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#LeithsLoves - Prawn laksa with Thai basil and lime

/ Categories Recipes, #LeithsLoves, #LeithsDiplomaLife / Author:

#LeithsLoves - Prawn laksa with Thai basil and lime

Cooked by diploma student Jan 2020

We're in the second week of the intermediate term, and our diploma students have been creating beautiful, aromatic prawn laksas with Thai basil and lime. #LeithsLoves incorporating food from all over the world into our curriculum and celebrating all that international cuisines have to offer.


For the spice paste
3 stalks lemon grass
4 - 6 red chillies
4cm piece of fresh root ginger
1 tsp shrimp paste
3 shallots
3 cloves garlic
4 tbsp peanut or sunflower oil
A handful of coriander leaves
1 – 1 ½ tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp sugar
3 tbsp tamarind paste

For the laksa
170g 3 - 4mm rice noodles
12 raw king/tiger prawns, uncooked in shell
2 tbsps peanut or sunflower oil
600ml white chicken or fish stock
2 tbsps nam pla (fish sauce)
200 - 300ml coconut milk
Juice of 1 lime, to taste
A handful of coarsely chopped coriander
A handful of coarsely chopped Thai basil

For the garnishes
Bean sprouts
Thai basil
½ cucumber
1 lime
Chilli oil


  1. For the spice paste, chop the lemon grass, chillies, ginger, shallots and garlic finely. Put these ingredients into a blender or small food processor bowl with the shrimp paste and oil and blend until smooth. Add the chopped coriander, turmeric, sugar and tamarind paste and blend until combined. The spice paste can be made a few days in advance, but might increase in chilli heat, so be careful when using it.
  2. Cook the rice noodles according to the packet instructions or soak them in boiling water for 5 – 10 minutes until tender. Drain and refresh them in cold water, drain again and work a little oil through them to avoid them sticking together.
  3. For the garnishes, deseed the cucumber and cut into julienne and cut the lime into wedges. Set the garnishes aside until required.
  4. Prepare the prawns. How much the prawns are prepared is dependent upon whether you think your guests would like to peel their own prawns.
  5. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat, add the spice paste and cook for 3 – 4 minutes, stirring until it is just beginning to brown. This allows the flavours to develop.
  6. Pour in the stock and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and taste. The spiced stock base can be reduced a little if a stronger flavour is required. Remember that coconut milk is going to dilute the flavour a little and make the flavour more rounded. If more saltiness is required add a little more shrimp paste.
  7. Stir through the fish sauce and coconut milk.
  8. Just before you are ready to serve add the prawns and heat gently. Simmer for 3 - 4 minutes or until the prawns are cooked. Once cooked, the prawns will change colour from grey to pink and curl up.
  9. Season with lime juice if necessary and add the herbs. Divide the noodles between four bowls, pour over the hot broth and top with the bean sprouts, Thai basil leaves, and cucumber. Serve with a wedge of lime and add chilli oil if more heat is required.

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