Copyright Chris Frost 2019 | All Rights Reserved

Asam Laksa


Asam Laksa

“Asam” means sour in Malay, and as you may have guessed by now – the broth for this Laksa is slightly sour from the use of Tamarind and savoury from flaked Mackerel.
This recipe is my version of this classic dish.
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Serving 5 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Malaysian
Servings 4 people
Calories 432 kcal


  • spice grinder (electric)
  • wok
  • mortar and pestle


Soup base

  • 10 cup water
  • 4 mackerel
  • 3 stalk lemongrass cut into half and bruised in a mortar and pestle
  • 3 pieces asam gelugur / dried tamarind peel
  • 50 g tamarind past
  • shrimp paste
  • pieces dried bunga kencong if you use fresh you only need 1 fresh flower


  • 5 sugar
  • salt (to taste)


  • 100 g red chilies fresh or dried (soak in warm water if using dried chilies)
  • 150 g shallots or use purple onion
  • 25 g garlic
  • galangal  (skinned)


  • 50 g hae ko  (petis udang)
  • 1 large cucumber (juliened)
  • large purple onion  thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch fresh mint leaves
  • piece ginger flower  (finely chopped)
  • 50 g pineapple chunks
  • head lettuce (shredded)
  • 1 lime


  • Bring 10 cups of water to boil and boil the mackerel fish for 10 minutes. Once cool enough to handle, flake the fish meat and set aside, save the bones and head. If you are using canned mackerel, it is already cooked and you can skip this step
  • Add the ground spices and herbs, fish bones, and the rest of the ingredients for soup base. Bring it to a boil and then lower the heat, cover the pot with a lid and let it simmer for 30 minutes. Turn off the heat and then strain the stock and discard all the solids.
  • stir the flaked fish back into the soup. Season the soup base with seasonings and adjust to your taste. The soup should be sour, sweet, lightly spicy, and with just hint of savoury. Add more sugar as needed.


  • Portion the cooked noodles, flaked fish into individual serving bowl. Ladle the hot soup generously over the noodles.
  • Garnish with sliced cucumber, sliced onion, pineapple chunks, mint leaves, shredded lettuce, finely chopped ginger flower.
  • Squeeze some lime juice over. Serve with hae ko diluted with some water on the side.


Etlingera elatior (also known as torch ginger, ginger flower, red ginger lily, torchflower, torch lily, wild ginger, honjé, combrang, kecombrang, bunga kantan, Philippine wax flower) is a species of herbaceous perennial plant in the family Zingiberaceae; it is native to ThailandMalaysia and New Guinea.
Keyword mackerel, noodles, spicy

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