Kid-friendly Lovely "Laksa" Malaysian Noodle Soup with Freshly Chopped Herb Slaw Recipe - Sticky Fingers Cooking
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Recipe: Lovely "Laksa" Malaysian Noodle Soup with Freshly Chopped Herb Slaw

Recipe: Lovely "Laksa" Malaysian Noodle Soup with Freshly Chopped Herb Slaw

Lovely "Laksa" Malaysian Noodle Soup with Freshly Chopped Herb Slaw

by Dylan Sabuco
Photo by Bored Photography/
prep time
15 minutes
cook time
15 minutes
4-6 servings

Fun Food Story

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Lovely "Laksa" Malaysian Noodle Soup with Freshly Chopped Herb Slaw

"Laksa" (LAHK-suh) is a creamy, flavorful, sweet-and-sour soup popular in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, and Southern Thailand. It's like Vietnamese "pho" (fuh) but with a thicker, creamier base.  Worried that the soup will be too spicy? Start with 1/2 tablespoon of green curry paste and increase the amount to taste or substitute 1 teaspoon of mild curry powder. The fresh herbs bring a bright pop of flavor, and your young chefs will love adding the slaw topping and slurrrrping up all the noodles!

Happy & Healthy Cooking,

Chef Erin, Food-Geek-in-Chief

Fun-Da-Mentals Kitchen Skills

  • chop :

    to cut something into small, rough pieces using a blade.

  • combine :

    to merge two or more ingredients into one mixture, like a batter of flour, eggs, and milk.

  • drizzle :

    to trickle a thin stream of a liquid ingredient, like icing or sauce, over food.

  • garnish :

    to decorate a dish or plate of food to enhance its flavor or appearance, using things like parsley, fruit slices, or edible flowers.

  • juice :

    to extract or squeeze out the juice of a fruit or vegetable, like a lemon, orange, or carrot, often cutting open or peeling the fruit or veggie first to access its flesh.

  • knife skills :

    Bear Claw (growl), Pinch, Plank, and Bridge (look out for trolls)

  • measure :

    to calculate the specific amount of an ingredient required using a measuring tool (like measuring cups or spoons).

  • simmer :

    to cook a food gently, usually in a liquid, until softened.

  • stir :

    to mix together two or more ingredients with a spoon or spatula, usually in a circle pattern, or figure eight, or in whatever direction you like!

  • whisk :

    to beat or stir ingredients vigorously with a fork or whisk to mix, blend, or incorporate air.

Equipment Checklist

  • Large pot with lid
  • Medium mixing bowl
  • Measuring spoons
  • Can opener
  • Whisk
  • Wooden spoon
  • Liquid measuring cup
  • Cutting board + kid-safe knife
  • Citrus juicer (optional)
  • Soup ladle


Lovely "Laksa" Malaysian Noodle Soup with Freshly Chopped Herb Slaw

  • 1 8-oz pkg rice noodles
  • 1 T soy sauce **(for GLUTEN/SOY ALLERGY sub coconut aminos)**
  • 2 C water
  • 1/2 to 2 T green curry paste
  • 1 can coconut milk, low/reduced fat if available **(for COCONUT ALLERGY sub 1 C dairy or soy milk)**
  • 1 tsp coriander/cumin/curry powder (pick 1 or a combination of all 3)
  • 1 pinch granulated sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch black pepper
  • 3 green onions
  • 1/4 C fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 small ginger root
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil

Food Allergen Substitutions

Lovely "Laksa" Malaysian Noodle Soup with Freshly Chopped Herb Slaw

  • Gluten/Wheat: Substitute coconut aminos for soy sauce in Soup.  
  • Soy: Substitute coconut aminos for soy sauce in Soup.
  • Coconut: Substitute 1 C dairy or soy milk for 1 can coconut milk in Soup.


