A Chiang Mai Favorite – Khao Soi

The true origin of this dish is debatable. Some will tell you it comes from the Shan State of Burma, while others say it arrived in Thailand with Muslim traders from Yunnan. Whatever the origin, this dish is delicious and easy to make (once you’ve made your red curry paste). The recipe is traditional made with beef, though I’ve used chicken here as it was what I had in the fridge. Chinese egg noodles can be found at most Asian groceries. They come in one pound packages and the noodles look similar to linguine noodles. (Click below for a photo of the restaurant where we first experienced the delightful Khao Soi!)

Khao Soi (Chiang Mai Curry Noodles)

3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp red curry paste (homemade is best, but you can use store bought paste also)
1 tbsp peanut oil
3 cups canned coconut milk (reserve 1/2 cup of the thickest milk in a separate container)
2 chicken breasts, cut into chunks
1 tbsp sugar
1 cup water
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
peanut oil (for frying crispy noodles for topping)
1 pound Chinese egg noodles (some reserved for frying)

Optional Condiments:
1/2 cup minced shallots
1/2 cup chopped scallions
1 lime, cut into wedges
a couple of birds eye chilis
pickled cabbage

In a mortar (or a bowl), pound the garlic, turmeric and red curry paste until of a consistent texture. Set aside.

In a large heavy bowl or wok, heat the oil. Stir fry the paste of red curry, turmeric and garlic in the oil for about 30 seconds. Then add the 1/2 cup of reserved coconut milk and stir constantly until the paste has been incorporated into the milk. Add the meat and sugar and cook until the meat is cooked just on the outside. Add the remaining coconut milk, fish sauce, water and 1 tsp salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a strong simmer. Add the block of noodles (minus the ones you’re saving for the topping) and cover. Cook for 10 minutes, occasionally working to stir the noodles around in the pan to break them up. Remove from the heat and stir in the lime juice.

To make the crispy egg noodles to top the dish, heat a wok or large pot with peanut oil. When the oil is hot, drop in the noodles, stirring once and then quickly removing. These only take a few seconds. Place a plate lined with paper towels and reserve for topping the khao soi.

To serve, spoon the khao soi into a shallow bowl and top with crispy egg noodles, lime and any of the other optional condiments from above. This is one of those dishes that Thais “customize” to their liking at the table. I really enjoy the added shallots and a whole bunch of lime.


Lamduon Faharn in Chiang Mai – serving up some of the best Khao Soi I’ve ever tasted!


Filed under Ethnic Food, Food, Recipes

2 responses to “A Chiang Mai Favorite – Khao Soi

  1. Pingback: The Quest to Find the Best Khao Soi | Sanuk

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