Malaysia’s star dish

Sarawak laksa, which is closely related to other laksa variants, is distinguished by a delicate and mild flavor. The soup is served with vermicelli noodles, shredded omelet, cooked prawns and shredded chicken, and consists of a savory broth made from chicken or prawns seasoned with a thick laksa paste, which sometimes contains more than twenty distinct ingredients.

Traditionally, sambal and lime are served separately. The beginnings of Sarawak laksa are still unknown, but it is believed to have started in 1945 when Goh Lik Teck started selling his noodle dish on Carpenter Street in Kuching. The thick batter used in the dish is widely believed to have been made famous in the 1960s and 1970s by the Tan family of Kuching. Tan Yong Him experimented with herbs and spices to create a base paste, which he later distributed under the brand name Swallow. The product was quickly picked up by many vendors, who later included Sarawak laksa in their menus. Today, it is a typical dish of Sarawak and the city of Kuching.

Each state in Malaysia offers a unique dining experience and puts its own unique spin on popular meals. This laksa recipe from Sarawak features complex flavors that result from the delicious blend of spice paste and santan.


For Samba:

10 red peppers

2 large onions

1 garlic Clove

50 g of dried prawns

6-8 tablespoons of palm oil

For the spice paste:

150g shallots

125g garlic

150g galangal

30g red peppers

4 stalks lemongrass, white part only

10 dried chillies, soaked in hot water for 20 minutes

30g of candle nuts

20g cumin seeds

55g coriander seeds

3 star anise, dry roasted and ground

4 cloves, dry roasted and ground

1 nutmeg, ground

5 cardamoms, seeds only

10-12 tablespoons of palm oil

1/2 cup sesame seeds, toasted and ground

110 g roasted and ground peanuts

1 tablespoon curry powder, heaped

2-3 teaspoons salt, or to taste

2 tablespoons of sugar

1.5 liters of chicken and shrimp broth

350 ml santan saw

400 g vermicelli, scalded

For the spice paste:

5-6 calamansi limes, halved

1 bunch of coriander leaves

200g bean sprouts

1 cucumber, grated

350 g boiled and shredded chicken meat

500 g prawns marinated in sugar and cooked

Method: To make sambal: All the ingredients, except the oil, should be finely mixed. The batter is sautéed in hot oil in a nonstick skillet until aromatic and the oil separates. Put aside.

For the spice paste: combine all the ingredients into a fine paste, except the oil, sesame seeds, peanuts, curry powder and spices. Add the other ingredients after cooking the spice paste in the hot oil until aromatic.

For the sauce: Stock and santan should be added to the spice paste in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, then turn off the heat. If necessary, add more broth to change the consistency.

Serve: Place vermicelli in bowls, then drizzle with sauce. Add toppings on top.