Tuesday, April 27, 2010

"The Strange But Wonderful Food Of Kuching 2" Sarawak Laksa 砂拉越叻沙

I found out my blogger friend Mary from "Keep learning keep smiling" is hailed from Sarawak after my posting of tomato noodle last week. I promised her I would do a post on Sarawak laksa and here it is. 
Sarawak laksa also known as Kuching laksa is the most popular breakfast dish in Kuching where I lived for a while, this is also a must try for any visitor to the East Malaysian state. It is rather different to the Malaysian/Singaporean laksa that most of us know so well as quite a few dried spices (cardamon, cloves, cumin and coriander etc) are used in the making of the paste* Sarawak laksa was virtually unheard of outside of Sarawak until Anthony Bourdain  featured it in his Malaysian leg of "No reservations". The Sarawakians are an extremely bias bunch so when one mentions laksa, there can only be this version.
P.S The Sarawak laksa paste is produced by 2 families and the recipe is secretly guarded (also it is not easily available outside of Sarawak). I have been trying to unlock the secret since last year, I am at the last stage of doing so so soon everyone will be able to cook this wonderful dish anywhere anytime. Stay tuned!

Updated on 3/11/11 - The secret of Sarawak laksa paste is revealed please click here for the recipe.

serves 10
for the laksa broth you'll need;
1 x 600 g of Sarawak laksa paste* or 500 g (2 cups) of homemade Sarawak laksa paste 
1 free range chicken
1 kg of prawns
2 x 400 ml of coconut milk
salt and pepper to taste
* unfortunately ready made paste is not easily available outside of Sarawak and there are no known recipes on the internet or any cookbooks. Read P.S above.

you'll also need;
rice vermicelli, soaked in warm water for 10 minutes and drained*
bean sprouts, blanched for 5 seconds just before serving
young coriander leaves (coriander sprouts are actually used for this dish)
eggs, beaten and made into thin omelet, sliced
lime wedges to serve
cut chillies to serve
* cook vermicelli in boiling water for a minute and drain just before serving

Bring 4 L of water to a boil and add the whole chicken. Return to a boil then cover and turn it down to a simmer for 35 minutes, remove chicken and submerge in cold water. This is a great way of poaching a whole chicken, tender juicy flesh every time!

Cook prawns in the chicken stock.

When the chicken is cool enough to handle - remove skin and hand shred chicken into bite size pieces, discharge skin and keep bones for stock. Then peel prawns but keep the tails intact, keep shells for stock. 

Return chicken bones and prawn shells together with the laksa paste to the chicken and prawns cooking water, simmer for an hour.

Strain broth and add coconut milk, season to taste.

Place rice vermicelli, blanched bean sprouts, chicken, prawns and omelet then ladle some broth over. Top with cut chillies and coriander leaves and serve with a wedge of lime.


  1. This looks good! I can't wait for the day you reveal the secret of the spice paste!

  2. Wish I could try one bowl of your rice noodle in soup! Looks like my type of comforting and healthy food.

  3. This looks delicious! I hope you will post the recipe for the curry paste soon!

  4. I tried this is Kuching and have seen it on "no reservations" Tried to goggle for the recipe but as you said it is a secret so I haven't had it since. I hope you will unlock the secret soon and share with us here!

  5. Wow, you are like a chemist, unlocking secrets of curry paste! I didn't even realise there was a difference and that it was possible to buy the sarawak paste. It looks very delicious and I look forward to your discoveries Professor Tummy :)

  6. Just amazing! I had no idea there was such a dish as Sarawak laksa! I think I know the answer but is this dish available outside Sarawak?

  7. the last i ate this laksa when i was in Kuching! Thanks for sharing this recipe! I'll try it out!

  8. I had tried Sarawak laksa before and your laksa looks so similar. I also love Vietnamese laksa too, do you have this recipe and show us?

  9. rosa ,
    Thank you! Coming soon! :)

    Thank you! This is great on a chilly night!

    I will soon, thank you!

    Thank you very much!

    Tricia F,
    I am glad you have tried this before! I will very soon!

    shaz ,
    Haha I have been meaning to do this for a very long time, with my dwindling laksa paste in the freezer it is time :) I will post it soon and it will be a good read :)

    Mr Noodles,
    This is not even that well known in West Malaysia.. There are a few places in KL in Singapore that offer this dish that's why I want to unlock the secret so more people can try this wonderful dish.

