The Scrappy Chef Created with GEICO

Clean Out the Freezer

Leah Cohen takes frozen shrimp and creates a Southeast Asian-inspired dish.

by VICE Staff
Sep 13 2019, 2:05pm

Journey to the back of the freezer with Leah Cohen, turning frozen crustaceans into a Southeast Asian-inspired feast for the senses.


For the broth
1 qt. Shrimp or chicken stock, made with leftover shells or bones, respectively
(1.5) 14 oz. cans Coconut milk
1/2 cans Evaporated milk
For the paste
8g Dried shrimp (soaked in water for 30 mins)
18g Dried chili, seeded and soaked
1/2 cup Canola oil
18g Garlic cloves, whole
50g Shallots or onion
38g Lemongrass, thinly sliced
10g Galangal or ginger, diced
1/2 tsp. Turmeric, ground
1/2 tsp. Coriander seeds (optional: toasted)
1/4 tsp. Pepper, ground
1/2 oz. Candlenuts or cashews
2 1/2 tbsp. Sugar
1 1/2 tbsp. Salt
2 tbsp. Fish sauce
Assembly ingredients
16 Prawns or shrimp, thawed if frozen, and deveined.
1 lb. Rice noodles
20 Tofu puffs (fried tofu, but standard cubes would work)
1 cup Bean sprouts
1 pack of Fish cakes, thinly sliced
1 cup Laksa leaves or local mint
1/2 cup Cilantro leaves
4 Lime wedges (garnish) Sambal


  1. Blend all of the paste ingredients together, except for the fish sauce.
  2. Heat the paste in a sauce pot on medium heat, and cook for 15-20 minutes until the raw smell of garlic, lemongrass, etc. dissipates.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients for the broth into the pot. Bring to a boil, and simmer for 20 minutes. Adjust seasoning with more salt/ sugar, to taste.
  4. Poach the shrimp or prawns.
  5. Add tofu to the broth and cook for 5 minutes to soak in the flavor.
  6. Boil the noodles in a pot of water and drain.
  7. Heat fish cakes in water for 30 seconds, drain.
  8. Separate noodles into 4 bowls.
  9. Ladle the laksa broth over noodles and garnish with fish cakes, sprouts, shrimp/ prawns, laska/mint, cilantro, lime squeeze.
  10. Serve with sambal on the side.


For the Sambal
30g Dried chili, seeded and soaked
150g Canola oil
55g Fresh chili
10g Salt, 10g Sugar
55g Shrimp paste, thawed if frozen


  1. Blend everything (using only half of the oil) into a paste.
  2. Heat the remaining oil and fry paste over medium heat for 10-15 mins, or until deep red.
  3. Serve laksa with 4 tsp. of sambal. Freeze the rest, or store the fridge for 1 month.

    Created with GEICO.