One of my favorite Thai dishes is khao soi, the curried noodles that hail from Northern Thailand. With a variety of textures and loads of rich broth, it makes a satisfying meal. Recently, my Bangkok Glutton friend Chow arranged for her aunt to share their family’s recipe for khao soi with us.
We returned to Chow’s kitchen to try our hand at recreating the recipe. While the results were good, it is safe to say that we are going to need a lot more practice before Chow’s aunt has anything to fear from our competition!
Khao soi is made with egg noodles. There are a variety of types, but if you have an Asian market in your city, any fresh egg noodles will do. The noodles are split into two batches: one that is blanched in boiling water and the other that is fried to make a crunchy garnish.
The fried noodles are easier to make than I expected, not requiring much oil at all. The resulting crispy noodles are addictive. Hard to not eat them before finishing the rest of the cooking!
The base of the khao soi is a yellow curry combined with a fried mixture of ginger and shallots. You can use any yellow curry paste available at your local Asian market. The better the quality paste, the better the flavor, of course.
Like many curries, coconut milk is added to create richness. You can use a “lite” coconut milk or add some broth to thin it out. For the meat, you can use any type of meat you like. Beef and chicken are more traditional but pork or firm tofu would be fine. The flavor of the curry might overwhelm shellfish, though.
Like all noodle dishes in Thailand, proper khao soi is served with a variety of condiments. Here, you have dried chili flakes, chopped green onions and coriander, fresh shallots, chili oil, minced pickled cabbage (rinse off some sauerkraut as an easy substitute), and fresh lime.
The end result looked fantastic and tasted good. Getting the proper balance of flavors – fish sauce and sugar need to be added to taste – is where the secret of a true khao soi master lies. Again, Chow’s aunt has nothing to worry about!