    Can you get the paste in KL? If not I'll post my version of the paste soon!

    I am glad you have tried this I will post the recipe for the paste soon. As for Vietnamese laksa I think it is quite similar to a Thai dish, I will do a post on that during my next Thai week at the tummies.

  10. I had Sarawak laksa once like more than 10 yrs ago when a Sarawakian friend cooked it for a potluck party. It was delicious!! I believe they sell the paste as well but of course won't be as good as making it at home. Thks for sharing the recipe, looks very good!

  11. I have heard about Sarawak laksa when I was back in KL, there is a stall operated by a Kuching woman but I have never tried it. Reveal the secret soon! It looks really delicious!

  12. I will wait very patiently for the recipe! I can imagine how tasty the broth tastes!

  13. I love this Sarawak laksa too, I looking forward for your to unlock the secret of this lakso paste and share with us. Thanks in advance.

  14. I have never heard of Sarawak laksa before and it looks and sounds really delicious. I can't wait for you to reveal the secrets, how exciting!

  15. This looks so good. I love all your pictures. I have to try this.

  16. Okay, something that I have never tried and can't make. :) It looks awesome and I just have to look at the picture a drool over it. Thanks:D

  17. selamat malam Tummy!wah hebatnya bikin laksa Sarawak sendiri ya!Nampak sungguh enak.(Hao Sit)

  18. 源來砂拉越也有不同的叻沙!我好想試一試呀!

  19. hai tummy lupa nak cakap sarawak sebab makan laksa Sarawak...nyaman nar laksa sarawak!kamek suka gilak!!hehe

  20. petite nyonya,
    Oh I am really happy there are quite a few of you that have eaten this before! I will post the recipe for the paste soon so more people can try it!

    KL girl in MELB ,
    I read about the stall via the Sinchewjitpoh, will try my best!

    Haha thank you! :)

    Sonia ,
    Thank you! With all this interests I will have to work harder :)

    LMH ,
    It is not very well known outside of Sarawak.I will post it soon!

    All Our Fingers in the Pie ,
    Thank you very much! I will need to post the recipe for the paste soon

    Lyndsey ,
    I know sorry :p Now I really have to post the recipe very soon!

    Haha terima kasih makcik. Masih ada beberapa bungus laksa paste yang hampit expired jadi masaklah :) Hebatnya hakka pun makcik tahu :) mmmkoi
    Oh lagi hebat boleh cakap sarawak ni! lucunya!


  21. We watched the episode of "no reservations" you mentioned, I had no idea it is different from the normal laksa. I am going to try this as soon as your laksa paste recipe is up!

  22. Excellent! Japanese is also a noodle lover, tapi tidak makan mie di sarapan. Interesting to find something similar and different in our both food cultures. Terima kasih :)

  23. Harriet from CarltonApril 28, 2010 at 12:26 AM

    This is so interesting! So people in Sarawak are happy to just buy the paste monopolized by 2 families? They won't be very happy with you when you finally reveal the secrets, I can hardly wait! :)

  24. Mmmm, just perfect !

    c'est superbe, j'adorerai savoir faire ce genre de plat , un vrai bonheur, encore bravo !

  25. Suresh...Suresh....I'm really drooling over this one!!!! You are very right to say about Sarawakians...there's only one real laksa to us....LOL. Don't be mistaken, I love other laksa too. Thanks very much for posting this. I really hope you will come out with the recipe for the laksa paste soon. That bowl must be for me :P

  26. J'adore cette cuisine: il y a tellement de saveurs.
    A bientôt.

  27. this is way too hard for me, but I could easily eat it if someone made it for me :) loving ur blog!

  28. Thanks for the info. And that recipe looks like to die for.
    I also know that paella is made with chicken and shrimps.
    B xx

  29. love to eat,
    Thank you! Please be patient..it will be up soon!

    the lacquer spoon ,
    Terima Kasih! Bahasa Melayu kamy bagus sekali! Malaysians do eat a lot of noodle dishes during breakfast :)

    Harriet from Carlton,
    Absolutely! I will be sure not to step onto Sarawak soil again lol

    Je vous remercie! Je vais le révéler bientôt!

    MaryMoh ,
    Haha thank you Mary! Judging from the response I am going to fast track the date hehe. Yes that bowl is for you!

    Merci beaucoup!

