Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Khao Soi {Chiang Mai Curry Noodles}

There are some meals you just can't live without. The first time you encounter them, it's love at first bite and you wondered what you got excited about eating before. Khao Soi (known as Chiang Mai Curry Noodles to some) is one of those dishes!

We were introduced to Khao Soi when we lived in Chicago and frequented the most excellent and wonderful Opart Thai House in Lincoln Square. (Side note: If you live in Chicago, stop reading and go there right now. You can thank me later.) It was so ridiculously good we ordered it time and time again, salivating as we awaited its delivery. This dish is such a perfect combination of some of the best ingredients out there: noodles, coconut milk, curry (that isn't spicy), cilantro, lime, garlic, shallots, and green onions. Where could you go wrong with that line-up?! It is seriously perfection in a bowl.

When we moved to Chautauqua County, NY where the Thai scene is...well...nonexistent, we dove into my dad's copy of Quick and Easy Thai which I had bought for him many moons ago.  Lo and behold, Khao Soi is the dish on the book's cover and the recipe seriously hits the jackpot! Not only is it to die for, it is eeaassyy to make.

If your grocery store has a halfway decent international section, you should be able to find all of the ingredients you need for this winner. If not, Amazon does. When choosing Asian ingredients to cook with, it's best if you can purchase brands that are - shocker - from Asia and your dishes will taste more authentic. Sometimes we don't have that luxury, but sometimes we do.

The recipe is below, but you basically boil your Chinese egg noodles (set aside after boiling), saute the garlic, red curry paste, and chicken, then throw in the coconut milk, broth, and other spices and let the baby simmer for 10 minutes. THAT'S IT! Once the soup is ready, you'll place the noodles in your bowl, ladle on the curry, top with the best garnishes known to humanity and enjoy, one savory and splendid bite after the next. You think I'm bring dramatic and going overboard, but it's one of those meals you eat and say to yourself, "this is the meal I was born to eat!" I prefer to have the garnishes and all ingredients ready to go from the beginning because it doesn't take long to prepare and before you know it, you're ready to feast.

I hope you'll try this recipe and I hope you'll love it as much as we do in our house. Even if you are under the impression that you don't like curry, you might be pleasantly surprised with this one. If it's new to you and you make it, I'd love to hear what you think about it. If you've made it before, I'd love to hear if you have other ingredients you add or if your method is different. Enjoy!

Khao Soi {Chiang Mai Curry Noodles}
Ingredients
1/2 lb. dry Chinese-style egg noodles (or 1 lb fresh)
2 TBSP red curry paste or panaeng curry paste
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (cut into bite-size strips)
2 TBSP vegetable oil
1 TBSP chopped garlic
1 can coconut milk
1 3/4 cup chicken stock
2 tsp curry powder
2 TBSP soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 TBSP lime juice
1/2 cup cilantro (chopped)
1/3 cup green onions (chopped 1/3 inch)
1/3 cup shallots (diced)

Directions
1. Heat vegetable oil in a saucepan/skillet (that has a lid to use later), and then add garlic. Toss well and add the red curry paste, mashing and stirring to soften in the oil, about 1 minute. Add the chicken and cook 1 to 2 minutes tossing now and then to brown it evenly and mix it with the curry paste. add the coconut milk, chicken broth, curry powder, soy sauce, sugar, and salt and stir well. Bring to a gentle boil and adjust heat to maintain a lively simmer. Cook about 10 minutes, until meat is cooked through. Stir in lime juice, remove from heat, and over to keep curry warm while you prepare the noodles.

2. Cook the noodles in a large pot of rapidly boiling water, until tender but still firm, as little as 2 minutes for fresh and 7 minutes or more for dried. Drain, rinse well in cold water, drain again, and divide noodles among individual serving bowls. Ladle on hot curry, and sprinkle each serving with the shallots, cilantro, and sprinkle each serving with the shallots, cilantro, and green onions. Serve hot.

3. (Optional) For some extra crunch and intrigue, you can make ahead some fried noodle nests to top off your soup. Using 1/2 pound of fresh egg noodles, heat about 2 cups vegetable oil in a wok to about 375 degrees. Carefully add a handful of noodles, let sizzle and brown a few seconds, then transfer to a platter to cool. Serve on top of soup.


7 comments:

marlen said...

I'd leave a lengthy comment about how excited I am to try this but I am busy looking for my keys so I can get to the grocery store ASAP!!!

Sarah said...

Marlen, I hope you love it!!!

marlen said...

i made it! we haven't even sat down yet to eat it but i can't stop "tasting" the curry sauce! Amazing. Thanks for the recipe. It will be a keeper FOR SURE :)

Erin said...

I pinned this recipe when you posted it and finally made it tonight. WOW! Excellent! Definitely holding onto this one. :)

Unknown said...

Made this tonight - so good!! Thanks for the recipe!

86ed said...

Thanks, and agree once I tried Khao Soi I crave it. But, I find it hard to locate in Denver, and further, when I ask about it, I often get the "stink eye" as though it is low-brow food or something, very dismissive and defensive. Is this a culturally divisive dish for Thai folks?

I'll be trying the recipe, thanks! And if you know where to find it in Denver (besides Thai Diamond), let me know!

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