Chicken Khao Soi – Thai Coconut Curry Soup

chicken khao soi

chicken khao soi

Last weekend, I was browsing around trying to find a recipe to make so I can have lunch for the week and came across this recipe in my Bon Appetit magazine. I know, BA again, but I can’t help it and since they have such great recipes :-) Despite being a little labor intensive, I picked this recipe because it asked for guajillo chiles, which I’ve had in my cupboard since this summer! I was planning to make Cook’s Illustrated’s pork tacos, but the weather got bad and didn’t get a chance to make them before grilling season ended in my building (they also required quite a bit of work so I kept postponing them). Also, I  magically had exactly 4 chiles, which is actually how many the recipe calls for. I considered this to be a second sign of why I had to make it :-)

My regular grocery store failed at carrying the ingredients so the dish got postponed by a week. This weekend I finally found time to go to the Asian store and pick up reasonably priced coconut milk (almost half the price, ridiculous!) and egg noodles. The coconut milk was all in Thai with either a “for cooking” or “for dessert” label so I picked the “for cooking” one which I assumed was the unsweetened one. I spent quite a bit of time looking for egg noodles as in the noodle aisle (yes, there is an entire aisle for noodles!) they only had imitation egg noodles. Apparently, the real egg noodles are hidden in the refrigerated section next to the veggies. Thankfully, the store manager likes helping me out though so he found them for me :-) After I picked up the noodles I went into the flour/starch area and picked up a glutinous rice bag and alarmed he explained to me that that is “sticky rice flour” not regular rice flour. I told him that’s the one I needed and I earned a “you cook good food” compliment from him :-) Now, I feel some pressure to make something good with the sticky rice flour ;-)

Making this took me quite a bit of time, so I advise either making it in two-parts (curry paste then the full dish) or making it over the weekend. For a more weeknight suitable coconut curry soup, you can check out this recipe from Dinners for Winners.

Ingredients (serves 6+):

  • Khao soi paste: 4 seeded guajilo chiles, 4 small shallots, 8 garlic cloves, 2 Tb ginger paste (or fresh ginger), 1/4 – 1/3 cup cilantro stems, 1 Tb coriander (toasted, then ground), 1 Tb ground turmeric, 1 tsp curry powder, chiles soaking water
  • 2 Tb vegetable oil
  • 2 cans coconut milk (28 oz)
  • 1 lb skinless boneless chicken breast, quartered
  • 1 vegetable broth concentrate + 2 cups water (or 2 cup chicken broth)
  • a few cups broccoli florets or other veggie
  • 1 lb Chinese egg noodles
  • 2 Tb fish sauce
  • 1 Tb light brown sugar
  • salt to taste (1-2 tsp)
  • lime wedges/juice (optional, but highly recommended)
  • sriracha, bean sprouts, cilantro, etc  to serve

Soak chiles in boiling water for 20-30 minutes or until softened. Make sure they fully submerge. Drain chiles and keep some of the soaking water for the paste. Make Khao Soi paste by placing all the ingredients plus ~ 3 Tb of the chiles soaking water. Process until a smooth paste is formed. You can add more chiles water if it is too dry. 

Heat the oil over medium heat in a large skillet/pot that can be covered. Add the paste and cook for a few minutes until it gets darker in color. This is when your kitchen will start smelling deliciously and the recipe will test your patience to wait for the final result :-)

khao soi paste

khao soi paste

Add coconut milk, broth concentrate and water.

after adding coconut milk and broth

after adding coconut milk and broth

Bring to a boil and add the chicken pieces. Cover pot and simmer until chicken is tender, 25-30 min. Remove chicken from the broth and shred. Add chicken back, add the broccoli and bring to a boil, cover and simmer until the broccoli is tender (~ 7 min). Finish by adding the fish sauce, sugar and salt to taste.

chicken khao soi soup

chicken khao soi soup

Cook noodles according to directions. My 1 lb bag came with 6 rolls so I decided to start with one roll and cook more as needed (you can get ~ 2 servings from 1 roll so I used 1/2 to eat for dinner and 1/2 to pack a one-portion lunch). Bring 1 quart of water to boil, add the egg noodles and leave in for ~ 10 seconds. Drain and wash with water. Place in a bowl.

real egg noodles :-)

real egg noodles :-)

Ladle in some soup over the noodles.

Chicken Khao Soi

Chicken Khao Soi

Squeeze some lime and sriracha in. Serve topped with bean sprouts and cilantro.

Yummy Chicken Khao Soi

Yummy Chicken Khao Soi

This a very flavorful and warming soup that reheats very nicely. I like mine a little spicy so I added quite a bit of sriracha to it :-) While it took some planning/time to make, now I have lunch for an entire week so overall definitely worth the effort!

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18 Responses to Chicken Khao Soi – Thai Coconut Curry Soup

  1. Isn’t coconut milk strange? But it’s great in soups like this.

  2. Sam says:

    I miss Thai food this looks beautiful!

  3. Irene says:

    great eaters think alike :)

    I have the same issue of bon appetite and was looking at it last week thinking to myself i want this for dinner this week. yours look wonderfully delicious!

    • thank you for your nice comment. yes, it looked so great on the cover and exactly what I felt like eating! Bon Appetit manages to capture the seasonal cravings very well ;-)

  4. Alex & Priya says:

    this looks so delicious! thai soups are my favourite kind of soups- can’t wait to try this out! thanks for another great recipe.

  5. looks just rich and spicy and delish…beautiful photos, the slices of lime just make it look so pretty… lovely post..sarah

  6. Bill Peeler says:

    I’m a big fan of thai food and even bigger fan of coconut milk. This looks delicious!!

  7. You and I are so alike in that THIS is the first soup that jumpe out at me from that article! i love the sweet, spicy/hot combination… soooo delicious! I can’t believe you made your own curry paste!!! I am so impressed. It can be difficult for me to find the ingredients that BA calls for, so I probably would have used pre-made curry paste… but I can imagine the result you got making your own was so amazing!

    What do you have planned for that sticky rice flour?… something wonderful, I’m sure ;)

    And thanks for the link to my recipe :) It’s hard to go wrong with a spicy soup this time of year. I almost wish winter would not end!

    • it is indeed a great recipe if you like Thai soups. I have to admit, I would have probably skipped it if I didn’t already have the guajilo chiles in my pantry. I think they have them at the Mexican stores, but you can probably use other chiles as well, maybe even a few fresh Thai/jalapeno chiles?
      I want to make some sesame filled glutinous rice balls with the flour. I haven’t had the time to try it yet, but I will post the results here as soon as I make it…unless it is a complete disaster :-)
      you’re welcome! we finally had a nice snow storm (~10 inches of fluffy snow) and I have to admit I am a bit sad it will all go away soon as the temperatures will rise into the mid-40s this weekend :-/

  8. Karen says:

    I’ve been making a lot of curries during this cold and snowy winter. Now I can’t wait to try your soup as I have all the ingredients…even the guajilo chilies from making pozole.

  9. Looks sooooo delicious! (I love Bon Appetit too).

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