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Now reading Uncle Boon’s Khao Soi

Uncle Boon’s Khao Soi

A traditional take on the curry soup, with the added flair of cilantro noodles.

ANN REDDING: Khao soi is a specialty of the Chiang Mai region; it’s the dish that the area is known for. Chiang Mai is a lot cooler than Bangkok, so the spices and the warm, savory flavors really suit the dish.

Our khao soi is actually one of the few dishes on our menu that we didn’t play with that much—it’s such a perfect dish the way it is, and it’s so comforting that we wanted to leave it mostly alone. The chopped cilantro in the egg noodles, though—that isn’t traditional. We add that for a little extra punch.  att first wanted to do a pappardelle with a cilantro inlay—whole leaves of cilantro perfectly rolled into the dough— but it got to be a bit much.
MATT DANZER: It used to take the guys, like, six hours to make the pasta dough. So I finally said, Okay, fine, you can chop the cilantro.

We grind up our harder items, like spices, then grind the spices and vegetables
down to a paste. Traditionally, they say you’re supposed to sweat the paste until you stick your head over the pot and it makes you sneeze. Then we add all of the other liquids: we braise chicken legs in the paste mixed with chicken stock and coconut milk and then let it rest overnight. Like many braises, it’s better the next day.

Khao Soi

Makes 4 Servings
  • 1 pandan leaf
  • 4 skinless chicken drumsticks
  • 4 skinless chicken thighs
  • + Khao Soi Sauce
  • + kosher salt
  • + Cilantro Egg Noodles
  • + Pickled Shallots, pickled mustard greens (you can find these at most Asian grocery stores), chopped scallions, cilantro springs
  • + Fried Cilantro Egg Noodles, for garnish
  • + lime wedges and chili sauce, for serving

Khao Soi Sauce

  • 6 C full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 Khao Soi Paste
  • 1 1/2 C chicken stock
  • 1/2 C + 1 T fish sauch
  • 3 T dark soy sauce
  • 2 T finely chopped palm sugar or packed light brown sugar
  • + kosher salt, to taste

Khao Soi Paste

  • 12 dried arbol chilies, stemmed
  • 6-8 large shallots (1 lb), sliced
  • 12 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 3" piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 1 3" piece fresh tumeric, peeled and sliced
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 1/2 T whole coriander seeds
  • 3 brown (or black) cardamom pods
  • 1/2 C finely chopped cilantro stems
  • 1 t kosher salt

Cilantro Egg Noodles

  • 3 T olive oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 6 T water
  • 4 C all-purpose flour, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1 T kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • 1/2 C finely chopped cilantro leaves
  • + cornstarch, for dusting
  • + neutral oil, for frying

Pickled Shallots

  • 1/2 C red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 1/2 t kosher salt
  • 4 large shallots (8 oz), cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices

Preparation

Make the Khao Soi Paste

Khao Soi Paste
  • 12 dried arbol chilies, stemmed
  • 6-8 large shallots (1 lb), sliced
  • 12 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 3" piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 1 3" piece fresh tumeric, peeled and sliced
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 1/2 T whole coriander seeds
  • 3 brown (or black) cardamom pods
  • 1/2 C finely chopped cilantro stems
  • 1 t kosher salt
  1. Heat the oven to 425°F.

  2. In a large bowl, soak the chilies in 1 cup boiling water for 10 minutes. Drain and pat them dry, then stir in the shallots, garlic, ginger, turmeric, and olive oil. Toss until combined, then spread on a large, rimmed baking sheet and roast, stirring once halfway through, until charred and soft, 25–30 minutes. Let cool.

  3. Meanwhile, heat the coriander seeds and cardamom pods in a small skillet over high heat until toasted and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Pick out the cardamom pods and pour the coriander seeds into a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. Crack open the cardamom pods and remove the seeds inside. Discard the pods and transfer the seeds to the spice grinder. Process the spices until finely ground.

  4. In a food processor, combine the roasted aromatics with the ground spices, cilantro, and salt and process until smooth. Transfer the paste to a container, cover, and refrigerate until ready to use, up to 1 week.

