Quick and easy khao soi recipe with a flavorful, creamy and spicy Thai coconut curry soup served with soft egg noodles and topped with crispy egg noodles!
If you have never heard of khao soi, it is basically a creamy Thai coconut curry soup served with egg noodles and garnished with deep-fried crispy egg noodles on top. You can also add additional garnishes such as pickled mustard greens, shallots and additional chili oil for more flavor.
This dish is warm, comforting and packed with flavor and is a lot easier to make than you think. Don’t get me wrong. making khao soi from scratch is definitely a labor of love. You will need to put in the effort (and elbow grease) to pound the spices and aromatics into crazy flavourful khao soi curry paste, so if you have the time, definitely try it.
For this khao soi recipe, I don’t go down the route of making the curry paste from scratch and instead make the curry paste an easy way with fewer steps (without compromising flavor) so that we can quickly get this on our table to chow down. 🙂
INGREDIENTS FOR KHAO SOI
- Red Curry Paste – When you are buying red curry paste, make sure to read the ingredient list to make sure it does not have artificial colors and preservatives. It should contain the core ingredients of chili peppers, galangal, lemongrass, garlic, kaffir lime leaves, and shrimp paste. If you want a less spicy and milder soup, use yellow curry paste instead.
- Madras Curry Powder – For the curry powder in this recipe, try to find Madras curry powder. There are many variations of it but at its core, it should contain the basics: turmeric, cumin, coriander, fenugreek, cardamom. Everything extra is a bonus! 🙂
- Coconut Cream & Coconut Milk – For this recipe, I use both coconut cream and coconut milk. The coconut cream gives the soup a creamier texture and it also has a much stronger coconut flavor which enhances the curry soup. Make sure there are no preservatives or thickeners in the ingredient list when you are buying it. I always find that the ones with preservatives taste less coconutty. The ingredients should only be 2 ingredients: water and coconut milk/coconut extract.
- Lemongrass – Lemongrass gives the soup an additional dimension of flavor. While preparing this, make sure to smash it to release the oils but keep it intact so you can easily fish it out of the soup.
- Kaffir Lime Leaves – Kaffir lime leaves are very strong and give a wonderful, fresh flavor to the soup.
WHAT KIND OF NOODLES TO USE FOR KHAO SOI?
The noodles you want to look for are fresh egg noodles, they can sometimes be called steamed noodles, chow mein or egg noodles and can usually be found in the refrigerated section with the rest of the fresh noodles. Look for the signature yellow color noodles with eggs in the ingredient list.
Fresh egg noodles come in different thicknesses. I find the thicker noodles to be tastier with this recipe because there’s a lot more chew to it but if you can’t find the thick ones, the thin ones work just as wonderfully!
KHAO SOI TOPPINGS
One of the most interesting fun things about Khao Soi is adding toppings to tweak it to your flavors and liking. You don’t need to put all of them in, but traditionally this is usually what is served with it. Have fun tweaking the flavors with them! 🙂
Here are a few traditional ideas to start you off:
- Lime wedges – This adds a wonderfully refreshing and tart flavor to the curry and cuts the heaviness.
- Shallots – Adding raw shallots add a bit of spicy heat to this dish. Slice them up thin so you don’t get full mouthfuls of it. (If you find raw shallots too strong to be eaten by the mouthful as is (which I do), you can squeeze a bit of lime juice on it and let it soak for a few minutes before serving it. It will become a mellowed out pickled version with a bit of tang!)
- Chili oil – This adds a bit of heat and flavor to the soup. You can make your own by heating up hot pepper flakes, shallots, garlic and oil in a frying pan on low heat or you can use store-bought chili sauces. I like to use store-bought ones to keep it simple, and I HIGHLY recommend the Spicy Chili Crisp oil by Lao Gan Ma. I always keep a bottle of this in my pantry, and I kid you not this goes on everything (and it’s not super spicy).
- Pickle Mustard Greens – These pickled mustard greens adds a bit of saltiness with a hint of sour. I find it to be more on the saltier side than sour and taste a lot like sauerkraut, so if you can’t find this pickled mustard green – sub it for sauerkraut! 🙂
- Coconut Cream – Sometimes, you just want a bit more coconuttiness in your life. This is where the extra bit of coconut cream comes in right before you eat it.
