Fish Head Asam Laksa Recipe: Malaysian Spicy and Sour Noodle Soup with Grouper Fish Head

Asam Laksa Fish Head Recipe Malaysian Spicy Noodle Soup

Malaysian Asam Laksa Recipe: Spicy Noodle Soup with Grouper Fish Head

Asam laksa  from Malaysia is a sour, fish-based noodle soup. While Indonesian Beef Rendang is the World’s  most delicious foods complied by CNN Go in 2011, Malaysian  asam laksa is listed number 7  from 50 dish. Tamarind or asam (or asam jawa) which is commonly used to give the stock its sour flavor. Besides,  asam keping (also known as asam gelugur), dried slices of sour mangosteen, for added sourness. The modern Malay spelling is asam, though the spelling assam is still frequently used. This asam laksa tamarin-based broth soup  is similiar with Indonesia Pindang Tulang  from Palembang and Chinese  Hot and Sour Beef Soup  .

laksa asam fish head spicy noodle soup

Laksa is a spicy rice noodle soup from the Peranakan culinary, fusion of of Chinese and Malay (Melayu) descent found in Indonesia, Malaysia and also Singapore. Laksa derived from the Sanskrit lakshas (लकशस्) meaning “one hundred thousand” (lakh) and Hokkien Chinese word 辣沙 (Cantonese: [lɐ̀t.sáː]) as “dirty”  and “spicy sand” from the appearance and  the texture of the grounded dried prawns.

fish head asam laksa penang malaysia recipe

Fish Head Asam Laksa Recipe from Penang Malaysia

The main ingredients for asam laksa include shredded fish, usually ikan kembung or mackerel fish,but you can use any kind and also any part of the fish that you like. I’m using a giant grouper fish head, i’m using half of it for making  Woku Belanga Kepala Ikan Kerapu khas ManadoThe laksa asam topping and condiment is quite many, diced cucumber, finely sliced red onion, chopped red bird eye chillies, diced pineapple, lettuce, mint leaves, Vietnamese mint or daun laksa/daun kesum and pink torch gingerblossom(bunga kantan/kecombrang/honje). Authentic version always use daun laksa, either it won’t be laksa for my licking. Asam laksa is normally served with either thick rice noodles or thin rice noodles (vermicelli), but i’m using a low calories egg noodle for this recipe.

laksa leaves daun kesum vietnamese corriander leaves

Laksa Leaves,Daun Kesum, Vietnamese Corriander Leaves, Cambodian Mint from Kem Chick Supermarket

fish head asam laksa recipe malaysia

Resepi  Laksa Asam Pedas Kepala Ikan (Grouper Fish Head Asam Laksa Recipe)

There are two basic types of laksa: curry laksa and asam laksa. Curry laksa is a coconut curry soup with noodles, while asam laksa is a sour fish soup with noodles. Beside fish laksa curry, i love Laksa Ketam or Rice Noodle in Rich & Spicy Crab Curry Soup. Thick rice noodles also known as laksa noodles are most commonly used, although thin rice vermicelli (bee hoon or mee hoon) are also common and some variants use other types.

resep laksa malaysia fish head spicy soupSup kepala ikan asam pedas dengan mie beras maybe the best fish head laksa in Bahasa Indonesia translation. This kind of spicy, hot and also sour with a little touch of natural savoury and sweetness from the broth basic ingredients is a common preparation in Asia. I love everything if it’s got that trio flavour within one dish. Since everybody need and love carbs either it pasta or even noodle, i guess you should mix-match the ingredients. Instead of tamarind paste, you could replace it with vinegar or even lemon juice. You can experiment with the broth basic-flavour with chicken, beef, squid, shrimp or crab, what ever you like then. Beside using noodle, i love asam laksa served with japanese udon too.

