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Khao soi

Australian Gourmet Traveller recipe for khao soi.

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