Crayfish laksa

Crayfish laksa
Crayfish laksa Photo: Marina Oliphant

Laksa can be a little finicky to make with so many ingredients, but the end result is very much worth the trouble. A deliciously aromatic dish that is so enjoyable to eat.


For the paste

2 tsp dried prawns, dry roasted

1 tsp belacan (dried shrimp paste), dry roasted

1 tsp fresh turmeric, grated

5cm piece of galangal, peeled and chopped

3 birds eye chillies

3 coriander roots, washed twice

1 lemongrass stalk, outer layer removed and finely sliced

15 Vietnamese mint leaves

8 kaffir lime leaves, rib removed

6 red shallots, peeled and sliced

4 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced

30g candlenuts

1 tsp coriander seeds, roasted and ground

For the laksa

440ml coconut milk

500ml light chicken stock

fish sauce

lime juice

palm sugar

1 x 1kg freshly cooked whole crayfish

400g teardrop rice noodles

100g bean shoots

1/2 bunch Vietnamese mint, picked

1/2 bunch coriander, picked

3 tbsp fried shallots

1 birds eye chilli, seeded and finely sliced

2 kaffir lime leaves, cut into fine threads


For the paste: Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blitz to a paste.

Fry the paste in a little oil to release the fragrances.

For the laksa: Add coconut milk, bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the stock and simmer a further 10 minutes. Season with fish sauce, lime juice and palm sugar to taste (it should be salty, sour and sweet all at once).

Remove tail meat from the shell and cut into 2cm chunks. Remove leg meat from the shell and reserve with the crayfish chunks.

Put the noodles in boiling water for 1 minute and strain.

Warm the crayfish meat in a small pot of simmering laksa. When hot, strain off the cray meat, and add the broth back into the main pot.

Mix the bean shoots, Vietnamese mint, coriander leaves, 2 tbsp shallots and chilli in a bowl.

Divide the noodles between four deep bowls. Place a handful of the bean shoot mix in the centre of each bowl. Share the warmed cray meat between each bowl, arranging around the bean shoots.

Ladle the hot laksa broth around the bean shoots to barely cover the cray meat.

Garnish with kaffir lime threads and remaining shallots.