This Khao Soi recipe features chicken cooked in a rich, creamy, and spicy coconut curry soup with soft egg noodles and topped with crispy noodles! It’s the perfect combination of flavors and textures for an irresistible dish you won’t get enough of!
Table of Contents
- What is Khao Soi?
- Why You’ll Love This Khao Soi Recipe
- Ingredients You’ll Need to Make Khao Soi
- How to Make Khao Soi (Step by Step)
- Joyce’s Tips For Making the Best Khao Soi
- Serving Suggestions
- Recipe Variation Ideas for Khao Soi
- Frequently Asked Questions
- How to Store Leftover Khao Soi
- Recipes To Use Up Leftover Thai Curry Paste
- More Thai Recipes You May Like
- Did You Make This Khao Soi Gai Recipe?
- Recipe Card
- More Noodle Recipes You May Like
My easy khao soi recipe uses a quick curry paste to get that authentic, traditional flavor at home with ease. So even if this is your first time trying this dish, you’ll have no problem at all with my step-by-step instructions. Try this dish tonight and you’ll find out exactly why it’s so popular!
It’s incredibly versatile, and you can tailor the garnishes and toppings to your liking, from the tangy lime wedges, crunchy bean sprouts to the deep-fried crispy egg noodles topping. It’s a great way to introduce a bit of exotic flavor to your everyday meals because you can customize this anyway you like!
Read on to learn exactly how to make this delicious khao soi recipe today!
What is Khao Soi?
Khao soi is a traditional Northern Thai, Laos, and Burmese dish that’s made with creamy coconut curry soup and served with soft egg noodles. This incredible dish is also known as Khao Suey in Burma or Chiang Mai Noodles in Northwestern Thailand.
This recipe is a flavorful fusion of tender chicken thighs, aromatic spices, and soothing coconut milk, all served over a bed of soft egg noodles. The dish is typically garnished with crispy fried noodles, adding a delightful crunch to this savory soup.
What makes this dish stand out from the rest is the incredible mix of flavors and textures. From the creamy richness of the curry soup to the crunch of the deep-fried noodles, this dish is unlike anything you’ve had before! It’s comforting, warm, and packed with flavor in every bite.
Why You’ll Love This Khao Soi Recipe
Delicious: This Khao Soi is a crowd-pleaser, delivering a balance of creamy, spicy, and tangy flavors, enhanced by the crunch of deep-fried crispy egg noodles. The addition of coconut cream lends a rich, robust coconut flavor that makes this dish truly unforgettable.
Quick and Easy Khao Soi Curry Paste: This recipe uses a clever cheat method that doesn't compromise on flavor. By using ready-made curry paste combined with curry powder, you can whip up a flavorful Khao Soi in a fraction of the time it would take to make it traditionally.
Family-Favorite: With its creamy coconut curry soup and soft egg noodles, this Khao Soi is bound to become a family favorite. The added bonus of optional toppings like chili oil, shallots, or pickled mustard greens means everyone can customize their bowl to their taste.
Ingredients You’ll Need to Make Khao Soi
All you need are some incredibly simple, pantry-staple ingredients to make this delicious khao soi recipe at home.
Here's an overview of the specific ingredients for this recipe. For the exact ingredients and measurements, please scroll to the recipe card below.
- Egg Noodles: These noodles will provide the backbone of the dish, offering a satisfying chewy texture. A handful will be set aside for deep frying, adding a delightful crunch to your Khao Soi. The noodles you want to look for are fresh Chinese egg noodles, they can sometimes be called steamed chow mein or egg noodles and can usually be found in the refrigerated section with the rest of the fresh noodles at an Asian grocery store. Look for the signature yellow color noodles with eggs in the ingredient list. They also come in different thickness like the photo above.
- Chicken Drums: An optional ingredient that adds a hearty, meaty element to your soup. Traditionally, khao soi is served with chicken drumsticks, but you can also use chicken breast or chicken thighs. But I like to use drumsticks because it is cheap and the easiest and quickest to cook (and it stays moist).
For the Khao Soi Curry Paste:
- Thai Red Curry Paste: This paste adds a powerful punch of flavor and heat to your Khao Soi. 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. For a less spicy version, you can substitute it with yellow curry paste.
- Madras Curry Powder: This aromatic spice mix will deepen the flavors of your dish, contributing to the complexity of your curry soup. There are many variations of it but at its core, it should contain the basics: turmeric, cumin, coriander, fenugreek, and cardamom. Everything extra is a bonus! If you can't find madras curry powder, the standard yellow curry powder at the grocery store will work too.
