Chiang Mai Thai Noodle Soup

"This wonderful and tasty soup (Khao Soi) was introduced to me by LeggyPeggy (Asian Forum Host, food dot com) and on her food blog, which featured a very good recipe by a leading Australian cook. However, I have enhanced the recipe’s ingredients and to my personal taste. That is, I used less coconut milk and added chicken stock, less Thai red curry paste… and my own homemade crispy noodles. Further, I had visited Chiang Mai in northern Thailand many years ago, but never had this delicious soup, until now. Enjoy!"
photo by SkipperSy photo by SkipperSy
photo by SkipperSy
photo by SkipperSy photo by SkipperSy
Ready In:
1hr 15mins


  • 16 ounces fresh chinese yellow noodles (fully cooked package, for soup bowls)
  • 8 ounces fresh chinese yellow noodles (1/2 fully cooked package, for crispy noodles, substitute store bought fried noodles)
  • 1 cup oil
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 6 chicken thighs (substitute other chicken parts)
  • 2 tablespoons curry paste (Thai curry red paste to taste)
  • 12 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 12 teaspoon ground coriander (substitute ground cardamom seeds or curry powder)
  • 3 cups chicken stock (powdered chicken bouillon or fresh or canned stock)
  • 13 12 fluid ounces unsweetened coconut milk (optional 7.5 fl.ozs. coconut milk plus à 1/2 cup stock, substitute coconut powder)
  • 4 anchovies, chopped (substitute 2 tablespoons fish sauce)
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 lime juice (optional)
  • soup, bowl toppings
  • 14 cup preserved vegetables (small package Mustard Greens, substitute Kimshi)
  • 12 cup cilantro leaf
  • 1 lime, cut into slices
  • 12 cup shallot, cut into slices
  • 2 cups crispy noodles (if store bought, or top with home made birds nest, each bowl)



  • COOKED NOODLES-Place fully cooked noodles (from one 16 oz package) into boiling water and cook for a few minutes (do not overcook), drain (under cool water) and keep moist, separate the noodles so they do not clump up, set aside.
  • CRISPY NOODLES (if you are substituting already store bought fried noodles, skip this step)- Heat 1 cup of oil in a deep pot, place some of the noodles (from the second 8 oz package) into a small round strainer creating a birds nest shape, add the noodles (with the strainer) into the hot oil and ladle over hot oil until the noodles appear golden brown and crispy (do not over cook), remove to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb some of the oil, do the same to make a total of 4 birds nests, set aside.
  • PRESERVED VEGETABLES- Place the mustard greens (other preserved vegetables, like Kimshi) into a bowl, add some water and rinse briefly to remove some of the hot spices, then into a microwave for about 45 seconds, set aside.
  • CILENTRO LEAVES- Remove the leaves from the stems, chop a little and place in a bowl of cold water and rinse to remove any sand, set aside.
  • LIME SLICES- Cut one lime into circular shapes, set aside.
  • SHALLOTS- Remove the paper like skin and then slice into thin round/oval shapes, set aside.

  • In a big soup pot add 2 tablespoons of oil, then add the 2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste , turmeric, ground coriander (or ground cardamom seeds/curry powder), stir briefly to release the flavors.
  • Next add the chicken stock, coconut milk, chopped anchovies (or fish sauce), sugar and stir, bring to a low simmer.
  • Taste and adjust as needed by adding more Thai curry paste to taste, lime juice (optional) and Bijol food coloring (optional) if desired.
  • Next add the chicken pieces and simmer for about 15 minutes, until the pieces of chicken are cooked.
  • In 4 individual bowls, add some of the cooked noodles and then ladle in some of the coconut soup mixture along with the chicken pieces.
  • In the center of the bowl add the cilantro and preserved vegetables, then some shallots around the sides of the bowl.
  • Next on top (and to one side) add one fried crispy noodle birds nest or if using already bought crispy noodles place all around the inside of each individual bowl.
  • Place a lime slice wedged into the rim of the bowl (have extras as desired for guests).
  • Enjoy!
  • NOTES:

  • 1) The original recipe (and now modified to my taste) was from the book “Marion: Recipes and stories from a hungry cook,” by Marion Grasby, based in Australia.
  • 2) I was not very successful in making a rounded and somewhat deep birds nest -- but resulted in one that was just noodles bunched together. So perhaps you will have better success in making a better birds nest -- .
  • 3) You can also add a pinch of Bijol (brand name, optional) food coloring to enhance the color of the coconut soup.

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Living in Metro New York City, I have a great appreciation of the many cultures and foods from far off lands. I have also traveled extensively around the world, met many wonderful people and tasted some terrific dishes!
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