Saturday, January 23, 2010

Khao Soi Curry Noodles

Khao Soi is a dish popular in the northern regions of Thailand, though nowadays you can find specialty dishes from all over the country in and around bustling Bangkok as well. People lament that as these specialty dishes have become more and more "mainstream", the excellent traditional preparations are passing out of memory -- so much so that even if you travel north to Chiang Mai, you won't find the dish nearly as good as it was before. But on your next visit to Thailand, try it out for yourself -- and be sure to snag the recipe!

Khao Soi Curry Noodles
Recipe modified from Recipezaar
Note: This recipe isn't the most fragrant or flavorful... to us it seemed more like a salty heat. I'll be trying something else next time.

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon pre-minced garlic
2 tablespoons red curry paste
3/4 lb boneless chicken, cut in big bite-sized chunks
2 cups unsweetened coconut milk
1 3/4 cups chicken broth
2 teaspoons ground turmeric or curry powder
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt (I thought this was too much, so you might start w/ 1/2 tsp and add to taste later)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 lb Chinese egg noodles

1. Heat the vegetable oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat, and then add the garlic. Toss well and add the red curry paste, mashing and stirring to soften it in the oil, about 1 minute. Add the chicken and cook 1 to 2 minutes, tossing now and then to brown it evenly and mix it with the curry paste.

2. Add the coconut milk, chicken broth, turmeric, soy sauce, sugar and salt and stir well. Bring to a gentle boil and adjust heat to maintain a lively simmer. Cook about 10 minutes until meat is cooked through.

3. Stir in lemon juice, remove from heat and cover to keep curry warm while you prepare the noodles.

4. Cook the noodles in a large pot of rapidly boiling water until tender but still firm. Drain and divide the noodles among individual serving bowls. Ladle on hot curry, and sprinkle each serving with the shallots, cilantro, green onions, and crunchy noodle nests (optional). Serve hot.

(You'll note the egg noodles above are nicely pre-apportioned in the package. If I had to choose a culinary pet peeve, bits of dried noodle flung all over the kitchen is definitely one of them!)

Note: I've never cooked with coconut milk before today. If you don't use the whole can, put it in an airtight container. It keeps for 1 week in the refrigerator and much longer in the freezer. As for where to get it, coconut milk from American grocery chains appear to cost nearly twice as much as in Asian food market. Brand-wise, I've been told Chef's Choice is the best, and "the usual suspects" (Chaokoh, Aroy-D, etc) are all pretty on par. I used Chaokoh for this recipe.

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