- Oil: Used to combine the curry paste and curry powder together to help the flavors meld with each other. I use avocado oil.
- Turmeric: An optional ingredient, it adds a beautiful golden color and a warm, earthy flavor to your soup.
For the Soup:
- Lemongrass: This aromatic herb imparts a citrusy note to your soup, balancing out the richness of the curry. 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 give a wonderful, fresh flavor to the soup. I highly recommend using this ingredient because it gives a lot of flavor to this soup. If you can't find it you can double up on the lemongrass.
- Garlic: A crucial ingredient in many recipes, garlic lends a pungent, garlic note to your Khao Soi.
- Chicken Broth: This forms the basis of your soup, providing a rich and savory liquid to carry all the other flavors. You can use any type of broth, but I like to use chicken.
- Coconut Cream: This ingredient gives your soup a creamy texture and a subtly sweet, coconut flavor. Full-fat coconut milk can be used as a substitute. I have also used the pure creamed coconut that comes in a small box in a solid brick form, and it gave the soup a FANTASTIC coconut flavor. If you can find those, I would definitely recommend them.
- Palm Sugar or Brown Sugar: This ingredient adds a subtle sweetness that balances the savory and spicy elements of the soup.
- Fish Sauce: This condiment adds a salty, umami layer of flavor to the soup, enhancing the other ingredients.
Topping & Garnishes (Optional - Pick and Choose)
- Crispy Egg Noodles: Set aside some egg noodles (I like to use the broken small bits from the bag). Cut them into smaller pieces and deep fry them for 1-2 minutes
- Chili Oil: An optional topping that adds a fiery kick to your Khao Soi. 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 it's not super spicy.
- Shallots or Red Onion: These provide a sharp, slightly sweet onion crunch that contrasts beautifully with the creamy soup. Slice them up thin so you don't get large spicy mouthfuls of it. (If you find raw shallots or onions too strong to be eaten raw, 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!)
- Pickled Mustard Greens: These offer a tangy contrast to the rich, spicy soup. If you can't find it, sauerkraut can be substituted or it can be omited.
- Lime Wedges: Cut a few wedges of lime and squeeze the juice on top of your noodle bowl after it has been assembled, right before you eat it. This adds a wonderfully refreshing and tart flavor to the curry and cuts the heaviness.
- Green Onions: These provide a fresh, crunchy topping that adds color and a mild onion flavor to the dish.
- Bean Sprouts: These add a fresh, crunchy texture to the final dish, contrasting with the soft noodles and creamy soup.
- Extra Coconut Cream: This is an optional topping that adds extra creaminess and a hint of sweetness to the finished dish. Make sure to choose a product without thickness or preservatives for the best flavor.
How to Make Khao Soi (Step by Step)
Making this incredible khao soi recipe at home is super easy and will give you great results every single time. Here's how to make it step by step:
Making the Khao Soi Curry Paste
Combine Curry Paste, Curry Powder and Oil: In a small bowl, mix together the red curry paste, Madras curry powder, and a tablespoon of oil. Set this aside for later use.
Preparing the Soup Spices & Toppings
Prepare the Lemongrass: Peel the outer layer of lemongrass, cut the bottom two-thirds into chunks of around three centimeters, and smash it to release the oils. Keep the stalks intact for easy removal later.
Smash the Garlic: Peel the garlic cloves and smash them, keeping them intact. Set aside for later use.
Slice Ginger: Slice the ginger and set it aside.
Prep the Toppings: While you have the cutting board out, slice the shallots into thin slices, cut the limes into wedges, and chop the pickled mustard greens into small bite-sized pieces. Set these aside on a side plate with chili oil and coconut cream for later use.
Cooking the Coconut Curry Soup
Toast Spices and Curry paste: Set a large pot on medium heat, add oil, and wait for it to get hot. Add in the lemongrass, lime leaves, garlic, ginger, and the khao soi curry paste. Toast this mixture for about one to two minutes.
Add Coconut Cream: Next, add in the coconut cream and coconut milk. Scrape off any curry paste that has stuck to the bottom of the pan with the coconut milk. Cook this for about one to two minutes.
Add Chicken Stock, Fish sauce, and Sugar: Stir in the chicken stock, fish sauce, and sugar and bring the soup to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and let it simmer for about thirty minutes.
