Khao Soi Soup


From northern Thailand, a noodle soup with an amazing mix of flavor and texture. My mom made this for me recently, and I fell in love with it. It is a variation on a recipe about street food she found in her local paper. It is quite flavorful, so if you prefer a less spicy dish, reduce the amount of spices.

Prep Time:
30 mins
Cook Time:
30 mins
Additional Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 15 mins
6 servings


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 3 shallots, chopped

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • ¼ cup red curry paste

  • 1 tablespoon curry powder

  • 4 cups coconut milk

  • 2 cups water

  • 2 cups chopped cooked chicken, or more to taste

  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce

  • 2 tablespoons white sugar

  • 1 tablespoon lime juice

  • ½ cup vegetable oil

  • 12 whole dried Thai chile peppers

  • 6 small shallots, cut into quarters

  • ½ head bok choy, chopped

  • 1 (8 ounce) package rice noodles

  • 1 cup pickled mustard cabbage, thinly sliced (Optional)

  • ½ cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro

  • 1 lime, cut into wedges


  1. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a wok or large skillet over medium heat; cook and stir chopped shallots and garlic until garlic starts to turn golden, 2 to 4 minutes. Add red curry paste and curry powder; cook and stir until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add coconut milk, water, chicken, and sea salt; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer soup.

  2. Mix fish sauce, sugar, and lime juice into soup and simmer until heated through, about 10 minutes more.

  3. Heat 1/2 cup oil in a skillet over medium-high heat; fry Thai chile peppers until browned, 2 to 4 minutes. Transfer chile peppers to soup, reserving oil in skillet. Fry quartered shallots and bok choy in hot oil until browned, 2 to 4 minutes; transfer to soup and reserve oil in skillet.

  4. Place noodles in a large bowl and cover with hot water. Set aside until noodles are softened, about 15 minutes. Drain and rinse thoroughly. Add 3/4 of the noodles to the soup. Fry the remaining rice noodles in the hot oil until crisp, 3 to 5 minutes.

  5. Divide soup among 6 bowls and top with fried noodles, pickled cabbage, cilantro, and lime wedges.

Cook's Notes:

This is a very forgiving recipe. Add as much or as little of the spices and chiles as suits your tastes.

Add more vegetables if desired, or make this completely vegetarian by substituting the chicken with tofu or extra veggies.

If using raw chicken legs, cook 45 minutes in step 1 until chicken is very tender.

Editor's Note:

We have determined the nutritional value of oil for frying based on a retention value of 10% after cooking. Amount will vary depending on cooking time and temperature, ingredient density, and specific type of oil used.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

726 Calories
49g Fat
58g Carbs
21g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 6
Calories 726
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 49g 62%
Saturated Fat 36g 179%
Cholesterol 35mg 12%
Sodium 1074mg 47%
Total Carbohydrate 58g 21%
Dietary Fiber 5g 16%
Total Sugars 8g
Protein 21g
Vitamin C 31mg 155%
Calcium 126mg 10%
Iron 8mg 46%
Potassium 1047mg 22%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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