How To Make Prawn and Squid Laksa

How To Make Prawn and Squid Laksa
  • Serves: 4
  • Preparation time: 25 minutes
  • Cooking time: 3½ hours (slow cooker)
  • 1¼ hours (stovetop)
  • 3 tablespoons grapeseed or rice bran oil
  • 12 raw prawns (shrimp), peeled, deveined, tails left intact, heads and shells reserved
  • 2 x 270 ml (9½ fl oz) tins coconut milk
  • 500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) chicken stock
  • 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) squid tubes, cut into bite-sized pieces, scored
  • 400 g (14 oz) vermicelli noodles
  • handful broccolini, cut into 5 cm (2 in) lengths
  • 150 g (5½ oz) tofu puffs, halved diagonally – optional
  • bean sprouts, coriander (cilantro) sprigs, Vietnamese mint (laksa) leaves, crispy fried shallots and lime wedges, to serve
  • Laksa paste
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped galangal or ginger
  • 1 lemongrass stem, tough outer stems removed, white part only, chopped
  • 4 long red chillies, coarsely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated fresh turmeric or 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 6 red shallots, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons candlenuts or macadamia nuts, coarsely grated
  • 20 g (¾ oz) belacan (shrimp paste), wrapped in foil and toasted in a dry frying pan until fragrant
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 30 g (1 oz) palm sugar, coarsely grated, or brown sugar

In the slow cooker

To make the laksa paste, process all the ingredients in a food processor until smooth.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over high heat. Cook the prawn heads and shells for 5 minutes until they turn red, pushing down on them with the back of a wooden spoon.

Remove with a slotted spoon and discard. Reduce the heat to medium, add the laksa paste and cook for 6–8 minutes until fragrant, stirring regularly.

Stir in the coconut milk and cook for 3 minutes until the oil separates.

Transfer to the slow cooker, along with the stock, squid and 500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) of water. Cook on low for 3 hours.

Meanwhile, prepare the noodles according to the packet instructions.

Add the prawns, broccolini and tofu puffs, if using, to the slow cooker and cook for a further 10–15 minutes until cooked through.

Serve with the noodles, bean sprouts, coriander sprigs, Vietnamese mint, crispy fried shallots and lime wedges.

On the stovetop

To make the laksa paste, process all the ingredients in a food processor until smooth.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over high heat. Cook the prawn heads and shells for 5 minutes until they turn red, pushing down on them with the back of a wooden spoon.

Remove with a slotted spoon and discard. Reduce the heat to medium, add the laksa paste and cook for 6–8 minutes until fragrant, stirring regularly.

Stir in the coconut milk and cook for 3 minutes until the oil separates. Add the stock and 750 ml (26 fl oz/3 cups) of water.

Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low. Add the squid and cook for 45 minutes until tender. Add more water if necessary.

Meanwhile, prepare the noodles according to the packet instructions.

Add the prawns, broccolini and tofu puffs, if using, to the pan and cook for 5 minutes until cooked through.

Serve with the noodles, bean sprouts, coriander sprigs, Vietnamese mint, crispy fried shallots and lime wedges.