Cameron's Laksa - hug in a soup

I have a story about this Laksa.  It has to do with my friend April.  She is a very well travelled person who knows how to eat exotic food.  

She also knows how to find the best resturants in any city.  

Well, this friend, April, tasted my husband's Laksa when she came to visit us here in Portland, and she liked it better than the Laksa she buys at her fancy San Fransico restaurant.  And honestly, she isn't wrong... it is that good! In her words, "it is a warm, sumptuous, hug in a soup!"

Think warmth on a cool, wet night.  Think fresh ingredients:


  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Prepared Laksa Paste

  • 6 cups chicken stock or broth
  • 1 tablespoon palm or brown sugar
  • 4-5 kefir lime leaves ( optional)
  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken (breast or thigh meat) cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 pound raw large shrimp (peeled, or use more chicken )
  • 2 cans thick coconut cream. Do not use “lite” – and if you like an even richer broth, add a third can.
  • 12 fish balls (totally optional – available in the frozen section of the Asian Market)
  • 1-2 cups fried tofu- (totally optional- available in the refrigerated section at the Asian market) sliced
  • 3-4 cups fresh bean sprouts
  • 1- 1 1/2 pounds fresh thin rice noodles (refrigerated section at the Asian market)
  • Lime Juice to taste ( 1-2 limes)
  • Fish Sauce to taste
  • Garnishes: lime wedges, cilantro, Vietnamese mint, cilantro, scallions, sambal chili paste, fried shallots (available in jars at Asian market)


  1. In a large heavy bottom soup pot or dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium high heat. Add all the Laksa Paste, and saute, stirring constantly until it becomes very fragrant, and deep in color about 2-3 minutes. (turn stove fan on). Add chicken broth and sugar. Bring to a boil. Add chicken, lower heat to a simmer, and cook for 4 minutes. Add shrimp. Cook for 1-2 minutes, add coconut milk, fish balls and tofu. Simmer until heated through.
  2. Squeeze lime juice, starting with a 1/2 a lime, and more to taste. Add fish sauce to taste, adding a teaspoon at a time. The broth should taste rich and deep, slightly salty ( the noodles will mellow the salt out)  and just a little limey. Guests can squeeze more lime to taste. If you want more heat, add chili flakes or chili paste.
  3. In a separate pot, boil enough water to cover the fresh rice noodles. Once water is boiling add the rice noodles, turn heat off, and let rice noodles stand, heating up for 1-2 minutes, drain.
  4. Divide noodles among bowls. Ladle soup over top of noodles. Top bowls with an handful of fresh bean sprouts, fresh cilantro and mint and a sprinkling of crispy shallots. Serve with chili sauce and lime wedges.
  5. Enjoy! 


  1. ‘Tis true! It’s a warm, delicious hug in a soup. Thanks for the hospitality and the sumptuous food. And now thank you for the recipe so I don’t have to fly all the way to Portland and invite myself for dinner. :)

    1. you're still invited to dinner anytime, friend!


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