Foo’s Patrick Lynch: The Secrets of Laksa

Laksa as prepared at Foo Asian Street Food. Photos by Deanna Ladret

Chef Patrick Lynch shows us his finished Laksa. Recipe below

Ever wondered how to cook up a noodle bowl you thought you could only get at a restaurant? Or maybe you have made a few noodle dishes before, but aren’t sure if you can deviate from the recipe and have it still taste authentic. Look no further: chef and co-owner Patrick Lynch of Foo Asian Street Food has opened up his kitchen and shared the secrets of Laksa. This popular noodle soup in Malaysia and Singapore is one of Foo’s signature menu items, now about to become your newest go-to weeknight dish.


This sweet and savoury soup is packed with exciting flavours, adaptable to seasonally available produce (with a few exotic exceptions), and can be made any time of year at a relatively low cost. Complex as it tastes, Laksa is the Malay equivalent to our chicken noodle soup––the kind of trick every home cook should have up their sleeve, made all the more impressive by its stylish appearance and decidedly non-American aroma. Laksa is also a great way to use leftover veggies such as squash, broccoli, etc., which tend to languish in various quantities in the crisper. Finally, a use for that other half of the Savoy cabbage that doesn’t involve the word slaw!




Soup base raw ingredients

When making Laksa, keep the basic rudiments in mind when cooking the base (the ‘backbone’ of the dish), but get a little creative and improvise with the vegetable and protein combinations, depending on what’s available in markets or in your fridge. You can view the following as a guideline or framework, rather than a hard-and-fast recipe. Once you’ve got the knack of making the broth, you can try hundreds of variations with vegetables, fish and starch – who says it can’t be served on rice?




You Need:


Rice Noodles (portioned for 3-4 people), soaked in cold water for at least 1-2 hours beforehand. You can also do this days in advance and refrigerate should a Laksa mood strike later in the week.


Laksa ‘Broth’


2 T neutral oil, like canola or grapeseed

2 or 3 cans of full-fat coconut milk (depending on how soupy you want it), Lynch uses Aroy-D brand

4 stalks of lemongrass, mainly the bases, bruised or scored with a knife

handful of kefir lime leaves (fresh frozen is best), roughly chopped

1 T size chunk of galangal (a tuberous looking thing similar in appearance to ginger, which can be bought frozen in Chinatown), roughly chopped

1 T size chunk of ginger, peeled and chopped

1/2 white onion, coarsely chopped

2 cloves of garlic, sliced

2 T MDH brand Meat Masala (available at The Indian Food Market)

1 t turmeric

1/2 puck of palm sugar, or 1-2 T brown sugar

Green chile pepper or Sambal Oelek

Fish Sauce, can be substituted with vegetarian fish sauce or soy sauce for a slightly different flavour

1 lime



Prepped ingredients

Vegetable Ideas

For best results, blanch, steam, or lightly roast beforehand. Try the following:

1/2 cup Kabocha or Butternut squash, cubed

1/2 cup Savoy cabbage, chopped

1/2 cup broccoli

1/4 cup peas, shelled

a few slices of roasted bell peppers

1/2 cup Sui Choy, Bok Choy, or Shanghai Bok Choy, roughly chopped

Any combination of green onions, cilantro, Thai basil, in a quantity that suits your taste


Fresh lime & bean sprouts for finishing


Chef Patrick Lynch sautéing Laksa base ingredients

Protein Ideas


White fish, tuna, prawns, shelled mussels or clams, chicken breast, regular or puffed tofu. Cut up fish, chicken or tofu into small pieces.


Heat oil in a pot over medium high, until it “shines” (whenever you sense that what’s put in the pan will sizzle upon contact).


Add ginger, lemongrass, galangal, garlic, kefir lime leaves, and onion to the pan. Sauté for a minute or two until the onions become translucent. Add the turmeric and masala. Cook for a few more minutes, stirring to ensure everything is coated in the spice mix. Pour in the coconut milk, then the sugar. If you like heat, you can dice up a green chili or add some Sambal Oelek at this point as well. Bring the contents to a boil, then allow to simmer for at least 20 minutes to release the flavours.


Steam or blanch the veggies now if you haven’t done them ahead of time; set aside to cool.


Straining the soup base after simmering

After the broth has simmered, remove from heat and strain through a sieve into a bowl, discard the cooked-down leftovers. Return the liquid to the pot, place back on the burner over medium and zest the skin of 1/2 lime into the broth. Stir and taste––add more if you want. Squeeze half the lime’s juice into the pot, saving the other half to slice up for serving. Add some fish sauce to taste, Lynch used a few liberal squirts which he estimated to be about 1 Tablespoon or so. Aim for an appropriate balance of Hot-Salty-Sweet-Sour.


Add the vegetables. Since they’re already half-done from the steaming, they’ll just need a few minutes to simmer. Add fish/chicken/tofu, stirring a few minutes until cooked through.


Adding pre-soaked noodles and fresh herbs

Add drained rice noodles to the pot, clumped on top of the ‘stew’. Sprinkle the fresh herbs (cilantro, basil, etc) over the surface, then cover the pot for one or two minutes, allowing the noodles to steam down and soften. Gently stir everything together, then spoon into bowls. Finish with bean sprouts, another handful of fresh herbs, and a wedge of lime.





Foo Asian Street Food

769 Yates St.

(250) 383-3111











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