Easy Khao Soi
This Easy Khao Soi is a shortcut version of the beloved Chiang Mai chicken curry noodle soup. It’s ready in 30 minutes, beautifully spiced and boasts a creamy and velvety spicy coconut milk broth! Serve over a bed of egg noodles and top off your bowl with coriander, air fryer wonton strips and sliced red onion for a comforting weeknight meal.
Everyone loves an irresistible khao soi noodle soup. There’s no denying how delicious and satisfying it is.
However, making khao soi from scratch takes time. You need several aromatics to first make the khao soi paste and then simmer the broth for a lengthy period to allow the robust flavors to develop. <– Not possible on a weeknight for most people.
I have good news for you! You can make a flavorful and irresistible Easy Khao Soi with a few convenient ingredients and it doesn’t take hours! This easy khao soi is made with red curry paste and a few everyday spices.
It’s ready in about 30 minutes and perfect for anytime a khao soi craving hits! Moreover, it’s super tasty and you’re going to want to add it to your repertoire for easy Thai recipes. I think you’re going to love it!
Why This Recipe Works
- Quick and easy. Using Thai red curry paste and everyday dried spices yields a similar flavor to authentic khao soi. You don’t need to hunt down several aromatics to make a khao soi paste or simmer the broth for a lengthy period.
- DELICIOUS flavors! The broth is spicy, creamy and full of irresistible coconut curry and aromatic makrut lime flavors!
- Customizable. You can make it as spicy or mild as you like and use any type of noodles and protein you love.
- Perfect for anytime! This recipe comes together in about 30 minutes and you can enjoy an easy and delicious khao soi noodle soup anytime!
Ingredient Notes and Substitutes
- Aromatics: Fresh garlic, Bird’s Eye red chilies and red onion (or sliced Asian red shallot). Use any type of hot red chilies easily available to you. Omit or use less chilies if you are sensitive to heat.
- Makrut Lime Leaves: Also known as kaffir lime leaves, this fragrant Thai herb has a citrusy aroma and adds a sweet lime-like scent and flavor to Thai food. Find them in a Thai grocery store or substitute with the ground dried version or dried makrut lime leaves. Both can be found in most well-stocked mainstream supermarkets.
- Chicken Broth: I used Better Than Bouillon Roasted Chicken Base and mixed it with boiling hot water to make a robust flavored chicken broth. However, homemade or store-bought chicken brought can be used for convenience too.
- Chicken Thigh Fillets: I recommend using sliced chicken thigh fillets over boneless and skinless chicken breasts as they are more tender and flavorful and less prone to drying out during simmering. However, you can substitute with chicken breast if you prefer a leaner option.
- Coconut Sugar: Known as ‘gula kelapa’ in Malaysia, this type of coconut sugar is similar to Thai palm sugar and comes in the form of hardened discs. You need to finely shave it with a knife so that it dissolves more easily. Substitute with palm sugar if you have it on hand or granulated coconut or light brown sugar.
- Thai Red Curry Paste: I used Mae Ploy brand as it’s more authentic in flavor and spicier than other brands. However, any brand will work.
- Spices: We have ground cumin, coriander, cinnamon and turmeric powder.
- Coconut Milk: Use full-fat for the best creamy texture and flavor.
- Fish Sauce: For savory umami notes. Substitute with light soy sauce or coconut aminos if preffered.
- Thai Chili Powder (optional): A blend of chili seeds, flakes and powder. Substitute with crushed red pepper flakes or omit for a milder khao soi broth.
- Lime Juice: Added at the end for a hint of tang. Freshly squeezed tastes best.
- Thin Dried Egg Noodles: Or use thin dried rice noodle sticks, vermicelli, etc.
- To Serve (optional toppings): Serve this easy khao soi with chopped coriander (cilantro), sliced red onion (or Asian red shallots), air fryer wonton strips and lime wedges for squeezing!
Full ingredient list and amounts are in the recipe card below.
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How to Make Easy Khao Soi
- Sauté the aromatics. Heat oil in a medium stockpot or large nonstick wok. Add the red curry paste and sauté briefly until shiny and sizzling. Then add the garlic, red chilies and red onion and sauté for a minute until fragrant.
- Add the spices. Add the ground spices and mix to combine.
- Cook the chicken. Add the chicken pieces and sauté to coat in the curry paste and spices mixture until no longer pink but not fully cooked yet.
