Curry Coconut Broth with Chicken and Crispy Noodles

Kao Soi Gai


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes

    4 to 6

    bowls as a one-dish meal

Appears in

Thai mastery of complex flavors and textures finds its best showcase in this dish of resilient wheat noodles floating in rich scented coconut broth garnished with more crispy noodles. Thailand shares more than just a border with Myanmar (Burma). The nations have borrowed from each other in the evolution of dishes such as Kao Soi. Believed to be a hybrid of the Burmese word “khauk-hswe,” which translates as “noodles,” it also shows influences from Chinese style. A rich, coconut milk-based curry gravy bathes resilient flat noodles, pieces of chicken and a fascinating combination of raw shallots, cilantro, crispy fried noodles and pickled mustard greens. The pickled greens hail from China where they’re essential to Chinese-Muslim cookery. A raw wedge of lime provides a final Thai touch to Kao Soi, squeezed in by the diner at the very last moment before he delves onto this textural culinary adventure.

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For the Curry Paste

  • 6 cloves Garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. Grated ginger
  • ½ tsp. Ground coriander
  • ½ tsp. Ground turmeric
  • 3 Tbsp. Red curry paste (add 1 more tablespoon if paste was made in blender) or store bought

For the Coconut Gravy

  • 2 cans (about 14 oz. or 414 ml. each) coconut milk, stirred (divided use)
  • 5 cups (1.18 L.) Light chicken broth
  • 1 lb. (454 g.) Chicken thigh meat, cut into bite size strips, about ¼ inch (0.6 cm.) thick
  • 2 Tbsp. Light brown palm sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. Soy sauce
  • ¼ cup Fish sauce (nahm pla)
  • 2 Tbsp. Lime juice

Curry Garnishes

  • 1 lb. (454 g.) fresh wheat noodles, ideally flat (similar to fettuccini shape), cooked
  • ½ cup Pickled mustard greens, roughly chopped, ½-inch (1.3 cm.) pieces
  • 3 small Shallots, sliced, about ¼ inch (0.6 cm.) thick, (rinsed under cold water to reduce harshness)
  • ¼ cup Roughly chopped cilantro (leaves and stems)
  • 2 cups Deep-fried wide, flat egg noodlesinch (0.6 cm.) wide)—Cook from raw state into individual nests
  • 2 medium Limes, cut into wedges


  1. Fortify the curry paste: In mortar or food processor, grind together garlic, ginger, coriander, turmeric and red curry paste.
  2. Make coconut gravy: Heat 1 cup coconut milk in a wok or 4 qt. (4 L.) saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring often until it thickens substantially and oil begins to separate out, about 5 minutes. Stir in fortified curry paste; cook, stirring constantly for 2 minutes to develop the flavors.
  3. Add chicken broth, chicken meat, and palm sugar; simmer 10 minutes. Add soy sauce, fish sauce, and remaining coconut milk; simmer 5 minutes more over low heat. Remove from heat; add lime juice. Adjust seasoning to taste with fish sauce, palm sugar, soy sauce, and salt if needed.
  4. Assemble the soup: Reheat cooked noodles in boiling water; divide into serving bowls. Top each with a ladleful of coconut chicken gravy. Arrange mustard greens, shallots and cilantro atop the sauced noodles. Garnish the top with a nest of fried noodles, and then serve with lime wedges on the side.