Lovely "Laksa" Malaysian Noodle Soup with Freshly Chopped Herb Slaw


"Laksa" (LAKH-suh) is a staple dish in Malaysia (muh-LAY-zhee-uh), a country in Southeast Asia. This soup is known for its rich, almost curry-like, broth and a variety of noodles and toppings. This recipe will focus on rice noodles, creating the perfect broth and toppings! Make sure to greet your family with a Malaysian "Hello!" while you prepare this dish together: "Salaam" (SAH-lah-ahm)!

measure + whisk

In a medium mixing bowl, measure and whisk together 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1/2 to 2 tablespoons green curry paste, 1 can coconut milk, 1 teaspoon coriander, 1 pinch of sugar, 1 pinch of salt, and 1 pinch of black pepper.

simmer + measure

Pour the mixture of liquids and spices into a large pot over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring infrequently. Simmer for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, measure 2 cups of water in a medium mixing bowl and place 1 package of rice noodles in the water. Allow the noodles to soak while the pot finishes simmering.

combine + stir

Pour the rice noodles and water into the large pot. Stir the mixture to gently combine. Simmer the mixture for at least 10 minutes. Cover with a lid and remove from the heat.

recipe tip

To thicken laksa that is too watery, simmer for an extra 5 minutes uncovered. This will reduce the water content in the pot, thus increasing the rich curry flavor.

chop + add

Time to make the herb slaw. Roughly chop 3 green onions and 1/4 cup cilantro. Place the chopped onions and cilantro in a medium mixing bowl. Then, peel and mince 1/4 of a small ginger root and add it to the medium mixing bowl.

juice + drizzle + combine

Juice 1 lime into the mixing bowl of herbs. Drizzle the mixture with 1 teaspoon vegetable oil and combine.

serve + garnish

Laksa is a rich noodle soup by itself, but it is made complete after you garnish it with all your favorite toppings. Scoop the noodles and broth into a bowl, then add the herb slaw. The list of garnishes you can add is endless for this delicious, rich soup, such as boiled egg, seaweed, radish, bean sprouts, or sesame seeds.

Surprise Ingredient: Rice Noodles!

back to recipe
Photo by KlingSup/

Hi! We're Rice Noodles!

"Like our name sounds, we're made from rice! Rice flour and water, to be exact. We originally came from China over 2,000 years ago! One shorter variety of Chinese rice noodles has some fun names: "silver needle noodles" are also called "rat noodles," "mouse-tail noodles," or "runny nose vermicelli." 

  • During the Qin Dynasty, Northern Chinese people grew wheat and millet where it was colder, and they ate noodles made with those grains. When invaders from the North invaded Southern China, they began to make their noodles out of rice, which was grown in the hotter southern region of the country. 
  • Eventually, rice noodles were shared with other parts of the world and have become very popular in Southeast Asian cuisine. 
  • In Chinese culture, the noodle is a symbol of long life. For that reason, noodles are traditionally served on birthdays and Chinese New Year as an emblem of longevity.
  • Some varieties of rice noodles include tapioca starch or cornstarch, which can make the noodles more transparent and chewy.  
  • Rice noodles may be thick or thin, round or flat, long or short, but they can be found in many Asian dishes you might know, like "pad Thai" (stir-fry noodle dish from Thailand) and "phở" (Vietnamese noodle soup).
  • Rice noodles are gluten-free, so they are a good substitute for wheat noodles for those with celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, or wheat allergy. 
  • The amount of calories in a serving of rice noodles is similar to a serving of white rice, and both are low in fiber. In addition, they are naturally low in salt, but putting too much soy sauce on them can add extra, unhealthy amounts of sodium.

What is Laksa?

Photo by Teacher Photo/
  • Laksa is a Southeast Asian spicy noodle soup that originated with the Peranakans, who were Southern Chinese settlers to maritime Southeast Asia. This area consists of the countries of Brunei, East Timor, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Singapore. 
  • There are various theories about how laksa first came about. One view is that the word "laksa" came from the word for "noodles" in ancient Persia. In Singapore, they believe that the dish was created after the Peranakans interacted with local Malays in Singapore. 
  • Laksa is made with various kinds of noodles, especially rice noodles cooked in broth or coconut milk and topped with herbs and tamarind paste. Seafood, chicken, tofu, eggs, and beans can also be added. There are different varieties of laksa. In Malaysia, one type cooked in fish broth with mackerel added is "Penang asam laksa" from the Malaysian island of Penang. The "asam" in the name is the tamarind paste, which gives it a tangy flavor.

