I could feel my stress float away and relaxation take its place, like it always does whenever I’m about to open my new issue of Bon Appetit. But before I could open it, Dom saw the glistening pictures on the cover of what looked like a Thai version of some kind of Thai chicken soup, and freaked out.
“Whoa!! I haven’t had Khao Soi in forever!! I want some!”
Dom doesn’t usually get overly excited about many things, since he is a chill Thai guy, so that woke me up that I had to make Chicken Khao Soi as soon as possible. Especially since I had never eaten it before!
This Burmese-influenced dish is popular in the cooler, mountainous area of northern Thailand, and isn’t found much in Bangkok. Like in America and most countries, Thailand has regional food. Soups, like Sukhothai Noodle Soup are hard to find, made well, outside of Sukhothai. Chicken Khao Soi is another one of those dishes that when you are up north, you just have to stop and eat it before going south.
So I followed the Bon Appetit recipe, with some tweaks of my own, and we loved it! Dom hadn’t eaten it in so long he couldn’t tell if the recipe was authentic or not, but whatever we concoted was good. Then two weeks later we met friends who had been missionaries in Southeast Asia, and had lived in northern Thailand for awhile. When I asked them to come to our place for Thai food, Dom asked if they would want Chicken Khao Soi for dinner.
Since they had had it more recently than us, they said it was very delicious, but that usually the dish is more of an orange-ish color than yellow. It must have been because the curry powder and turmeric in America isn’t quite the same as in Thailand. But either way it’s delicious. It sort of reminds me of a Thai curry dish because of all the creamy coconut milk, but the noodles make it a lovely soup.
Try it and let me know what you think. And if you’re very familiar with Chicken Khao Soi, let me know more about it!
In the mood for a creamy, coconut Thai soup for dinner? Check out this Thai recipe for a Thai soup popular in northern Thailand!
Khao Soi Paste
- 4-8 dried Thai chili peppers (depending on spice preference)
- 2 medium shallots, halved
- 10 garlic cloves
- 1 2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and sliced
- 1/4 c. chopped cilantro stems
- 1 Tbsp. ground coriander
- 1 Tbsp. ground turmeric
- 1 tsp. curry powder
- 2 tbsp. coconut oil (or cooking oil of your choice)
- 2 14-ounce cans of unsweetened coconut milk (Chaokoh Brand works best in my opinion)
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 2 lb. skinless, boneless chicken thighs, halved lengthwise
- 1 lb. Chinese egg noodles
- 3 tbsp. or more of fish sauce
- 1 tbsp. palm sugar or brown sugar
- 2 cups fresh bean sprouts
- 1 cup chopped cilantro
- 1/2 cup crispy fried shallots
- 1-2 limes quartered
- chili oil to taste
Khao Soi Paste
- Place chiles in small bowl and add boiling water to cover. Let soak until soft for 25-30 minutes.
- Drain chiles and save soaking liquid.
- Puree chiles, shallots, garlic, ginger, cilantro stems, coriander, turmeric, curry powder and 2 Tbsp. of soaking liquid in food processor. Add more liquid by tablespoonfuls if you need to until it's smooth.*Or you can be hardcore and use your mortar and pestle to puree the ingredients, instead of a food processor. Sadly we live on the second floor now, so I didn't want to irritate my neighbors by my bok-boking on the floor. But feel free to use yours if you want!
- Heat oil in heavy pot over medium heat. Add khao soi paste. Cook stirring constantly for 4-6 minutes until darkened. Really make sure you cook it for at least 4 minutes or you won't get as much flavor.
- Add coconut milk and broth. Bring to a boil.
- Add chicken and reduce heat and simmer until chicken is fork-tender, 20-25 minutes.
- Transfer chicken to a plate and shred it. Or you can be lazy and improper like me and shred it with a fork and knife in the pot.
- Cook noodles according to package directions.
- Add chicken, fish sauce and sugar to taste to soup. Divide soup and noodles among bowls and serve with toppings.