Adjust Taste: After simmering, remove the spices and adjust the taste as needed. If you prefer your soup to have a thicker consistency, continue to simmer it with the lid removed for an additional ten to fifteen minutes.
Deep Frying the Crispy Egg Noodle Topping (Optional)
Deep Fry Noodles: Cut about one cup of egg noodles into smaller pieces, heat some oil in a small pot, and once hot, fry the noodles until they are crispy. Set these aside for later use.
Assembling the Dish
Cook the Egg Noodles: Boil some water in a small pot, add in the egg noodles, and cook for one minute. Drain the water and place the noodles into a serving bowl.
Combine Soup and Noodles: Ladle the hot coconut curry soup over the noodles and top with the crispy noodles.
Add Toppings: Add your choice of toppings and enjoy immediately while still warm.
Your delicious Khao Soi is ready to serve!
Joyce’s Tips For Making the Best Khao Soi
Adjust the Soup to Your Taste: After simmering the soup for about half an hour, taste and adjust the flavors. If you prefer a saltier soup, add more fish sauce; if you like a sweeter soup, add more sugar.
Deep Fry the Crispy Egg Noodle Topping: Adding a handful of deep fried egg noodles on top of your Khao Soi adds a delightful crunch. Just be sure to wait until the oil is hot before adding the noodles to make sure that they crisp up nicely.
Use Coconut Cream for Stronger Flavor: Coconut cream imparts a richer, more intense coconut flavor to your soup compared to coconut milk. However, if you can't find it, full-fat coconut milk can be used as a substitute. Alternatively, I have also tried using creamed coconut (the ones that are in hard bricks form, mostly used in Caribbean cooking) and it turned out fantastic with a LOT of flavor, but you will need to add about ½ cup more broth in to make up for the missing liquid.
Choose High-Quality Coconut Cream: When shopping for coconut cream, check the ingredients list. It should only contain water and coconut milk or coconut extract. Try to avoid those with thickeners or preservatives for a more creamier coconut taste.
- Elevate your Khao Soi experience by pairing it with a refreshing Cucumber Salad. The cool, crunchy cucumber salad will provide a delightful contrast to the rich, spicy flavors of the Khao Soi.
- Looking for a lunch idea with an exotic twist? Serve your Khao Soi with a side of Lemon Garlic Edamame. The zesty, savory edamame perfectly complements the spicy, aromatic Khao Soi.
- Roasted Okra can be an excellent side dish to your Khao Soi. The crispy texture and unique taste of the okra will add another layer of enjoyment to your meal.
- Hosting an Asian-themed dinner party? Khao Soi served with Chicken Satay and Peanut Sauce or Grilled Thai Coconut Chicken Skewers makes for a delightful, authentic Thai experience. Your guests will love the combination of creamy, spicy, and nutty flavors!
Recipe Variation Ideas for Khao Soi
This delicious khao soi recipe is so flavorful and easy to make, you'll want to try out some of these delicious variations! Here are some great ideas:
Seafood Delight: If you're a seafood lover, try swapping out the chicken for prawns or fish filets. This variation brings a different flavor profile, making the dish lighter and refreshing. Remember to adjust the cooking time as seafood generally cooks faster than chicken.
Going Vegetarian: This khao soi can easily be made vegetarian by using vegetable stock instead of chicken stock, and replacing the chicken with tofu or a variety of your favorite vegetables. This makes the dish lighter and perfect for those on a plant-based diet.
Try it with Beef: For a more hearty variation, try using beef instead of chicken. The robust flavor of beef pairs well with the rich coconut curry soup. Use beef stock instead of chicken stock for a deeper flavor.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, pickled mustard greens have a similar flavor to sauerkraut, so if you can't find the pickled mustard greens, you can substitute it with sauerkraut.
For a less spicy curry soup, you can substitute the red curry paste with yellow curry paste.
When shopping for coconut cream, make sure that it doesn't contain any thickenings or preservatives. The ingredients list should only contain water and coconut milk or coconut extract. This makes a big difference in coconut flavor.
Yes, while coconut cream is recommended for its strong coconut flavor, if you can't find it, you can use full-fat coconut milk instead.
If you prefer a thicker consistency in the soup, continue to simmer the soup (with the lid removed) for an additional ten to fifteen minutes to reduce the liquid. This will also concentrate the flavors as well.