- Build the broth. Stir in the coconut milk and chicken broth and simmer for a couple of minutes.
- Season. Stir in the minced makrut lime leaves, coconut sugar, fish sauce, Thai chili powder (if using) and lime juice.
- Cook the noodles. In a separate pot of boiling water, cook the dried egg noodles according to package instructions. Drain and divide the noodles evenly into bowls.
- Serve. Ladle the khao soi broth and chicken evenly over the noodles in the bowls. Top with sliced red onion, chopped coriander and air fryer wonton strips. Serve with lime wedges for squeezing if desired.
Full detailed instructions are in the recipe card below.
- Use store-bought khao soi paste. If it’s easy to find for you, use store-bought readymade khao soi paste such as the one from Mae Amporn brand instead of red curry paste and the spices to make the broth.
- Adjust seasonings to taste. Give the broth a taste after simmering and adjust any seasonings to suit your taste. Add more fish sauce, coconut sugar, lime juice, or Thai chili powder to make it saltier, sweeter, more tangy or spicier respectively.
- Use low fat coconut milk. Although full-fat is preferred for a rich and creamy curry broth, you can use low fat or light coconut milk and add some corn starch to thicken it. Stir 1 teaspoon of corn starch in the coconut milk before pouring it into the wok.
- Make it milder. Use a mild Thai red curry paste such as Thai Kitchen brand and use less (or omit) the fresh red chilies and Thai chili powder.
- Use a different type of protein. Khao soi is typically made with chicken or beef. However, pork belly can be used instead. If you opt for beef or pork, you will need to simmer the broth longer until the meat is tender. It should take approximately 20-30 minutes for thinly sliced pork belly or sirloin beef but adjust the cook time as needed. Shrimp or prawns would also taste great and can be added after stirring in the coconut milk and chicken broth. They’ll only need 3-5 minutes to cook through depending on size.
- Serve with any other noodles you love. Although typically served over egg noodles in Thailand, this easy khao soi will taste delicious with dried rice noodles, vermicelli, or any other noodles of your choice.
- Make it gluten-free. Double check that the red curry paste you’re using is free of any ingredients containing gluten if you have sensitivities. Serve with rice noodles or other gluten-free noodles of choice.
Preheat air fryer to 180°C / 350°F for 3 minutes or according to manufacturer’s instructions. Slice wonton wrappers into ½-inch wide strips. Place in an even layer in the air fryer basket (you may need to air fry in batches depending on how many wonton wrappers you use). Spray lightly with cooking spray and air fry for 3-4 minutes, shaking the basket halfway through. They will be light golden brown and crisp once cooked. Store in a sealed airtight container in a cool dry area for 2-3 days.
Use a block of extra firm tofu and cut into ¾-inch cubes. Sauté curry paste, aromatics and spices. Then add the tofu cubes and sauté to coat. Follow the rest of the recipe as indicated. Substitute light soy sauce for fish sauce and use a vegan red curry paste that doesn’t contain any shrimp or fish ingredients.
Although typically served with wheat based egg noodles in Thailand, you can enjoy the khao soi chicken broth over a bed of cooked fluffy Thai jasmine rice if preferred.
MADE THIS RECIPE? If you make this recipe, leave a comment below and let me know how you liked it! Take a photo and tag it with @thatspicychick on Instagram and hashtag it #thatspicychick and I’ll be sure to share your masterpiece!
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Easy Khao Soi
This Easy Khao Soi with chicken is a shortcut 30-minute version that is beautifully spiced and boasts a rich, velvety and creamy spicy coconut milk curry broth! Make it anytime a Thai coconut curry noodle soup craving strikes!