MY QUICK VERSION OF KHAO SOI CURRY PASTE
If you want a less spicy coconut curry soup, you can substitute red curry paste with a yellow curry paste, but I enjoy the spiciness so I usually use red curry paste.
I am truly a believer that things made from scratch taste better, but sometimes if a shortcut makes sense, I will take it – as long as it doesn’t compromise the flavor. In comes my quick and dirty version of khao soi curry paste.
At its core, Khao soi curry paste consists of these main components: chili peppers, shallots, lemongrass, galangal, ginger, garlic, kaffir lime leaves, shrimp paste, cumin, coriander, turmeric, and black cardamom.
I cheat and take a shortcut by combining a red curry paste and a curry powder to get the same ingredients that you would find in a khao soi curry paste.
- Red Curry Paste – this will give me chili peppers, lemongrass, galangal, ginger, garlic, kaffir lime leaves, shrimp paste
- Madras Curry Powder – this will give me cumin, coriander, turmeric, cardamom
(Note: When you are buying red curry paste, read the labels to make sure they have the ingredients and they don’t contain artificial colors and preservatives)
Put it together with a bit of oil to bind them together and TADA! 🙂 Quick and dirty khao soi curry paste.
SMASH YOUR LEMONGRASS AND KEEP THE AROMATICS WHOLE
Smashing the lemongrass really brings out the oils and flavors so that it can come out in the soup. In addition to smashing the lemongrass, I like to keep my aromatics whole (garlic, ginger, kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass) and not cut them into small pieces so that I can easily fish them out when the soup is done.
TOAST YOUR SPICES
To bring out the flavors of any spices (this includes the curry paste as well), it is always a good idea to toast it in a bit of oil before adding in the liquids to start the soup. When you are toasting the spices and curry paste, you may notice the curry paste occasionally stick to the bottom of the pan and turn brown, this is not a bad thing – this is flavor! 🙂 Once you add the coconut cream and coconut milk, use it to scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pan and you have yourself some serious flavor!
PREPARING THE NOODLES FOR KHAO SOI
One of the best parts about khao soi is the soft egg noodles mixed into the creamy curry soup. To make the egg noodles soft, boil it in boiling water for about 45 seconds to 1 minute (Yup, it doesn’t take much time!).
To get the crispy topping that khao soi is known for, you will need to deep fry the noodles (straight out of the package) for about 40 seconds in hot oil. To easily do this, you can use a small pot and add in about 1-2 cm of oil and set it to medium heat. To check if the oil is hot, you can stick a chopstick into it to see if it bubbles, once it bubbles you’re good to go.
…BUT WHERE’S THE CHICKEN?
I kept this meatless because I find the star of this dish is the curry soup with the crispy and soft egg noodles. Adding chicken to this dish is super easy though, you just add a few chicken drums into the pot right after you are done toasting the coconut cream and spices and let it simmer for 30 minutes with the soup to cook it!! 🙂
LOOKING FOR MORE COZY NOODLE RECIPES? TRY THESE!
- Bo Kho (Vietnamese Beef Stew)
- Bun Bo Hue (Spicy Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup)
- Turkey Udon Noodle Soup
DID YOU MAKE THIS KHAO SOI RECIPE?
If you made this Khao Soi recipe, I want to see! Follow Pups with Chopsticks on Instagram, snap a photo, and tag and hashtag it with @pupswithchopsticks and #pupswithchopsticks. I love to know what you are making!
Thai Coconut Curry Noodle Soup (Khao Soi)
Quick & Easy Khao Soi Curry Paste
- 1 package fresh egg noodles (Set aside a handful for deep frying)
Toppings & Garnishes (Optional, Pick and Choose)
- chili oil
- shallots (thinly sliced)
- pickled mustard greens (chopped)
- lime wedges
- green onions
- extra coconut cream
Prepping the Soup Spices & Toppings
- Peel the first layer of lemongrass and cut the bottom 2/3 of the stalk into 3 cm chunks. (You can discard the top part of the lemongrass that looks dry, it usually won't have any oils or flavor in it.)