Make the Cilantro Egg Noodles

Cilantro Egg Noodles
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 6 T water
  • 4 C all-purpose flour, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1 T kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • 1/2 C finely chopped cilantro leaves
  • + cornstarch, for dusting
  • + neutral oil, for frying
  1. In a medium bowl, lightly beat together the olive oil, eggs, egg yolks, and water lightly to combine.

  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt. Pile onto a large, flat work surface and make a well in the center.

  3. Pour the egg mixture into the center of the well. Working slowly, combine the flour into the egg, mixing together to form a dough. Sprinkle the work surface with more flour and knead until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

  4. Divide the dough into quarters. Pass three of the dough quarters through a pasta machine on the second-to-last setting; these will be your noodles for the soup. Cut the pasta sheets crosswise in half, then cut the sheets lengthwise into ⅓-inch-wide noodles. Dust the noodles with cornstarch, transfer to a baking sheet, and refrigerate until ready to use.

  5. Run the remaining quarter of dough through the pasta machine on the second-to-last setting; these will be for your Fried Cilantro Egg Noodles. Cut the pasta sheet crosswise into thirds, then cut the sheets lengthwise into ⅓-inch-wide noodles. Dust the noodles with cornstarch and refrigerate until ready to use.

  6. To make the Fried Cilantro Egg Noodles: Heat a large pot of oil to
    350°F. Working in batches, fry the reserved noodles until golden and
    crispy, about 1 minute. Drain on paper towels and hold at room temperature until ready to use.

Make the Pickled Shallots

Pickled Shallots
  • 1/2 C red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 1/2 t kosher salt
  • 4 large shallots (8 oz), cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a large container and cover with
    1 cup of boiling water. Stir until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Cover and let sit in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours.

Make the Khao Soi

Khao Soi
  • 1 pandan leaf
  • 4 skinless chicken drumsticks
  • 4 skinless chicken thighs
  • + Khao Soi Sauce
  • + kosher salt
  • + Cilantro Egg Noodles
  • + Pickled Shallots, pickled mustard greens (you can find these at most Asian grocery stores), chopped scallions, cilantro springs
  • + Fried Cilantro Egg Noodles, for garnish
  • + lime wedges and chili sauce, for serving
  1. Heat the oven to 325°F.

  2. Place the pandan leaf, drumsticks, and thighs in a large roasting pan. Pour the Khao Soi Sauce over the top and cover with foil. Braise until very tender, around 1 1/2–2 hours.

  3. Using tongs, transfer the thighs to a cutting board and let cool for 5 minutes. Pick the thigh meat off the bones, then return the picked meat to the sauce; leave the drumsticks intact. If not serving right away, cover the roasting pan and refrigerate overnight (it’s better the next day). Bring the sauce and meat to a simmer for 5 minutes before serving.

  4. When you’re almost ready to serve, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Drop in the Cilantro Egg Noodles and cook until al dente, about 3 minutes. Drain the noodles and divide them among 4 large serving bowls.

  5. Remove the chicken from the sauce and place on top of the noodles, dividing the drumsticks and thigh meat evenly among the bowls. Ladle the sauce over top of the chicken, then garnish with the Pickled Shallots, pickled mustard greens, scallions, cilantro, and a large handful of the Fried Cilantro Egg Noodles (you will have some fried noodles leftover). Serve immediately with lime wedges and chili sauce on the side.

Make the Khao Soi Sauce

Khao Soi Sauce
  • 6 C full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 Khao Soi Paste
  • 1 1/2 C chicken stock
  • 1/2 C + 1 T fish sauch
  • 3 T dark soy sauce
  • 2 T finely chopped palm sugar or packed light brown sugar
  • + kosher salt, to taste
  1. Skim the thick coconut cream off the top of the coconut milk, transfer it to a large saucepan, and heat over medium-high heat. Simmer until it begins to thicken and separate, about 5 minutes. Add the Khao Soi Paste and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes.

  2. Add the coconut milk, chicken stock, fish sauce, dark soy sauce, and palm sugar and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and season with salt to taste. Transfer the sauce to a container, if not using right away, and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.