Swill Magazine Issue 5 - Out Now

Millions of people in Singapore eat bowls of tasty chaos for breakfast every morning.

Rosheen Kaul

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Katong Laksa
Serves 4


Laksa broth

1kg prawn heads and shells

500g tomatoes, halved

40g ginger, peeled

3L water

1 tsp salt


Laksa paste

120g dried prawns

20 dried chillies

100g small shallots, peeled

12 candlenuts

40g ginger, peeled

60g galangal, peeled

10 red chillies

4 stalks lemongrass

1 bunch laksa leaf/Vietnamese mint

10g coriander seeds

35g shrimp paste, toasted

75ml cooking oil


To serve

100ml cooking oil

1 cup (250ml) coconut milk

1 cup (250ml) coconut cream

100g fried fish cake, sliced

6 tofu puffs, halved

Fish sauce, to season

Pinch of sugar

500g thick rice noodles, cut into 4cm lengths

4 eggs, boiled and halved

1 bunch laksa leaf, finely chopped

Sambal, to serve


To make the laksa broth, preheat the oven to 180C, toss prawn shells and heads in a little oil to coat and roast for 10–12 minutes until dark orange.

Put roasted shells and heads in a large stockpot over medium heat and add tomatoes, ginger, salt and water. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 45 minutes. Strain and discard the solids.

To make the laksa paste, rehydrate the dried prawns and chillies separately by covering with hot water. Allow to steep for 15–20 minutes until softened, then strain.

Place all of the laksa paste ingredients in a food processor and blitz as finely as possible. Set aside.

To assemble the laksa, heat 100ml of the oil in a heavy-bottom pan and fry the laksa paste over medium heat for 4–5 minutes or until fragrant and the oil splits out.

Pour 6 cups of the prawn stock into the pot to deglaze and bring to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes.

Stir in the coconut cream and milk along with the fish cakes and tofu puffs. Taste and season with fish sauce and a pinch of sugar. Turn off the heat.

Cook the noodles according to instructions, then divide between four bowls.

Ladle the broth into bowls with the tofu puffs and fish cakes. Arrange a boiled egg and a generous sprinkling of laksa leaf and sambal over each. Eat immediately with a spoon.

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