Laksa Pesto Recipe

Laksa Pesto

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  • 2 bunches of laksa leaves (about 2 large handfuls of the plucked leaves)
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp maggi seasoning
  • 1 tsp light soya sauce
  • sea salt & cracked black pepper
  • 3 tbsp of XO sauce, or 3 large mild chillies, seeds removed if you want the heat milder
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 bulb of garlic, intact
  • 16 prawns
  • 12 quails eggs
  • chilli powder
  • butter
  • half a cup of white wine

  • 2 quantities of fresh egg pasta.

How to make Laksa Pesto

I've tried a couple of variations of this dish in restaurants and in a friend's place, so decided to try making my own version. I didn't exactly measure out all the ingredients, but I've tried to include rough guidelines, so please feel free to tweak it to your liking. Any suggestions are welcome. Due to the amount of savoury seasoning I include, what I suggest is that you try making the pesto first (perhaps with reduced amounts of the seasoning), then taste it and add extra seasoning/salt if you feel it's lacking. Laksa leaves have a pretty strong aroma, but I think the flavour is fairly delicate so don't be shocked if it looks like there are a lot of leaves! If you have extra, just use them all!

Also, I recently made this with home made egg tagliatelle which I think goes awesomely with this dish as the sauce is fairly simple and dry - and it really sucks up all the flavour. (Serves 4 people with healthy appetites)

  1. Slice off about 2mm from the top of the garlic bulb, drizzle with a bit of olive oil (not extra virgin), and sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper. Scatter a pinch of salt and pepper, then bake for 40min in an oven preheated to 150°C. When baked, remove from oven, leave to cool then set aside.
  2. Pick the laksa leaves and blitz them in a food processor or very finely chop. Pick out any long stringy bits, and blitz again. Squeeze the soft, caramelized garlic flesh out of the bulb into the food processor (you might want to roughly mash it a bit first), and blitz again.
  3. Chop the red chillies roughly, add to the food processor and blitz again.
  4. Scrape all the green stuff out of the food processor and place it in a bowl big enough to toss all the (cooked) pasta in. Add the soya sauce, fish sauce, sesame oil, maggi seasoning, and a dash of pepper. Mix well. Add in enough extra virgin olive oil to loosen the mixture, but you don't want it to be swimming in oil (roughly ¼ cup? add half the amount first and slowly add till you think you've got enough). Mix well again with a fork or whisk, and set aside.

(Steps 1 to 4 can be done in advance. Just keep the pesto covered and in a cool place - try not to do it too early in advance as you'll have to refrigerate it and the oil will become gross.)

  1. Prepare the pasta as per this recipe. Hang the noodles on a rack like in the picture, or twist into bunches (gently) and cover on a tray with a damp towel.
  2. Peel and devein prawns, then heat up the butter and a small splash of oil (to temper it) in a saucepan. Add the prawns in, and sauté gently until half pink (they shouldn't be fully cooked yet). Season with salt and pepper, then add in the white wine, and cook on low heat until the wine has evaporated. Set aside.
  3. Place the quails eggs in a saucepan, and cover with cold water until it covers them by 1cm. Bring to the boil and simmer for 2 minutes. Turn the heat off and plunge into an ice bath to arrest the cooking. Peel, and set aside.
  4. Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water. Drain the pasta in a colander, reserving some of the cooking water, and place the noodles in the bowl with the pesto. Add the prawns in. Toss to make sure each noodle is coated in the pesto, and then divide evenly among 4 serving places.
  5. Slice each quails egg in half, arrange around the pasta, and garnish with a sprinkle of chilli powder.
  • yongfook
    yongfook says


  • rachel
    rachel says

    :p made the laksa pesto tonight, and have put the "real" picture up!

  • yongfook
    yongfook says


  • yongfook
    yongfook says

    p.s. to other readers, the "haha" was because the initial pic was simply a sign saying "sorry I ate it before I could take a picture - pic coming later!".

  • rachel
    rachel says

    haha yes i'm very greedy. but wanted to post the recipe nonetheless. :p

  • telliecoin
    telliecoin says

    omg how awesome.. laksa pesto.. i would've never thought of it on my own..

  • telliecoin
    telliecoin says

    maybe you should say what those laksa leaves are exactly.. it differs with different types of laksa, in typical "penang" style laksa that I make, I use mint leaves, i'm not sure if it's the same

  • rachel
    rachel says

    good point. the type i'm referring to are called (in Singapore and Malaysia at least) duan laksa, and are otherwise known as [vietnamese coriander]( Sometimes it's also called vietnamese mint, but it is by no means the same thing as the "usual" mint we use in european (and many other) recipes. hope this clears things up a bit.

  • Judy
    Judy says

    this looks verry yummy :) interesting use of eggs too!

  • Enchante
    Enchante says

    where can you find these laksa leaves? I don't think I've seen it in my Cold Storage...

  • rachel
    rachel says

    which Cold Storage is that? it's usually in stock at the ones at Jelita and Holland Village (nearest me)... somewhere around the shelf where they sell those packets of fresh rosemary, thyme etc? Or near the curry leaves and bunches of mint. :p

  • Enchante
    Enchante says

    Ok thanks! Will take a look in HollandV then. I guess the Cold Storage in Takashimaya is not a good place to go for anything other than Japanese ingredients =oP

  • rachel
    rachel says

    Well, actually try Jelita. I usually find that their vegetable section is a fair bit fresher than the Holland V one. :p

  • LittleChi
    LittleChi says

    Wow! This looks amazing! Will definitely try it.

  • sgtoca
    sgtoca says

    what is maggi seasoning? this dish sounds and looks like pasta with an south east asian twist, scrumptious!

  • rachel
    rachel says

    sgtoca: maggi seasoning is.. hrm. i don't actually know what's IN it. but it's a savoury seasoning that just seems to do the trick here. :p i get it in supermarkets fairly easily in the states as well as in certain parts of asia..

  • whatsound
    whatsound says

    very interesting and creative dish. i must try making it! XO sauce..yummm ;)

  • theory
    theory says

    This looks sublime. More than anything this makes me wish I lived in a country that sold laksa leaves :(

  • beet1ebug
    beet1ebug says

    Is it ok to just use mint sauce instead of having to blend the mint leaves?

  • rachel
    rachel says

    @beet1ebug: no that doesn't work, as it's not actually conventional MINT you want, but laksa leaves (aka vietnamese mint) which are more similar to curry leaves.

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