This Khao Soi recipe is rich, fragrant and delicious! It’s a Coconut Curry Noodle Soup that hails from Northern Thailand and can be made with chicken, shrimp, tofu, or our crispy tofu. Vegan-adaptable, GF.  Watch the Video!

Khao Soi in a black bowl with crispy noodles and pickled mustard greens.

No Matter how hard the past, you can always begin again. ~Buddha

This Thai Coconut Curry Noodle Soup recipe (called Khao Soi) and hails from the Northern part of Thailand (Chiang Mai) where the weather stays a bit cooler.  It’s a godsend when time is short, or you are feeling a bit lazy, yet you crave something warm, rich and spicy.

The coconut broth is fragrant and rich, coating the noodles well.  And once the flavorful coconut soup base is made, what you put in the soup is up to you!

This Khao Soi recipe is rich, fragrant and delicious! It's a Coconut Curry Noodle Soup that hails from Northern Thailand and can be made with chicken, shrimp, tofu, or our crispy tofu.  Vegan-adaptable, GF.  Watch the Video!

Why this recipe works!

  • It is fast and easy! This simple recipe comes together in under 30 minutes!
  • Adaptable. Use chicken, shrimp or tofu, or a a combo. Vegan adaptable!
  • Cozy and warming! A rich soup, perfect for chilly nights.

Ingredients in Khao Soi

This simple version of Khao Soi is made even easier with store-bought red curry paste.

How to make Khao Soi! A Thai Coconut Curry Noodle Soup with a rich fragrant coconut broth w/ either shrimp, tofu or chicken and rice noodles.

How to make Khao Soi

  1. Place rice noodles in a large baking dish, pour boiling water over the noodles and let them sit until they are softened, drain. Toss with a little oil to prevent sticking.
  2. In a large dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat, saute shallot, garlic and lemongrass. until golden, about 3-4 minutes, then add the red curry paste,  turmeric, curry powder, and cardamom, stirring for one minute.
  3. Add the coconut milk, chicken broth and kaffir lime leaves and bring to a simmer, stirring. Once gently simmering add the bell pepper, fish sauce, sugar, soy sauce and chili garlic paste.
  4. Add the prawns (or chicken or crispy tofu)  and gently simmer until cooked.
  5. Give a generous squeeze of lime. Taste, adding more lime/salt/ red curry paste if necessary. Find the balance between salty, sweet, acid and heat.
  6. Divide the rice noodles into the bowls and ladle the flavorful soup over top- a bit easier to handle. Garnish with fresh basil, pickled mustard greens, crispy noodles, bean sprouts, thinly sliced red onion, lime wedges, or chopped scallions.

Variations of Khao Soi

Serve Khao Soi with These Toppings!

How to make Khao Soi! A Thai Coconut Curry Noodle Soup with a rich fragrant coconut broth w/ either shrimp, tofu or chicken and rice noodles.

More Thai recipes you may like: 

Khao Soi recipe in a black bowl with a lime and cripsy noodles.

How to Make Khao Soi! | 30-sec video

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Khao Soi recipe in a black bowl.

Khao Soi (Thai Coconut Noodle Soup)

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 114 reviews

Description

A flavorful and very addicting Northern Style Thai Coconut Curry Noodle Soup, called Khao Soi. Easy and fast, and so yummy. This simplified version uses store-bought red chili paste. Watch the video.


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 46 ounces dry rice noodles
  • 1 tablespoon coconut, peanut or olive oil
  • 1 large shallot finely diced ( or sub half an onion)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped lemongrass
  • 4 garlic cloves, rough chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Thai Red Curry Paste (store-bought, I like this brand), more for spicier
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric (or use grated turmeric)
  • 1/2 teaspoon yellow curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 14-ounce can coconut milk, full-fat
  • 1 cup chicken broth (or veggie broth, or use water and one chicken bouillon cube)
  • 46 kaffir lime leaves (optional, but delicious!)
  • 1 thinly sliced red bell pepper (optional- sub other veggies)
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce- or vegan fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce ( perhaps reduce if using vegan fish sauce, or use to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar, palm sugar or an alternative substitute
  • 1 tablespoon chili garlic sauce (Sambal Olek)
  • 812 ounces protein: raw, peeled prawns, or crispy tofu, or raw, thinly sliced chicken breast- or leftover baked chicken or rotisserie chicken)
  • salt and pepper to taste,
  • 1 lime

Garnish with fresh basil (Thai basil is best!), pickled mustard greens (traditional), cilantro, bean sprouts, lime wedge, crispy noodles, thinly sliced red onions or scallions.


