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Thai Red Curry Noodles (Khao Soi)–A Dish to Feed a Crowd

November 7, 2013

khao soi_two

My mum loved to throw parties—big ones, small ones, medium ones–and there was always one constant: good food, and lots of it.

Cooking for company often meant days of prep and a kitchen bustling with activity morning till evening. Ma would grind spice pastes for dishes like beef rendang or pork satay. She’d braise turmeric-spiced chicken for hours on the stovetop ahead of the next step–deep-frying them the day of the party (yes, the chicken was cooked twice!). And I, as soon as I could fold neat corners, was roped in to roll lumpia (fried spring rolls) by the dozens. Ma never skimped when it came to entertaining family and friends.

We also had friends over on an ad-hoc basis; neighbors, schoolmates, church friends, etc. came by our house weekly. On these occasions, Ma would make an all-in-one noodle meal. Prep was quick and easy and everyone could serve themselves. Her noodle repertoire ran along these lines: bakmi (egg noodles topped with pork and mushrooms), soto daging (noodles with beef and lemongrass soup), and Indonesian laksa (rice vermicelli noodles doused in a coconut-chicken-turmeric soup).

I recently discovered a Thai noodle dish similar to Ma’s laksa and immediately fell in love with it. With the help of store-bought red curry paste, khao soi is fairly easy to make for dinner guests and tongue-tingly delicious! Because each noodle bowl is customizable, even kids can enjoy it (just start with a mild curry paste). And no one would guess it only takes 30 minutes to prepare.

This is my kind of entertaining.

~~~

Thai Red Curry Noodles (Khao Soi)

khao soi_solo

Khao soi is a popular Northern Thai dish with cousins in Burma (ohn-no-kauk-swe) and Singapore (laksa). A tangle of fried noodles and a squeeze of lime liven up the party, creating a tasty mélange of sweet, sour, salty flavors and lovely contrasting textures. If you’re serving a larger crowd, this recipe is easily doubled or tripled. You can also choose to lay out all the ingredients on the table and let your guests serve themselves.

Time: 30 minutes
Makes: 4 to 6 servings, depending on appetites

Red Curry Gravy
2 tablespoons canola oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 shallots or 1/2 small red onion, chopped
4 tablespoons red curry paste (I recommend Mae Ploy or Thai Kitchen brands)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 cups coconut milk, divided
2 cups chicken stock
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar

To serve
12 ounces dried or 2 pounds fresh egg noodles (Chinese or Italian are fine)
1 cup shredded cooked chicken
2 cups store-bought fried noodles (like La Choy brand)
1/2 small red or white onion, sliced thinly
Chopped cilantro
Chopped green onions
2 limes, cut into wedges
Soy sauce
Crushed chili flakes

Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a heavy bottomed pot until it shimmers. Add the garlic and shallots and stir and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the red curry paste and turmeric and stir and cook until the paste turns a few shades darker and fills your kitchen with a pungent aroma, 2 to 3 minutes. Watch it carefully so it doesn’t burn.

Slowly pour in 1 cup coconut milk, stirring to blend, and cook until the sauce bubbles. Let it bubble gently over medium-high heat, stirring often, until a layer of red oil separates from the sauce and rises to the surface, about 3 minutes. Stir in the second cup of coconut milk and repeat the process of waiting for the oil to separate.

Pour in the stock and bring the sauce to a gentle boil over medium-high heat before reducing the heat to a simmer. Add the soy sauce and sugar and taste. The curry should taste a bit too salty (it will balance out when ladled over the noodles) and a tad sweet, with some heat to it. Add more soy sauce if necessary (this will depend on how salty your stock is). Keep the curry warm over low heat.

Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Cook the noodles according to package directions. Stir the noodles as they cook to loosen them and prevent sticking. Drain in a colander and rinse with cold water.

To serve, divide the noodles and chicken into 4 to 6 individual bowls. Ladle about 3/4 cup of curry over each bowl. Garnish with fried noodles, onions, cilantro, and green onions as desired. Serve with the lime wedges, and extra soy sauce and chili flakes in little dishes.

~~~

Today’s post is part of the monthly Let’s Lunch Twitter blogger potluck and we’re featuring food that’s shared with family and friends in honor of fellow Let’s Luncher Lisa Goldberg’s book Monday Morning Cooking Club (HarperCollins; Reprint edition, September 17, 2013) which just launched its U.S. edition.

MMCC

For more Let’s Lunch posts, follow #LetsLunch on Twitter or visit my fellow bloggers below: 

Lisa’s No Ordinary Meatloaf at Monday Morning Cooking Club

Anne Marie’s Almond Cheesecake Sammy Bites at Sandwich Surprise

Betty Anne’s Sisig Rice, Spicy Pork Belly and Garlic Rice at Asian in America Mag

Eleanor’s Surf and Turf at Wokstar

Grace’s Zha Jiang Mien at HapaMama

Jill’s Homemade Corned Beef at Eating My Words

Linda’s Vegan Pumpkin Pie at Spicebox Travels

Lucy’s Sweet Potatoes with Cane Syrup at A Cook and Her Books

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13 Comments leave one →
  1. November 11, 2013 4:02 pm

    DanS, you can definitely use green curry paste or panang or massaman and it will still be tasty!

  2. November 11, 2013 4:00 pm

    Grace and Linda, khao soi is similar to Singapore laksa but not quite the real deal. Singapore laksa uses a different type of noodles, they’re made from rice and fat and round, and the toppings including fried beancurd (taupok) and fish cake, The key ingredient in the gravy is laksa leaf called rau ram in Vietnamese or Vietnamese mint/coriander. Hope you like this version too though!

  3. November 11, 2013 3:54 pm

    Thanks, everyone! If you don’t make the curry paste from scracth, this is a really easy recipe and a great intro to Thai cooking. Hope you try it!

  4. November 10, 2013 9:08 am

    What a generous food tradition to grow up with. This dish looks wonderful. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

  5. November 9, 2013 9:40 pm

    Looks very tasty! Can I use the same recipe for green curry?

  6. bettyannq permalink
    November 9, 2013 3:18 pm

    These Thai Red Curry Noodles is something my sons will enjoy. I must make this dish next time they’re home. Thanks for sharing and for hosting this November’s Let’s Lunch, Pat!

  7. November 9, 2013 12:15 pm

    Red curry paste is such a fantastic convenience; I am a total beginner when it comes to Thai cooking, but curry paste puts delicious in easy reach. Your noodles look great!

  8. November 8, 2013 12:40 pm

    Love laksa but have never made it– this might be dinner tonight!

  9. HapaMamaGrace permalink
    November 8, 2013 11:03 am

    I’ve actually never had laksa, and this sounds like a nice version of it! And with kids, I love any dish where the components are served separately to each individual’s liking.

  10. November 8, 2013 10:42 am

    This looks wonderful, Pat. Lime, coconut milk and red curry paste has me running to the dinner table every time!

Trackbacks

  1. Vegan Pumpkin Pie | spicebox travels
  2. Zha Jiang Mien: Easy Family Noodle Meal | HapaMamaHapaMama
  3. Honey Pecan Almond Cheesecake Sammy Bites | sandwich surprise!

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