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Laksa paste is like a secret ingredient behind all exotic and delicious plates of stir-fried Laksa fried rice and bowls of piping hot laksa noodles.
And I could imagine how dreadful it is cooking your favorite laksa recipes without it.
Well, permit me to twist that dirty notion off of your mind.
Because while you’re busy beating yourself up for running out of laksa paste at the hour of needs, you’re throwing away your one-way ticket to making that laksa dish with something even MORE flavorful.
YES, you heard me right; there are laksa paste substitutes that can swap in and save the day like shrimp paste, Thai red curry paste, Pad Thai sauce, or Thai green curry.
What Is Laksa Paste?
While Laksa is a famous Malaysian noodle soup, laksa paste is the base used in preparing it.
They are a blend of dried chilies, shallots, lemongrass, galanga, spices, turmeric, dried shrimp, and shrimp paste in the food processor. They are then sautéed in a little oil to add flavor and make it pasty.
You can get this paste in your local supermarket at the flavor bases or in the section that offers Asian-inspired products.
If not, try an Asian grocer.
Wondering where Laksa is mostly eaten?
Laksa is originally eaten in Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore. But as time goes by, Laksa is now served in restaurants across the globe.
There are variations of Laksa; most consist of thick rice noodles prepared with spicy broth or delicious coconut soup seasoned with sour asam, with some interesting toppings like prawn, fish, or chicken.
Read Also: Types of Thai Curry Pastes
Best Laksa Paste Substitutes
So, if you’re pondering on what to use to replace laksa paste in a dish, say less.
We’ve outsourced the following alternatives that allow you to whip up a palatable, steamy bowl of noodle soup without the original paste.
Mind you, none of the above replacements imitate the original taste of laksa paste to perfection. But I can guarantee you they will serve you well in your journey to making a spicy noodle soup.
1. Thai Red Curry Paste
We voted Thai red curry paste can hold the fort for laksa paste since they have similar ingredients.
If you’ve made laksa paste at home, then you’d readily agree with me that the majority of ingredients used in both pastes are the same.
For instance, they both have lemongrass, red chili peppers, shrimp paste, galangal, garlic, and kaffir lime leaf.
So consider it an excellent replacement for laksa paste. Although most Thai red curry pastes don’t include kaffir lime leaf in their blend. But if you want the paste to mimic that of Laksa, I suggest you add it.
Moreover, Thai red curry paste is more of a punchy base that looks lavish with an aromatic flavor that is warm with tastes of garlic and ginger.
I bet you’ll come asking for more of this paste. The smell is comforting, heady with spicy aromas and tomato-eye.
The spiciest version is even richer and fiery. I’m pretty sure the taste or heat level varies significantly depending on who makes it.
More than that, Thai red curry paste is versatile and a key flavor base to dozens of other Thai dishes such as soups, stews, and curries, marinades, dressings, Thai fish cakes, and condiments.
It also pairs well with almost everything, whether it is chicken, beef, pork, duck, or shrimp.
Read Also: What Does Red Curry Taste Like?
2. Thai Green Curry Paste
Well, Thai green curry paste can also take the place of laksa paste for two reasons.
First off, they are very similar to red curry paste. The only noticeable difference is in their color –thanks to the green chilies instead of red.
Secondly, the basic ingredients also include cilantro, basil, and kaffir lime leaf, which are the A, B, and Cs of laksa paste.
However, this is just the peek behind the curtain. If you want to know in detail what is green curry paste made of, follow the link.
There we will teach you how you can make your own green paste from scratch with not just the right ingredients but also with the appropriate measurement.
As compared to red curry paste, the green base is less punchy and spicy. It is also has a sweeter and distinctly fresh aroma.
If you are the kind that cherishes aromatic flavors over spicy chili, you will prefer this option over the more pungent, earthy flavors of red curry paste as a laksa substitute.
You can use them in soups, curries, and stews without simmering for long since the paste is so flavorful by itself. Plus, it can be used as a base for your favorite noodles, salad dressing, as well as seafood dishes.
3. Shrimp Paste
Remember some of the laksa paste ingredients?
Well, shrimp paste is among them. And you can use it as a whole for replacing laksa paste in your next soup dish.
They are mostly available in either supermarkets or Asian grocers shop at the staple aisle.
And because they are just finely crushed krill (prawns) or shrimp mixed with salt and then fermented for weeks, you can choose to blend in some kaffir lime leaves, garlic together with lemongrass to get a more authentic laksa taste.
Shrimp paste has a strong smell and tastes savory and salty. It is ideal for most curries, sauces, sambal, and many more.
Read Also: Substitutes For Massaman Curry Paste
4. Pad Thai Sauce
You should be considering pad Thai sauce as well.
The reason is that Pad Thai is traditionally served as a noodle dish but without the soup. It is probably not a bad idea to use the sauce for Laksa.
Pad Thai Sauce is made with oyster sauce, fish sauce, brown sugar, and Tamarind. The Tamarind is the heart and soul of every pad Thai sauce, giving it that sour umami flavor it is known for.
The sauce is not as punchy as laksa or red curry paste, so you can use it with pasta salads or rice noodles for a true Thai experience.
However, if you still crave a more authentic laksa substitute, don’t bother.
It is best if you make your own laksa paste with some everyday ingredients and a blender. If you could get all the ingredients in place, leave the rest for me.
Go to any supermarket or Asian grocery shop and get the following:
Ingredients And Measurements
- 6 dried long red chilies
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- ½ tsp sweet paprika
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp ground turmeric
- 1 brown onion, chopped
- 2 lemongrass stalks, chop only the white part
- 3cm piece galangal, peeled, chopped
- 5 cashew nuts
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 tsp shrimp paste
- 1 tbsp peanut oil. Some may add vegetable or avocado oil
Now let’s make your laksa paste from scratch.
How To Prepare A Homemade Lakse Paste [In Just 5mins]
Start by putting all of your dried chilies in a small heatproof bowl, cover with boiling water. You either let it stand for ten minutes or until it softened before draining the water.
Read Also: Korma Curry Paste Substitutes
Pour the cumin, coriander, paprika, and turmeric in a mini fry pan and heat at medium level.
Cook the mixed ingredient until the aromas start going off and you can smell them. Then allow it to cool.
It’s time to use the food processor. Put the chopped onions, lemongrass, garlic, galangal, chilies, nuts, shrimp paste, along with all of the spice mixture in the food processor.
Process it until it is finely chopped. Add your desired oil. Then process consistently until it turns to a smooth paste.
Tad-Dah! You’ve just made your first laksa paste.
You can either use it right away or put it in an airtight container before storing it in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Summing up, it is crucial to opt for a vegetarian-based laksa paste if you’re a vegan or on a plant-based diet. You can either get them in stores or online.
Or better still, you can prepare your own laksa paste in just 5 minutes with our user guide. That way, you can put some aside, so you won’t have to run helter-skelter when the rainy days come knocking at your dining table.
However, if the grocer is out of stock, you can confidently use any of the above laksa paste substitutes.
These alternatives work just fine; only your recipe won’t taste EXACTLY the same if you were to use laksa paste.
Related Post: Madras Curry Paste Substitutes