Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In



Homemade Laksa Paste

Trying our Chicken laksa with Brown Rice Noodles recipe? Skip the jarred laksa paste and try our homemade take instead.

Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.

This beautiful laksa paste is a must-have for our Chicken laksa with Brown Rice Noodles recipe. Laksa is the name given to Southeast Asian noodle dish with a rich, flavorful, thick coconut soup base. If there is one thing to know about Southeast Asian cuisine, it’s that they don’t skimp on flavor. This tantalizing broth gets its brilliant red color from the laksa paste, a medley of bold spices, aromatics and flavorings. Laksa paste generally contains dried chilies, shallots, turmeric, lemongrass, tamarind, galangal and shrimp paste. Our version includes all of the aforementioned, as well as makrut lime leaves, cashews and tamari.

While you can purchase pre-made, jarred laksa paste and add a pat to your coconut broth, we strongly recommend trying our homemade laksa recipe instead. This is because prepackaged laksa paste can contain high amounts of sodium, MSG and preservatives. In contrast, our homemade paste contains nothing but wholesome, fresh, incredibly flavorful ingredients. Making the paste from scratch enables you to really control the flavors in your broth. For example, if you’re a lover of heat, bump the red chile count. If you prefer the paste a little more tangy, opt for a little more tamarind paste.

We independently source all of the products that we feature on If you buy from the links on our site, we may receive an affiliate commission, which in turn supports our work.

¾ cup


  • 8 dried red chiles (such as santaka)    

  • 1 large shallot, sliced 

  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed 

  • 2 makrut lime leaves, stemmed 

  • 1 tsp paprika (TRY: Simply Organic Paprika)
  • ¾ tsp ground coriander (TRY: Simply Organic Coriander)
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric (TRY: Simply Organic Ground Turmeric)
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, tough outer portion removed, tender inner parts chopped 

  • 3 tbsp chopped raw unsalted cashews 

  • 1 tbsp chopped peeled galangal 

  • 1 tbsp reduced-sodium tamari (TRY: San J Reduced-Sodium Tamari)
  • 2 tsp shrimp paste 

  • 1/8 tsp tamarind concentrate or raw honey 

  • 2 tbsp avocado oil


1. Place chiles, shallot, garlic and lime leaves in a heat-proof bowl. Cover with boiling water; let stand 15 minutes, until chiles soften. Drain.

2. To a small, dry skillet on medium-low, add paprika, coriander and turmeric. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl to cool.

3. In a food processor, combine chile mixture, spice mixture, lemongrass, cashews, galangal, tamari, shrimp paste and tamarind; process until finely chopped. With machine running, drizzle in oil until a paste forms. Use right away, or refrigerate up to a week. Or freeze in an ice cube tray; transfer to a resealable bag and freeze up to 3 months.