Khao soi is a northern Thai dish that can also be found in neighboring countries such as Myanmar and Laos. It's an indulgent noodle dish comprised of a coconut milk curry, tender stewed chicken, and delicious toppings.
Making the curry paste from scratch isn't hard; it just takes a little bit of preparation and it produces a more flavorful dish in the end. You can even make the curry paste ahead of time, such as the night before; just keep it covered in the fridge until you're ready to assemble the rest of the dish.
Feel free to make this khao soi recipe your own. Add more chili for a hotter curry or less for a milder one. Some people like their curry more brothy while others like it thick and creamy, so you can adjust the liquids in this recipe to your preference. Thick or thin egg noodles can be used. What usually stays the same are the garnishes: shallots, lime, fresh cilantro, and chile oil. It's also not uncommon to add a small pile of pickled greens on the top.
- For the Curry Paste:
- 3 dried Thai chile peppers
- 5 small shallots (whole, peeled)
- 4 cloves garlic (peeled)
- 1/4 cup lemongrass (sliced)
- 1 tablespoon turmeric powder
- 1 tablespoon curry powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons coriander seeds (toasted)
- 1 teaspoon makrut lime zest
- For the Curry:
- 3 cups coconut milk (divided)
- 1 cup water
- 1 1/2 pounds chicken legs (drumsticks and thighs separated)
- 12 ounces thick egg noodles
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- Salt (to taste)
- 1 tablespoon chile oil
- Garnish: Sliced shallots, fresh cilantro, lime wedges
Note: While there are multiple steps to this recipe, this curry is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and cooking.
Make the Curry Paste
Gather the ingredients.
Place the dried chiles in a heatproof bowl. Cover with boiling water and let them soak until softened, about 20 minutes. Drain the chiles and reserve the soaking liquid.
In a food processor or blender, pulse the soaked chiles, shallots, garlic, lemongrass, turmeric, curry powder, coriander seeds, lime zest, and 2 to 4 tablespoons of the chile soaking liquid (as needed) to make a paste. You'll have about 1 1/4 cups.
Make the Khao Soi Curry
Gather the ingredients.
In a large heavy pot, heat 1 cup of the coconut milk over medium-high heat. When the coconut milk begins to simmer, add the curry paste and cook, stirring constantly, until the liquid has thickened and reduced, about 5 minutes.
Add water and remaining 2 cups of coconut milk, and bring to a boil. Add the chicken, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer until the chicken is cooked through and tender, 40 to 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook the egg noodles according to the package directions until al dente. Rinse under cold water, drain, and set aside.
Stir the sugar into the soup. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt. Divide the soup and noodles among four bowls and drizzle with chili oil. Serve garnished with shallots, cilantro, and lime wedges.
Serve immediately and enjoy.
Makrut is worth seeking out for its amazingly aromatic peel. Look for it at Asian markets; it's typically available frozen, fresh, and dried. If you can't find it, regular lime zest will do in a pinch.
How to Store Chicken Khao Soi
You can keep this chicken curry in the fridge, covered, for 3 to 4 days. Reheat it in covered saucepan with a little extra water or coconut milk if need be, to thin it out.