This shrimp laksa soup, made with macadamia nuts, curry paste, coconut milk, chicken broth, green beans, shrimp, and rice vermicelli, is our version of the popular southeast Asian soup.
This shrimp laksa soup is an easy, authentic version of the spicy Malay coconut milk and rice noodle soup that’s a staple in southeast Asia. (Malay cuisine is a mashup, according to our sources, “of Chinese, Thai and Indian influences, which makestheir soups, curries and noodles dazzle with exotic spices, creamy coconut and hot chiles.”) And our rendition comes together in less than an hour though it tastes like it’s been simmering all day.–Angie Zoobkoff
Shrimp Laksa Soup
For the shrimp laksa soup
- 6 1/2 oz macadamia nuts
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 1/2 ounces red curry paste
- 8 1/2 ounces canned chicken broth or homemade chicken stock
- One (14-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk
- 2 whole star anise
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 3 tablespoons tamarind purée or less to taste
- 2 tablespoons palm sugar
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons lime juice or less to taste
- 5 ounces green beans chopped
- 7 ounces large raw shrimp peeled and deveined
- 7 ounces thin rice noodles (vermicelli)
Make the shrimp laksa soup
- Using a mortar and pestle, crush the macadamia nuts to a fine paste.
- In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, warm the vegetable oil. Add the curry paste and crushed nuts. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes.
- Stir in the stock, coconut milk, spices, tamarind, palm sugar, fish sauce, and lime juice, going light on the tamarind and lime juice if you’re not a tremendous fan of tartness. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. the consistency will still be sorta soupy.
- Use a slotted spoon to remove and discard the cinnamon sticks and star anise. Add the green beans and shrimp and simmer until the shrimp are just cooked through and the beans are crisp-tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat.
☞TESTER TIP: If the shrimp are done before the green beans, use a slotted spoon to remove them from the sauce so they don’t toughen.
- Bring a small pot or tea kettle of water to a boil. Place the rice noodles in a large heatproof bowl and add enough boiling water to cover. Let sit until softened, at least 2 minutes.
Assemble and garnish the shrimp laksa soup
- Drain the rice noodles and divvy them between 2 large bowls. Ladle the laksa over the top and garnish with the pineapple, cilantro, mint, and pickled red chile peppers and shallots. Serve with crisp fried shallots.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
This shrimp laksa soup recipe was a very happy surprise for me! The sauce is very similar to a sauce that’s served at a favorite local restaurant and I have been wondering what the ingredients are so that I can try to duplicate it at home. The flavors are warm, sweet, tart, deep, and rich all at the same time. I made this on a chilly evening and it really warmed us up.
Adding the shallots, pineapple, and herbs at the end added to the dimension and texture of this complex dish. If I had the capacity, I would have eaten the whole thing myself!
I cut the pineapple and prepped all of the other garnishes before starting on the curry itself. Also, I added the green beans a few minutes before the shrimp so the shrimp wouldn’t get overdone.
I would recommend serving this as an entrée rather than a starter because it’s a bit of work when you factor in all of the prep work. I found the curry sauce a bit on the tart side, so I might try cutting back on the tamarind or the lime juice. I also might try letting the sauce cook down a bit longer so it would be a bit thicker.
You could easily serve the curry sauce with chicken (or make a vegetarian version using vegetable stock, omitting the fish sauce, and serving it with tofu).
The curry sauce was a bit thinner than I think it should have been after simmering for 10 minutes. I think 20 to 30 minutes would have been better as I also ended with more sauce than needed for the bowls. And I think using shrimp stock, rather than chicken, would have been even more delicious.
WOW! This shrimp laksa soup recipe is a weeknight dream come true! It came together so fast, but tasted as if it had been simmering for hours. My husband said the house smelled funny when he walked in the door but he absolutely loved it and had 2 helpings!
I used red curry paste, and I’ll be honest, I couldn’t find macadamia nuts, so I (successfully) replaced them with 6 blanched almonds. I was skeptical about the use of pineapple, but it added a nice sweetness, so don’t skip it! Same goes for the pickled red chile peppers and shallots—do not skip them because they elevate the flavors.
I will absolutely be making this again—it was better than takeout!
I served this as an entree and it served 2 plus we had enough leftovers for 1 more serving so I would say it serves 2 as a main and 4 as starter.
Originally published December 09, 2019