Instructions

  1. Place noodles in a large baking dish, pour boiling water over the noodles and let them sit, stirring occasionally until they are al dente. Drain. Toss with little oil to coat to prevent sticking.
  2. While the water is boiling, prep the protein, shallot, garlic, lemongrass, and red bell pepper, then get all other ingredients ready by the stove.
  3. In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add shallot, garlic and lemongrass. Saute until fragrant and golden, about 3-4 minutes.  Add red curry paste,  turmeric, yellow curry powder and cardamom. Saute for 1 minute.
  4. Add the coconut milk, chicken broth and kaffir lime leaves and bring to a simmer, stirring. Once gently simmering add the bell pepper, fish sauce, sugar, soy sauce and chili garlic paste.
  5. Add the prawns (or chicken or crispy tofu)  and gently simmer until cooked. Give a generous squeeze of lime. Taste, adding more lime/salt/pepper/ red curry paste if necessary. Find the balance between salty, sweet, acid and heat.
  6. Divide noodles into the bowls and ladle the flavorful soup over top- a bit easier to handle.
  7. Garnish with fresh basil, pickled mustard greens, crispy noodles, bean sprouts, thinly sliced red onion, lime wedges, or chopped scallions.

Notes

The quality of the red chili paste makes all the difference here. I like Mae ploy or Masseri! “Thai kitchen” brand will be lacking in flavor!

To bump up the flavorful coconut broth even more, add  few slices of galangal!

Feel free to make the soup broth  the day before and keep in the fridge, keeping the noodles separate ( they will swell in the soup) and simply reheat.

To bump up the heat, add more red chili paste or  chili sauce, or a few thinly sliced fresh chilies ( as a garnish)

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 4 bowls
  • Calories: 348
  • Sugar: 10.3 g
  • Sodium: 1345 mg
  • Fat: 16.4 g
  • Saturated Fat: 13.7 g
  • Carbohydrates: 39.4 g
  • Fiber: 1.9 g
  • Protein: 12.5 g
  • Cholesterol: 71.4 mg

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Comments

  1. This is so delicious! I don’t live in the city anymore and it’s been years since I had Khao Soi. This recipe is authentic and easy to prepare. I didn’t have crispy noodles so I fried thin strips of tortilla and it was a good replacement. I would give it 10 stars if I could!






  2. This was one of the most delicious soups I have ever made. The broth was incredibly complex and rich is flavor. I made it the day before we had guests for dinner so I believe that the flavors had time to develop overnight. I added additional veggies – diced zucchini, mushrooms, snow peas, etc. to have a more “all-in-one” dinner, Next time I make it I would add the protein shortly before serving so the chicken and shrimp wouldn’t overcook. Also I would use japchae noodles rather than rice noodles as their texture is better for my taste. There was NONE left! My sister made it a week later to RAVE reviews. Thanks for another delicious unusual recipe.






    1. Hi Judy
      I went to a Korean restaurant today and had Japchae noodles for the first time ever! They would be great in this recipe!

      1. I get them on amazon. If you get them, don’t try to break before cooking or you’ll have little pieces of japchae all overy your kitchen! I use scissors to cut them once they cool.

  3. My oh my!!
    I encourage everyone to make this! Easy, flavors are incredible even tho I never had lime leaves! Used thinly sliced chicken breast, zucchini and red peppers.
    A must try.
    A definite keeper!
    Will make winter nights more enjoyable here in Alberta!
    Thank you so much!






  4. Super easy recipe and fast to make, we loved it, very nice as comfort food for our rainy days here in Costa Rica. Thanks.






  5. Thank you very much for the recipe 🙏
    I will make it again for sure. The only modification that I will make next time is to omit the sambal oelek because it was a little too spicy for us.
    I made the recipe with one bell pepper and one bok choy to have a little more veggies.






