Serves 4
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A bowl of tangy, spicy fish-based rice noodle soup from Malaysian, and prominently in Penang, assam laksa is mostly eaten as a light meal or as a snack. Although assam laksa is generally a healthy dish, it can give you between 300 to 400 calories if you buy it from food stalls. Chef Alexandra Prabaharan has a much healthier version at just 251 calories, which she shows you step by step on how to prepare at home.

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  • 400 g Mackerels
  • 8 cups water
  • Vermicelli Noodles
  • Tamarind , soaked in water, golf ball sized
  • 1 bowl Laksa Leaves
  • 12 Dried Red Chillies, seeded
  • 5 Fresh Red Chillies, seeded
  • 1 Red Onion , diced
  • 2 teaspoon Dried Belachan
  • 1 stalk Lemongrass
  • 1 stalk Lemongrass
  • 2 tablespoon Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 Cucumber, julienned for garnish
  • 1 handful Mint Leaves
  • 1 Bunga Kantan, for garnish
  • 1 Red Onion, for garnish
  • 1 handful Romaine Lettuce , for garnish
  • Red Chilli Padi, for garnish
  • 1/4 Pineapple, julienned, for garnish

In a pot, bring 8 cups of water to boil. Add in 400 g of mackerel and boil for about 10 minutes.


Transfer the cooked fish out into a bowl and let cool. Strain the fish stock.


Pick the flesh out of all the fish and discard the bones. flake the fish meat into tiny pieces and put the fish back into the stock, cover the lid, and lower the heat. boil for 10 minutes.


Using a food processor, grind dried Red Chillies, Red chillies, Onion, Belachan and Lemongrass to a paste.


Using a food processor, grind dried Red Chillies, Red chillies, Onion, Belachan and Lemongrass to a paste.


Heat up a wok and saute the spice paste with cooking oil for about 6-8 minutes or until it smells aromatic and spicy. Set aside.


Add laksa leaves into the stock and let it boil. Transfer the spice paste into the boiling stock.


Extract the tamarind juice by soaking in water and add 1 cup into the stock. For seasoning, add 2 tsp brown sugar, 2 tsp salt and 1-2 tsp fish sauce. Leave to simmer for 5- 10 minutes.


Prepare the noodles by following the packaging instructions. In a serving bowl, add in the noodles and garnish with 1 handful romaine lettuce, mint leaves, cucumber, 1 tbsp pineapple; julienned, bunga kantan, laksa leaves, red onion and chilli padi.

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