Asam Laksa Fish Head Recipe :


  • 1 Garoupa/grouper  fish head (you can substitude with red snapper or any large fish head), cut into pieces
  • 1 pack rice noodle (i’m using low calories noodle), about 250 gr for 4 serving
  • 1 kaffir lime, juiced
  • 3 L water
  • 4 tbsp tamarind paste
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Asam Laksa Spice Paste:

  • 12 shallots(bawang merah)
  • 6 cloves garlic(bawang putih)
  • 12 red chilli/ cayenne pepper(cabe merah)
  • 6 or more bird eye chili (cabe rawit)
  • 3 candlenuts (kemiri/buah keras)
  • 5 cm galagal (lengkuas)
  • 5 cm ginger (jahe)
  • 5 cm fresh turmeric (kunyit)
  • 4 stalks lemongrass, use only the soft white inner part (sereh/serai)
  • 1 tbsp shrimp paste (terasi/belacan)
  • 2 tbsp dried shrimp, soaked with warm water, toasted


  • Vietnamese mint leaves (daun laksa/daun kesum), roughly chopped
  • Mint leaves, roughly chopped
  • Red chilli pepper, finely chopped
  • 10 cherry tomato, halved
  • Torch ginger blossom (bunga kantan/ kecombrang/honje), thinly sliced

diced cucumber

  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • Calamansi lime, halved


  • Season the fish head with lime juice, salt and pepper, set aside

fish head for making laksa asam broth grouper

  • Heat up the oil in a sauce pan, saute the spice paste and the shrimp paste until throughtl cooked and fragrance
  • Pour the water and throw the tamarind paste, bring to boil
step by step asam laksa recipe how to make broth

step by step asam laksa recipe : boil the hot, sour and spicy broth

  • Add the fish head and bring it to boil again
how to make laksa asam penang fish head

step by step asam laksa recipe : boil the fish head and then simmer

  • Once it boil, discard any scum and foam that risen up above the broth
  • When the foam is not present, simmer the broth until the fish is completely cooked and the collagen is released for about 30- 45 minutes
  • Season the broth and adjust the taste
  • For serving, put the noodle in the bottom of the bowl, put the fish head above it and pour the broth.
  • Serve it with the garnish and condiments

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29 thoughts on “Fish Head Asam Laksa Recipe: Malaysian Spicy and Sour Noodle Soup with Grouper Fish Head

  1. You have the most amazing fish recipes among all the blogs I know! This one looks excellent, like all the dishes you post. I had no idea “diet” noodles existed.

    • Hi Dede: Maybe you should also be a food photographer? Your photos are excellent! Sometimes it is difficult to find all of the ingredients here in my country, and at times substitutions are made and they aren’t quite the same. Still, I can almost imagine the flavours by reading the list of ingredients and trying to put them together in my head! Of course, it helps if there is an Indonesian restaurant close by too! 😉 Have a lovely weekend.

  2. This is one of my favourite Malaysian/Indo dish. Always had ordered these and remember the most common fish used was the canned sardines using groper would give it a really nice twist, love the texture of that fish.

  3. Great post Dedy! As usual your photos are gorgeous. This dish looks absolutely incredible. There is a great fresh fish place near me; where the fishermen sell their day’s catch from a little hut on the beach. They don’t waste anything and there is always a tray of fish heads for sale. I’ve been meaning to buy a couple for fish stock, and now I’m very tempted to make your laksa soup.

  4. I love the idea of sour broth in this noodle soup…although I never use fish as a base for noodle soup, I might give this a try…looks so tasty and I love the colors to it.
    Have a great week Dedy, and yes, I am back 😀

  5. Hi Dedy, wow.. your mee asam pedas definitely look inviting and mouthwatering. Asma pedas is our Malaysian favorite. You’re an excellent cook. 2 thumbs up for you.
    Have a great day.

  6. Wow, this looks fantastic! We used to order a similar dish at a local Malaysian restaurant we used to frequent and I definitely miss the wonderful flavors – sounds incredible!

  7. Being a Malaysian myself, you should know how much I love this dish. I am mouthwatering now as I typing in the comment. If Im having this for my meal, I will have no eyes on others except this superlicious assam fish head.

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