So this is my first blog post in a while, soz guys. I’ve been a bit preoccupied. Christmas is crazy, isn’t it? But so worth it, as I think I actually just had the best Christmas ever.
But after alllllll the turkey, the pigs in blankets, the stodgy leftovers, I needed something spicy and full of veg. So I looked back to my time in Thailand as a trusty source of inspiration. And it didn’t fail me…
What is khao soi?
Khao Soi is a traditional dish eaten in the North of Thailand. It’s said to be heavily influenced by Burma because if the lack of coconut milk in Northern Thailand, it was made with a Burmese alternative.
In a nutshell, Khao Soi is a fragrant, spicy, curry-tasting bowl of noodle soup topped with fried, crispy noodles and garnished with onions.
It’s popular in Chiang Mai (I love that city!) but I actually first discovered it with friends on the island Koh Tao, where my friend Dean who’d lived in Thailand for some time told me about it.
Now let me say this, I love curry, I adore noodles and I love a good Asian soup too. This dish, in all its glory, combines all three of those elements so perfectly you would not believe.
I love noodle soups from all over Asia (Vietnamese pho, Japanese ramen and Malaysian laksa) but for me, Thailand takes the crown with this incredible, classic dish.
Veggie and vegan alternatives
The exact dish in this post, although contains no ‘meat’ per se, isn’t vegetarian. I used a Thai red curry paste from Waitrose for the basis which contains shrimp paste (the ingredient that gives you that really authentic, tangy-Thai taste). And the broth I used was one of those chicken stock cube melts. To make this dish suitable for vegans and veggies, simply use a veggie broth instead, and use a vegan-friendly curry paste. I can recommend this one from Blue Dragon!
This dish, to me, sees my two favourite cuisines in the whole world (Indian and Thai) come together in some sort of glorious harmony. Let me know if you give it a go!
What you need
- 3 nests of medium egg noodles
- coconut oil
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 banana shallot, thinly chopped
- 2 hot chillies (I use one red, one green)
- Thai red curry paste (or yellow, but not green)
- veg (I used tender stem broccoli, a red pepper, green beans), roughly chopped
- 400ml tin full fat coconut milk
- 300ml good-quality stock
- Soy sauce, salt and sugar to taste (see recipe)
- 2 tsp curry powder (and a pinch of turmeric, if you have it)
- 1 fresh lime
- fresh coriander leaves, chopped, to serve
- spring onions, thinly sliced, to serve
What to do
- If you’re using dried noodles, cook these as per packet instructions and drain.
- Heat some coconut oil in a large, deep frying pan and add two handfuls of cooked noodles. This is to make the crispy noodle topping! Fry until crispy, turning occasionally (about 6-7 mins). Set aside on some kitchen paper for later.
- Heat some more oil in the same pan and add the sliced shallot and garlic. Stir-fry on a medium heat for 2-3 minutes to soften. Add two tablespoons of Thai red curry paste and stir thoroughly, letting it heat through. Add half the fresh chillies. Next, add the chopped veg and stir to coat in the paste. Add two heaped teaspoons of curry powder and a pinch of turmeric (if using) and stir thoroughly.
- Allow the mixture to cook on a medium heat for about 5 mins, stirring as needed.
- Next, add some of the coconut milk and stir to combine. Add the stock and stir well, bringing it to a gentle simmer. Once simmering, add the rest of the coconut milk slowly and continue stirring.
- Next is the fun bit, where you add soy sauce, salt, sugar and lime juice to taste. I added a small dash of dark soy sauce, a small pinch of sugar, the same for salt and the juice of half a lime. You are aiming for a balance where you can taste the curry, the coconut, the zest of the lime and a salty-sharp kick. Taste and adjust, or if in doubt, just go with my recommendation!
- Now, to bring it all together. Divide the cooked egg noodles (not the crispy ones!) into deep bowls, then use a ladle to top them with the khao soi broth, lots of veggies and a bit more broth for good measure.
- Top the bowl with the nest of crispy noodles, then garnish with sliced green onions, fresh chillies, a lime wedge and fresh coriander leaves to serve!