This recipe turns laksa’s spicy, flavor-rich soup into a rich curry sauce for pan-seared prawns. Instant laksa paste does all the legwork, while coconut milk and a squeeze of lemon tames the hot spices. A swirl of cold butter at the end augments the sauce with a high-gloss, velvety body. Serve it solo, with rice or bread to soak up the sauce, or over noodles for a dry laksa situation.
What ingredients go into laksa paste?
Laksa’s robust flavor comes from rempah, or spice paste in Malay, which requires anywhere from 3 to 20 ingredients.
The exact ingredients can vary based on regional preferences. Here’s what you’ll often find: garlic; galangal; lemongrass; shrimp paste (or belacan); spices like turmeric, cumin, and coriander. These ingredients are pounded or blended together to form a paste. It’s a lot of work to prepare from scratch, even for locals!
For this recipe, you can use whatever laksa paste you find in the grocery.
Emulsified butter = rich, velvety sauce
When you finish a sauce with cold butter, it takes on a smooth, rich, and glossy texture.
In culinary terms, this technique is called monter au beurre, meaning "mount with butter". Cold butter, swirled bit by bit into a pan sauce, gives it a richer body. This process—most importantly, the swirling action—combines the butter and sauce into one homogenous mixture, forming an emulsion.
You’ll need to serve this dish as soon as you’re done cooking, because the emulsion won’t last forever! As long as the sauce is warm, you’ll enjoy a butter-enriched sauce. But once the sauce is cooled or reheated, the butter will separate.