Soup Up My Soup

Food and Stuff

Khao Soi Soup (Sans noodles)

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Khao Soi is a popular dish in Thailand and Myanmar, although there are many variations and you won’t get a consistent recipe. However, they all start with creating a paste of some kind, and then use that as the basis for a soup. Most recipes that I come across for Khao Soi use both coconut milk and chicken stock. Hopefully you make your own stock, but use whatever you can.

The recipe below is basically the same one from the March 2013 issue of Bon Appetite, however I have made this noodle-free to make it friendly for a paleo or grain-free diet (not that I follow it that closely, but I cut it out where it’s easy.) The main differences compared to the magazine (aside from being sans noodles) are that I added a pound of tiger shrimps, and used more chicken than their recipe called for. I also used coconut oil to sauté the paste, you can substitute for vegetable oil if you want. Also, if you really have to eat gluten-free, make sure the fish sauce you use doesn’t have any wheat in it, or just cut it out entirely. The rest of the ingredients should be fine.

If you want to add noodles, no problem, just cook according to the packages instructions towards the end of the process. Egg noodles probably would work best here, but use whatever you like.

Chicken Khao Soi

(Serves about 6 as a meal, or more as an app)

Khao Soi Paste

  • Large dried Guajillo Chiles, stemmed, halved, and seeded, 4
  • Medium shallots, halved, 2
  • Garlic cloves, 8
  • Ginger, peeled, sliced, 1 2” piece
  • Turmeric, ground, 1 tsp.
  • Coriander, ground, 1 tsp.
  • Curry Powder, 1 tsp.


  • Coconut oil, 2 tbsp.
  • Chicken thighs, skinless and boneless, 2 lbs.
  • Tiger shrimp, 1 lb.
  • Coconut milk, two cans (use light coconut milk if you want to cut the fat a bit)
  • Fish sauce, 3 tbsp.
  • Palm sugar, 1 tbsp. (can substitute brown sugar if you want)
  • Salt, to taste
  • Sliced red onion, bean sprouts, cilantro sprigs, crispy fried onions or shallots, chili oil, and lime wedges (all for serving with at the end, pick and choose the ones you want, they all work)

Making the Paste:

Put the chilis in a bowl of hot water and let sit for half an hour to reconstitute. Drain and put in a food processor (or mortar and pistol it all if you have the patience) along with the rest of the khao soi paste ingredients. Keep adding the reserved chilli water as needed until you get a consistent paste.

Making the soup:

Heat the coconut oil (or vegetable if you don’t have any, but you should!) and add the khao soi paste on medium heat. Cook the paste while stirring for about 5 minutes, until it starts to darken and become fragrant. Add the coconut milk and the chicken stock, and then bring to a boil. Turn heat down to a simmer and add the chicken, cook for about 25 minutes. With about 10 minutes left add the shrimps.

Remove the chicken and shred it, or slice it into thin pieces. Then add back to the soup, and add the fish sauce and the palm sugar. Add salt to taste (remember you can put it in but you can’t take it out!).

Serve, along with the added toppings you wish (lime wedges, sliced onion, bean sprouts, etc.).

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