    Faiza Ali ,
    Thank you!

    mr. pineapple man,
    Haha it is not that hard :) I think most people would prefer someone else doing the cooking! Thank you very much!

    Haha you are very funny :) I hope you are feeling better! xxx

  30. I have tried nyonya and Penang laksa but not this version. It looks very good, I am waiting for the laksa paste recipe too!

  31. This looks so gorgeous. Many of the ingredients you use are new to my eyes and ears but I love to learn new things. I hope you are having a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

  32. hi tummy..i've tried laksa sarawak once few years ago @ laksa shack..mmg sedap!but dunno wether the taste tu really cam yg original kt sarawak..hehe!

  33. Looks so yummy! Can you invite me over? Hehe..

  34. Looks wonderful! I would love to try that! So yummy!

  35. I was just joking with you. I do like to see your posts and the food that you are making anyway, even if I can't make it :D

  36. What a delicious bowl of goodness. I wish one of you guys would adopt me as your sister or something. I so love every recipe in your space and that is really something.

  37. Too good...never heard of that spice paste before..

  38. Very interesting! Can't wait for the laksa paste recipe!


  39. Wow...impressive! It looks and sounds great, too.

  40. Gosh, Mary will be so pleased. Have you ever thought of opening a restaurant in Melb? Btw, I've given you an address in Melb whereby you can try some vegetarian food. Do refer to my reply in the comment column re 'Let's go vegetarian'!

  41. This is another new dish to me. you can cook so many different cuisines !

  42. This is such an interesting and delicious dish!I hear a lot about Malysian food and I am so excited to discover this dish, thank you!

  43. Muchas gracias por compartir este delicioso plato, esperamos impaciente el secreto tan bien guardado. Yo sería la sombra de esta familia para conseguír el secreto.
    Tienes un blog muy interesante y muy bién explicado.

  44. Intriguing. I've never heard of Sarawak laksa! Looking forward to the secret recipe here sometime soon :)

  45. This is such a great project buddy! I am looking forward to the very important day as I am very curious about this amazing looking dish!

  46. This looks fantastic and I would love to see the secret revealed sometime soon :)

  47. I have never tried Sarawak laksa! Looks soooo good!

  48. Oh wow, I wish I could have a bowl of this delicious looking noodle dish! The broth looks amazing.

  49. Yasmin ,
    Thank you! I will post the recipe soon so you can get to taste it too.

    Mary ,
    Thank you! I hope you are able to get the ingredients too :)

    inahar ali ,
    I have a look at their website, looks quite authentic to me :) I am sure they are using the ready made paste too.

    little panda,
    Thank you! There is a big Q though :)

    Thank you very much!

    Lyndsey ,
    Haha I know :)

    Cool Lassi(e) ,
    Thank you! I'll adopt you when you come for a visit :)

    Thank you! I will post it soon.

    Thank you! Very soon!

    Me, Myself and Pie,
    Thank you very much!

    Thank you! Yes she is :)
    I will try the restaurant thank you! :)

    Thank you! I am sure you can too just need to try!

    Thank you! I am happy I am able to share :)

    Gracias por mi blog le gusta! Voy a revelar los secretos pronto:)

    foodwink ,
    I will post that very soon!

    Thank you very much! I will have you guys over next!

    5 Star Foodie,
    Thank you, with the responds I need to!

    It is quite nice :)

    Thank you very much!

  50. We haven't had this since you left darling!

    Sophia xxx

  51. You can make Home Made Laksa Sarawak using Laksa Sarawak Hj Manan Paste. The taste is very original and delicious.

  52. i tried one of the best laksa sarawak made by a lady friend who sadly passed away couple of years ago.. yours looks exactly the same and i believe this taste yummy as well.. tq tummies...

  53. What a wonderful recipe and interesting dish, I'm an Aussie who loves to cook authentic asian food so I can't wait to try out this recipe. Thanks so much for your passion!

  54. The link to the home-made laksa paste is dead. can you post it?

  55. This comment has been removed by the author.

  56. Hi. I'm also in Melbourne. Origin from Kuching. The sarawak laksa looks yummy. Did you make your own paste or ready made?

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  58. Good info. Do visit my blog, sarawak laksa paste is available there online.

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  60. This is amazing..made the full spice paste recipe..then the laksa.. love it..so easy to make today im making another lot laksa paste....cant wait to eat...


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