Khao soi is a spicy, sweet and savory ,creamy coconut soup served with soft egg noodles and topped with crispy egg noodles on top, so there is a contrast in textures. When served with lime and pickled vegetables, there can also have a contrast in sweet, savory and tangy flavor as well.
Tom kha is not made with curry paste and is a coconut soup with a balance of sweet, tangy and savory flavors, whereas khao soi is a creamy curry made with a curry paste and coconut milk and served with noodles and has a more spicy, sweet and savory flavor.
How to Store Leftover Khao Soi
If you've made a big batch and are wondering how to store the leftovers, here are some tips.
Transfer the leftover khao soi into an airtight container. Make sure to separate the soft egg noodles, crispy egg noodles, and the soup into different containers. This way, the noodles won't become soggy. The dish will last for about three to four days in the fridge.
For reheating, warm the soup over medium heat on the stove until it is hot. If the soup has thickened after refrigeration, you can add a little chicken stock to thin it out.
While the soup is heating, you can also warm the soft egg noodles in a separate pot of boiling water for about a minute. Combine the warm noodles and soup in a bowl, garnish with crispy noodles, and you're ready to enjoy your khao soi again!
Unfortunately, khao soi doesn't freeze well. The coconut milk in the soup tends to separate when frozen and thawed, changing the texture and flavor of the dish. Similarly, the egg noodles can become mushy once thawed.
Recipes To Use Up Leftover Thai Curry Paste
More Thai Recipes You May Like
- Grilled Thai Coconut Chicken Skewers
- Thai Basil Chicken (Pad Krapow Gai)
- Tom Yum Goong (Thai Hot and Sour Soup)
- Pad Woon Sen (Thai Glass Noodle Stir Fry)
- Yum Woon Sen (Thai Glass Noodle Salad)
- Tom Kha Gai (Coconut Chicken Soup)
- Pad Thai
- Easy Peanut Satay Sauce
- Thai Peanut Noodles
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Thai Coconut Curry Noodle Soup (Khao Soi)
Joyce's Recipe Notes
- 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
- I highly recommend using coconut cream for its strong coconut flavor but if you cannot find coconut cream, you can use full-fat coconut milk instead.
- When you are shopping for coconut cream, 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.
- I have also used Pure Creamed Coconut that comes in a solid brick form in a little cardboard box and it gave this soup a FANTASTIC coconut flavor. If you can find that, I highly recommend it, but if you use this, you may need to add an additional ½ cup of broth.
- 1 package fresh egg noodles (Set aside a handful for deep frying)
- 4 chicken drums (optional)
Quick & Easy Khao Soi Curry Paste
Toppings & Garnishes (Optional, Pick and Choose)
- chili oil
- shallots or red onion (thinly sliced)
- pickled mustard greens (chopped)
- lime wedges
- green onions
- extra coconut cream
- bean sprouts
Make the Khao Soi Curry Paste
- In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste, 1 ½ tablespoons Madras curry powder, and 2 tablespoons oil and mix together. Set aside for later.
Prepare the Soup Spices & Toppings
- Peel the first layer of lemongrass and cut the bottom ⅔ 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.)
- Use a rolling pin or the back of your knife (the blunt end) and smash the lemongrass to bruise it and release the oils. Keep the stalks intact so we can easily fish it out later in the soup. 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 (or red onions) up into thin slices. (If you find raw shallots or onions too strong, squirt a bit of lime juice and let it marinate in the juice, it will mellow it out and reduce the spicy bite.)Cut the limes into wedges.Chop the pickled mustard greens into small bite-sized pieces.Scoop some chili oil and coconut cream into small bowls.Add everything to a serving plate to serve at the very end.
Cook 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 smashed lemongrass, 4-5 kaffir lime leaves, smashed 2 cloves garlic, 3 slices 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!)
- Add 3 cups chicken broth, 1 tablespoon fish sauce and 2 tablespoons palm sugar (or brown sugar) and stir until everything is combined, and wait for the soup to come to a boil
- Once the soup starts boiling, turn the heat down to low and put a lid on the pot. Let it simmer for 30 minutesIf you are using chicken drums, add them in now.
- 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 with the lid on to keep it hot while you prep the noodles and are ready to serve it.
(Optional) Deep Fry the Crispy Egg Noodle Topping
- Take about 1 cup of egg noodles and cut them into smaller 2-3 inch length pieces.
- 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 fry them for about 30 seconds to 1 minute until they are crispy.
- 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 cook it for 1 minute.
- 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
*Nutritional information is calculated using online tools and is an estimate*
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