Strike gold with this exotic Thai soup
This golden soup is rich with chicken and coconut milk, lively with chilies, garlic, ginger and lime juice, and offers the fresh crunch of the bean sprouts, sliced red onion, cilantro and fried onions you sprinkle on top.
It’s a Thai recipe that comes by way of a restaurant run by Ravin Nakjaroen in Camden, Maine, one of my favourite seaside towns. A year ago, it was published in Bon Appetit magazine. Khao Soi originates in northern Thailand and Laos.
Chicken Khao Soi
Makes: 6 to 8 servings Preparation time: About 1 hour 4 large dried New Mexico or guajillo chilies, stemmed, halved, seeded
2 medium shallots, halved
8 garlic cloves 2-inch (5-cm) piece ginger, peeled, sliced ¼ cup (60 mL) chopped cilantro stems 1 tbsp (15 mL) ground coriander 1 tbsp (15 mL) ground turmeric
1 tsp (5 mL) curry powder
2 tbsp (30 mL) vegetable oil Two 14-oz (414-mL) cans unsweetened coconut milk 2 cups (500 mL) low-sodium chicken broth
1 ½ lb (726 g) skinless, boneless chicken thighs, halved lengthwise 1 lb (500 g) Chinese egg noodles 3 tbsp (45 mL) or more fish sauce (such as nam pla or nuoc nam) 1 tbsp (15 mL) (packed) palm sugar or light brown sugar
Kosher salt Sliced red onion, bean sprouts, cilantro sprigs, crispy fried onions or shallots, chili oil and lime wedges (for serving) Place chilies in a small heatproof bowl, add boiling water to cover, and let soak until softened, 25 to 30 minutes. Drain chilies, reserving liquid.
Puree chilies, shallots, garlic, ginger, cilantro stems, coriander, turmeric, curry powder and 2 tbsp (30 mL) soaking liquid in a food processor, adding more soaking liquid by tablespoonfuls, if needed, until smooth.
Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add khao soi paste; cook, stirring constantly, until slightly darkened, 4 to 6 minutes. Add coconut milk and broth. Bring to a boil; add chicken. Reduce heat and simmer until chicken is forktender, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate. Let cool slightly; shred meat.
Cook noodles according to package directions. Add chicken, 3 tbsp (45 mL) fish sauce and sugar to soup. Season with salt or more fish sauce, if needed. Divide soup and noodles among bowls and serve with toppings.