. Great! Please do the project and count me in please.

    2. Trix says:

      Wow, wow, wow. Those prawns are amazing, and I love laksa. I can’t claim to have ever had anything as authentic as this, but the flavors here are making my mouth water. I have to make this dish! And I am looking forward to reading about your roject!

    3. Ms Baklover says:

      Oh, my favourite food in the whole world! Thank you for sharing your family recipe! I love the trick about putting the prawn heads and shells back in. I’ve always made laksa with chicken stock and (shame, shame) bought paste, but I’m definitely going to try this soon.

      BTW, my heart weeps for those thermos lunches!

    4. I simply love laksa and used to be proud of myself because I make my own laksa paste. I can see now that I have a bit more to do to be authentic. The flavour of your dish must be sublime!

    5. You’ve got me. Your laksa is tempting, the prawns are wonderfully beautiful. The recipe is a keeper for sure.

    6. I love curry laksa but have only ever had it in restaurants. Thank you for sharing such a marvelous recipe and I look forward to more of your Peramakan Project. 😎

    7. Yes, excellent project! Do it! Do it!

      Have never made laksa from scratch, and actually couldn’t even say the last time I ate it, but man it looks good and with such freshly caught lil prawns too. Nice family effort all round.

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