Let's Learn About Malaysia!

Photo by anythings/
  • Malaysia is a country in Southeast Asia that occupies most of the Malay peninsula and shares a border on its north with Thailand. It is located west of Cambodia and Vietnam and north of Singapore. This part of Malaysia is known as Peninsular or West Malaysia. The country also shares a small part of the island of Borneo with Brunei and Indonesia. This area is called East Malaysia or the Borneo States. The South China Sea separates the two regions by about 400 miles. 
  • Malaysia is multiethnic and multicultural. There are influences from Malaysian indigenous people, the "Orang Asal" ("Original People"). In addition, early settlers from India and China and the effects of British rule have contributed to the country's diversity. British control in Malaysia began in 1795 and ended in 1957. 
  • The government in Malaysia is a federal constitutional elective monarchy, similar to the United Kingdom. The monarch is called the "Yang di-Pertuan Agong," literally "He Who is Made Chief Lord," and is known unofficially as the King of Malaysia. There is also a prime minister and a parliament. 
  • The total land area of Malaysia is 127,724 square miles. That is a little larger than the US state of New Mexico. However, with nearly 34 million people, Malaysia has about 254 people per square mile compared with New Mexico's 2.1 million and 17 residents per square mile. 
  • Kuala Lumpur is Malaysia's largest city and the ceremonial and legislative capital. Putrajaya is the administrative and judicial capital. The official language is Malaysian Malay or just Malay, and English is a recognized language; however, 137 languages are spoken in the country.
  • Rainforests that are thought to be more than 130 million years old take up almost two-fifths of Peninsular Malaysia and two-thirds of East Malaysia. 
  • The Malayan tiger is unique to Malaysia and is depicted on their coat of arms. In addition, several bird species are found only in the mountains of the Malay peninsula and on the island of Borneo. 
  • Malaysia exports petroleum and other natural resources and is one of the biggest palm oil producers. Tourism is the third largest economic contributor. 
  • Association football (soccer) is the most popular sport. Badminton and field hockey are also widely played. "Silat Melayu" is a traditional martial art native to Malaysia that is still practiced.
  • The country's national dish is "nasi lemak," rice cooked in coconut milk and pandan leaf. Its national drink is "teh tarik," made of strong black tea with condensed milk added that is poured back and forth from one container to another to arrive at the right temperature and blend.  

What's It Like to Be a Kid in Malaysia?

  • Malaysian children often live with their extended family, especially if they live in more rural areas, and children are taught to respect their elders. 
  • Kids are required to wear uniforms to school, with their school year beginning in January and ending in November.  
  • Customs and foods vary depending on whether a child comes from a Malay, Indian, or Chinese family. For example, kids may celebrate Muslim holidays like Hari Raya Aidilfitri (Malay for Eid al-Fitr), Chinese holidays like Chinese New Year, or Hindu holidays like Diwali. 
  • Families celebrate the Malaysian Independence Day, Hari Merdeka, on August 31, with fireworks and parades, similar to how the United States celebrates the Fourth of July. 
  • Kids may go to the Perdana Botanical Garden with their families, where they can enjoy beautiful gardens and visit parks with deer, birds, and butterflies. 
  • Other fun activities for kids and families are the theme parks of Sunway Lagoon, Legoland Malaysia, and Berjaya Times Square Theme Park. A combination waterpark and amusement park, the Lost World of Tambun, is also popular.
  • Malaysian kids may enjoy having "ais kacang" (bean ice) as a refreshing treat. They may also like to eat "goreng pisang" (banana fritters). Popular snacks include "Haw Flakes," a Chinese candy made from the Chinese hawthorn fruit, and "Popo Fish Muruku," a fish cracker made from yellow split peas based on a South Indian fried snack.

Lettuce Joke Around

What is worse than finding a worm in the apple that you are eating? 

A half of a worm in your noodle soup!

Lettuce Joke Around

What did one soup lover say to another?

"I'm crazy pho noodle soup!"

That's Berry Funny

My cell phone got wet, so I put it in rice, but I don't think it's working.

The soy sauce just made things worse!

That's Berry Funny

Today I gave out free coriander to those in need.

It was an act of cilantropy (philanthropy).

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