Joe’s Khao Soi ข้าวซอย (Chiang Mai Curry Noodles)

Special thanks to Phil Lees for the use of his photos. His blog on khao soi can be found right here:


Phil Lees’ photo of khao soi

Chicken 2-3 pounds (Thighs or legs work best and I usually remove the skin or the final product can be very oily. Breast will not work that well.)
Noodles – fettuccine, linguini, Chinese wheat noodles will all work. Rice noodles can be used too but not as traditional.
Vegetable Oil
Ginger rounded teaspoon finely chopped
Garlic 1 rounded tablespoon chopped (no garlic press).
Onion 2 rounded table spoons, finely chopped
1.5-2 rounded tablespoon Thai red curry paste
2 cans chicken stock (can use water)
2 can coconut milk
Fish sauce
Cilantro, chopped for garnish
The following spices can be easily substituted by a product from Lobo called “Kao Soi Seasoning Mix
2 rounded tablespoons yellow curry powder (Indian/Madras style)
1 table spoon turmeric
1 cinnamon stick (or a very small pinch of ground cinnamon)
4 cloves (or a very small pinch of ground cinnamon)
2 cardamom seeds (or a very small pinch of ground cardamom)

Note: You can skip any or all of the cinnamon, cloves and cardamom if don’t have around. But the little bit of cinnamon or clove really adds to an authentic taste. Also all my measurements are not very precise. You’ll have to adjust as you seem necessary.

Thai or Chinese Pickled Mustard Greens
Nam prik pao
Sliced fresh chilis


Sprinkle raw chicken with a little salt and black pepper.  Get your large pot fairly hot and add oil and chicken, stir quickly until browned a bit. Take the chicken out though it will not yet be fully cooked.

Thanks to Phil Lees for his fair use policy

Another Phil Lees photo

Now add the curry paste and a little coconut milk (1/3 can). Stir the paste, frying it a little. If the paste is too thick, add a little more coconut milk. We’re looking for a thick pancake batter type consistency. When that’s been achieved, fry the paste until oil starts forming on the top. Add the next 1/3 can of coconut like and fry again until oil starts forming on the top. Next add the yellow curry powder and spices or Lobo kao soi seasoning and fry for just 30 seconds.

If you want this extra-extra hot, add some fresh chilis along with the ginger, onion and garlic. Fry for 30 second then add the remaining 1/3 can plus entire other can of coconut milk. Bring to boil and add 2 cans of chicken stock, 1 table spoon fish sauce, two level tablespoons of sugar. Make sure a soupy consistency has been reached. If the soup is thick like a Thai curry, you will need to add water (or more chicken stock).

Bring to a boil and add the chicken back into the soup. Cover and simmer for about 1 hour (until the chicken will be just falling off the bone).

Check the soup for consistency. Again, the soup should not be too thick, not like Thai curries, more soupy than that. If too much liquid boiled off, water should be added now. Then taste for seasoning. The flavor of the curry should be a bit salty and spicy with a sweet aftertaste. When you taste the curry at this stage, it should be a little bit saltier than what you would like the final dish to taste. If it needs more sweet or salt, add sugar and fish sauce as needed.

During the 1 hour simmering period:

Boil the noodles, rinse the starch off well. Take about ¼ of your noodles and fry them in an inch of very hot oil. You should have to flip the Noodles halfway through. Drain on paper towels.

When ready to serve, if the non-fried noodles are stuck together, you can re-boil them for 1 minute to refresh.

Place a portion of the noodles in a soup bowl. Ladle soup over top of the noodles making sure a thigh goes. Put some crunchy fried noodles and chopped cilantro on top.

Serve with nam prik pao, chopped shallot (or onion), Chinese or Thai pickled mustard greens, lime wedges, fresh chilis, fish sauce and sugar for individual addition into the soup.

I would like to note that I have not made this in a while. I will remedy that soon and update the recipe if necessary.

Again thanks to the man from Oz, Phil Lees, for the use of his photos. Check out his food blog with topics more than khao soi at:


About Joe Graff

President and co-owner of DC based design studio, icon werx, inc. Lived in Thailand for 8+ years (2003-2011). Rheumatoid arthritis and triple joint replacement patient.
This entry was posted in Chicken, Main Dish, Thai and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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