- Smash it to release the oils and to keep the stalks intact so we can easily fish it out later in the soup. (I usually use a small rolling pin to smash it, but if you don't have that you can use the blunt back of a knife as well). Set aside for later
- Peel the garlic and smash it, keeping the cloves intact as well and set aside for later
- Slice the ginger and set aside.
- While we have the cutting board out, we might as well prep the toppings! 🙂 Peel and slice the shallots up into thin slices (so you don't get mouthfuls of it), and cut the limes into wedges and chop the pickled mustard greens into small bite-sized pieces and set these all aside on a side plate along with some chili oil and coconut cream for the end.
Making the Quick & Dirty Khao Soi Curry Paste
- In a small bowl, combine the red curry paste, madras curry powder and 1 tablespoon of oil and mix together. Set aside for later.
Making the Coconut Curry Soup
- In a large pot, set the stove to medium heat and add 1-2 tablespoons of oil into it and wait for it to get hot
- Add in the spices (smashed lemongrass, lime leaves, garlic, and ginger) and the khao soi curry paste and toast it for 1-2 minutes. (The curry paste may stick to the bottom of the pan, that's perfectly okay - it's flavor 🙂 )
- Once the spices are aromatic and toasted, add in the coconut cream and coconut milk and if any of the curry paste is stuck to the bottom of the pan, scrape it off with the coconut milk. Cook it for about 1-2 minutes.
- Once the coconut cream has melted and melded with the spices, add the chicken stock, fish sauce and sugar and stir until everything is combined, and wait for the soup to come to a boil
- Once the soup is boiling, turn the heat down to low and put the lid on and let it simmer for 30 minutes
- After 30 minutes, fish out the spices (lemongrass, ginger, garlic and lime leaves) and do a taste test and adjust it to your liking. (If it is not salty enough - add a little bit more fish sauce, if you like your soups a bit more sweet - add a bit more sugar in)
- (Optional) I personally like my curry soup to have a soupy consistency but if you prefer a thicker consistency in the soup, continue to simmer the soup (with the lid removed) for an additional 10-15 minutes to reduce the liquid.
- Keep it on the stove on low heat to keep it hot while you prep the noodles and are ready to serve it.
Deep Frying the Crispy Egg Noodle Topping
- In a small pot, add some oil (about 1-2 cm high) and set the heat to medium and wait until the oil is hot. (To test if the oil is hot, you can stick a chopstick in and see if it bubbles, or throw a small piece of noodle in to see if it bubbles)
- Once the oil is hot, add in a handful of noodles and cook them for about 30 seconds to 1 minute until they are crispy. (I like to use the broken pieces at the bottom of the bag)
- Once it is crispy and done, remove it from the oil to let it cool and set aside for later.
Putting It Together
- Boil some water in a small pot and add in the egg noodles and swish it around for 45 seconds to 1 minute (You don't want to overcook the noodles, aim for al dente)
- Once the noodles are done, strain the water and add the noodles into a serving bowl.
- Add in a few ladles of the piping hot coconut curry soup and top it with the crispy noodles
- Adding in your toppings of choice and enjoy immediately while it is still warm 🙂
- Traditionally, Khao Soi is usually served with chicken but I kept this meatless for days you just want to have a meatless noodle. To add in the chicken, you can add in a few chicken drums into the pot right after you toast the coconut cream and spices and let it simmer with the soup for 30 minutes.
- Pickled mustard greens actually have a very similar flavor to sauerkraut so if you can't find the pickled mustard greens, you can substitute it with sauerkraut! 🙂
- When you are toasting the red curry paste, try not to inhale the fumes - the chilies create a spicy fume that is not pleasant to breathe in 😛
- For a less spicy curry soup, substitute red curry paste with yellow curry paste
- When you are shopping for coconut cream and coconut milk, look at the ingredients list on the can/box and make sure it doesn't contain any thickeners or preservatives. It should only contain water and coconut milk or coconut extract. This makes a big difference in coconut flavor.
All calories and info are based on a third party calculator and are only an estimate. Actual nutritional info will vary with brands used, your measuring methods, portion sizes and more.
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