  6. This is the recipe I make when I want to impress a guest. I’ve been making different variations of curries for years, but this recipe just hits on some kind of magical, chemically perfect combo of flavors that takes the dish to a whole new level.
    Tip: I like to use one tablespoon of massaman curry paste and one tablespoon of red curry paste rather than two red. It gives it additional complexity and takes the heat level down a bit, making it more widely palatable when serving to a group.
    Don’t skip the red onion garnish! It’s to die for. I’ve also used cilantro a few times and like it just as much as Thai basil and better than other basil varieties.






    1. Thanks Kristina! Appreciate this and I will have to try with the massaman curry- love that idea!

    1. Sorry, I added a link to something similar- kind of like the fried noodles on top of a Chinese chicken salad. You can also fry your own thin vermicelli rice noodles in a wok- they puff up beautifully in hot oil, and drain over paper towels.

  7. Made this last night for supper! Absolutely delicious! Lots of interesting flavours running through with a tang of spice (I added birds eye chilliest). Thanks for another great recipe :))






  8. I tried this last night. My partner and I both said “Superb!” In NZ at the end of winter capsicums are an arm and leg! Broccoli and julienned carrot were suitable substitutes.
    No rice noodles? Mung bean vermicelli quite fine!
    Thanks, Feasting! A marvellous repast!






  9. Sylvia,
    This was super srumptious, a big hit with all. Can’t wait to make it again. Followed exactly but omitted the cardamom and garnishes were beansprouts, chopped peanuts, coriander and lime. Really happy to have another of your great recipes,
    Thanks so much, Annette






  10. YUM, we had this for dinner tonight and it was absolutely delicious! I ran out of chili garlic paste so added some sriracha which worked out well. Did add the turmeric & cardamon and shrimp! Perfect – oh, and the basil at the end for serving was a very nice addition as well. Thank You Sylvia, we will definitely have this again and again.






  11. Thank you so much for having a “Print” function with choice of font size.
    It is very much appreciated.

    Kindly

  12. A perfect soup on a cold spring night–doubled the amount of chicken stock and took liberties with the seasonings/protein based on what I had on hand, but your dish in essence. (One of the things I most love about your recipes is that they are robust enough to allow substitutions and tweakings –surprisingly, this is a rare gift–but maybe it’s just that I trust your palate and I’m not wandering far. )

    Thanks for just what we needed in the face of an April snow.






  13. So delicious! It took me significantly more than 5 minutes to prep the ingredients (particularly since I made the crispy tofu) but it was well worth it! I was fortunate to have the shallot, lime leaves, palm sugar, lemongrass, thai basil, thai coconut milk, and sambal olek all on hand — they make such a difference. Loved the pinch of cardamom :).






  14. Was really good. I’d use more turmeric next time. Added extra cardamom, and a little anise[would also add more]. Didnt have proper noodles to fry, but there was some rotini from lunch that fried perfectly! Used tempeh and added bok choy, cabbage, cauliflower, mushrooms and extra broth. thanks for the recipe, i’ll def use again.






  15. Hi- This looks really good and I want to make it. Do you have any substitutions for coconut milk? I understand that it will change the flavour but I don’t want coconut flavour either!

    Thanks!

    1. Hi Fredrick- it really “makes” the soup here, I hesitate to suggest anything else to replace it! I guess you could try leaving it out completely and make it more like Tom Yum soup? More hot and sour ?

  16. I made the vegan version of this tonight and was actually blown away by how it tasted just like the khao soi I’ve had in restaurants, maybe even better. I didn’t even have enough lemongrass and the ones I’d had were crap, and it was STILL delish. My only complaint was that adding the crispy tofu in at the end made for some really bland tofu and didn’t add anything to the dish. The brocolli and spinach I’d added were delish though. I’d use them again. Maybe next time I will just drop raw tofu chuncks into the soup while it cooks so it can absorb the flavor. Already excited to eat leftovers! PS, who my carnivorous husband who was initially disappointed by the lack of shrimp also loved it.






    1. Great to hear Michelle. Try spicing up the tofu a bit (even with just more salt and pepper) before crisping, it will help a lot. 🙂

  17. Fantastic recipe, 2nd time making it. I have eaten Khao soi in Northern Thailand and Laos and this is just as good! Thanks






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