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Khao soi

Australian Gourmet Traveller recipe for khao soi.

By Alice Storey
  • Serves 4
  • 45 mins preparation
  • 1 hr 15 mins cooking
Khao soi
Khao soi

This soup, based on the Burmese noodle dish ohn no khao swè, is popular in Thailand's Chiang Mai region. The beauty is in the toppings - crunchy bean sprouts and fried noodles, and the unmistakable bite from pickled mustard greens. They're well worth seeking out in Asian grocers - they certainly earn their place.


  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • Seeds of 1 black cardamom pod
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 5 red shallots
  • 4 long red dried chillies, soaked in hot water for 30 minutes, liquid reserved
  • 40 gm ginger, finely chopped
  • 3 cm piece turmeric, finely chopped
  • 1 lemongrass stalk (about 7cm; white part only), thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) vegetable oil
  • 650 ml coconut milk
  • 600 ml chicken stock
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves, coarsely torn
  • 4 chicken thighs (about 250gm each), skin on, bone in
  • 3 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 150 gm egg noodles
  • To serve: lime wedges, thinly shaved shallots, bean sprouts, pickled mustard greens, fried noodles, coriander (all optional)


  • 1
    Dry-roast coriander and cardamom seeds, then coarsely crush with a mortar and pestle. Transfer to a food processor with garlic, shallots, chilli, ginger, turmeric, lemongrass, curry powder and 2-3 tbsp chilli soaking liquid, process to a smooth paste (add more liquid to loosen if necessary) and season to taste.
  • 2
    Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat, add paste and cook, stirring, until thick and slightly darker in colour (3-4 minutes). Add coconut milk, stock and kaffir lime leaves, bring to the simmer, then add chicken, reduce heat to low and simmer until tender (about 1 hour). Add fish and soy sauces, and sugar, season to taste, and keep warm.
  • 3
    Meanwhile, cook noodles in a saucepan of boiling salted water until tender (1-2 minutes), then drain. Divide among serving bowls, ladle in broth and chicken and serve garnished with a choice of toppings to taste.


Drink Suggestion: Aromatic off-dry riesling. Drink suggestion by Max Allen