Recipe: Penang Asam Laksa

With the worrying Covid numbers lately, it’s best to stay home and avoid going out unless necessary. Here’s a recipe for a good old Penang Asam Laksa to help with the cravings!

Penang Asam Laksa

By Margarita Lee

Margarita Lee

Ingredients A:

  • 1kg Fish (Parang, Tenggiri or Kembong)
  • 1 large can Sardines
  • 3L Water
  • Laksa noodles

Ingredients B:

  • 30 Dried chillies
  • 20 Fresh chillies
  • 2 pcs of Belacan
  • 20g Fresh kunyit (turmeric)
  • 300g Shallots

Ingredients C:

  • 5 bunches of Daun kesum (Vietnamese mint)
  • 5 sticks of Bunga kantan (torch ginger) – cut into half lengthwise
  • 50g Tamarind soaked in 1 cup of water, squeezed and strained
  • 20g Dried asam keping (tamarind pieces)
  • 10 sticks of Serai (lemongrass) – lightly smashed
  • 50g Lengkuas (galangal) – sliced thinly
  • 20g (2 tbsp) Belacan powder


Mint, sliced onion, cucumber strips, sliced fresh pineapple, chopped chillies, pickled garlic and Heko (dark prawn paste)


  • 2 tbsp sugar or to taste
  • Salt to taste
Photo by Margarita Lee


  1. Grind Ingredients B into a paste with a mortar and pestle, or in a food processor. 
  2. Steam fish for about 10-15 minutes.
  3. Remove fish, let it cool, then remove and discard bones. Shred the fish meat by hand (to avoid bones) and set aside for later use.
  4. Boil Ingredients B and C with 3L of water. Add tamarind juice and asam.
  5. Add in fish and sardines. Simmer for another 10 minutes.
  6. Add salt & sugar to taste.
  7. To serve, put a handful of laksa noodles in a metal strainer and immerse in a pot of boiling water to scald the noodles.
  8. Drain and place into a bowl. Pour a ladleful of laksa soup or gravy over the noodles and top with the garnishing.
  9. Drizzle prawn paste to taste and serve hot.


Check out more of Margarita’s recipes on her FB @ Umummy Food!


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See Foon

SeeFoon Chan-Koppen has been writing a food column called Musings on Food in the Ipoh Echo since 2009. It is widely read both in print as well as online which receives more than 1 million hits a month. Her forte is in communications, having honed her skills after graduating from the University of Singapore where she worked for the Straits Times Group and was a food critic for the New Nation. Her knowledge of food and cooking come from more than 30 years in the hotel industry based in Singapore, Tokyo, Hong Kong and subsequently Kuala Lumpur. During this time, she has travelled all over the world and eaten at the best and worst restaurants. She is totally intimate with the subtleties and nuances of most cuisines of the world having been involved in opening over 50 hotels throughout the Asia/Pacific region and China where she helped to conceptualize Food and Beverage themes and critiqued on food quality. SeeFoon calls herself a global citizen and now chooses the serenity and friendliness of Ipoh to the bright lights of the many cities she has lived in. She also loves the food in Ipoh and is passionate about telling the world about it.

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