- Prep Time: 15
- Cook Time: 15
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 2 1x
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Simmer
- Cuisine: Thai
- 15 grams / 2 Garlic cloves – minced
- 25 grams / 6 – 8 fresh Red Chilies (Thai Bird’s Eye or any variety – note 1), to taste – finely chopped
- 2 Makrut Lime Leaves – destemmed, finely minced into a powder (note 2)
- 20 grams / ⅛ medium Red Onion – thinly sliced
- 12 grams / 2 TSP Better Than Bouillon Roasted Chicken Base (note 3 – or use 500ml/ 2 cups store-bought chicken broth)
- 500ml / 2 cups boiling Hot Water
- 280 grams / 9.87 ounces Chicken Thigh Fillets – cleaned, trimmed, sliced into bite-sized pieces
- 5 grams / 1 TBSP Coconut Sugar (‘gula kelapa’, or use granulated coconut or light brown sugar – note 4) – finely shaved with a knife
- 1 TBSP Peanut Oil (or any neutral flavored cooking oil)
- 20 grams / 4 TSP Thai Red Curry Paste (I used Mae Ploy brand)
- ¼ TSP ground Cumin
- ¼ TSP ground Coriander
- ¼ TSP ground Cinnamon
- ½ TSP Turmeric Powder
- 300ml / ≈ 1.25 cups Coconut Milk (full-fat preferred)
- 1.5 TBSP Fish Sauce, to taste
- ½ TSP Thai Chili Powder (optional – substitute with crushed red pepper), to taste
- 1 TBSP freshly squeezed Lime Juice
- 120 grams / 4.23 ounces Thin Dried Egg Noodles (note 5)
- To Serve (optional toppings): Chopped coriander (cilantro), sliced red onion (or Asian red shallots), air-fried wonton strips (note 6 for instructions on how to make them), lime wedges for squeezing
- Prepare the fresh ingredients: Mince the garlic and finely chop the red chilies. Combine the Better Than Bouillon Roasted Chicken Base with the boiling hot water in a heatproof measuring glass and mix well to make chicken broth. Destem and mince the makrut lime leaves into a powder and thinly slice the red onion. Slice the chicken into bite-sized pieces and set aside. Finely shave the coconut sugar with a knife.
Easy Khao Soi:
- Sauté the aromatics: Heat 1 tablespoon peanut oil in a medium stockpot or large nonstick wok over medium-high heat. Add the red curry paste and sauté briefly until shiny and sizzling. Then add the garlic, red chilies and red onion and sauté for a minute until fragrant.
- Add the spices: Add the ground cumin, ground coriander, ground cinnamon and turmeric powder and mix to combine.
- Cook the chicken: Add the chicken and sauté until to coat in the curry paste and spice mixture until no longer pink but not fully cooked yet – about 1 minute.
- Build the broth: Pour in the coconut milk and chicken broth and stir to combine. Simmer for 5 minutes.
- Season: Stir in the minced makrut lime leaves, coconut sugar, fish sauce, Thai chili powder (if using) and lime juice. Give the broth a taste and adjust seasonings if needed before switching off the heat.
- Cook the noodles: In a separate pot of boiling water, cook the dried egg noodles according to package instructions. Drain and divide the noodles evenly into two bowls.
- To Serve: Ladle the khao soi broth and chicken evenly over the noodles in the bowls. Top with sliced red onion, chopped coriander and air fryer wonton strips. Serve with lime wedges for squeezing if desired.
- Red Chilies. Use less or omit if less heat is desired.
- Makrut Lime Leaves. Also known as kaffir lime leaves, this fragrant Thai herb has a citrusy aroma and adds a sweet lime-like scent and flavor to Thai food. Find it in a Thai grocery store or substitute with the ground dried version or dried makrut lime leaves. They both can be found in most well-stocked mainstream supermarkets.
- Better Than Bouillon Roasted Chicken Base. I’ve used this to make a robust flavored chicken broth by combining the paste with water. However, feel free to use store-bought or homemade chicken broth instead.
- Coconut Sugar. Known as ‘gula kelapa’ in Malaysia, this type of coconut sugar is similar to Thai palm sugar and comes in the form of hardened discs. You need to finely shave it with a knife so that it dissolves more easily. Feel free substitute with palm sugar if you have it on hand or granulated coconut or light brown sugar.
- Thin Dried Egg Noodles: Feel free to swap for thin dried rice noodles, vermicelli, or other noodles of your choice.
- How to make air fryer wonton strips. Preheat air fryer to 180°C / 350°F for 3 minutes or according to manufacturer’s instructions. Slice wonton wrappers into ½-inch wide strips. Place in an even layer in the air fryer basket (you may need to air fry in batches depending on how many wonton wrappers you use). Spray lightly with cooking spray and air fry for 3-4 minutes, shaking the basket halfway through. They will be light golden brown and crisp once cooked. Store in a sealed airtight container in a cool dry area for 2-3 days. You can also just shallow or deep-fry them in vegetable oil. See my authentic Khao Soi Gai recipe for instructions and photos for how to make deep-fried wonton wrapper strips.
- Leftovers and storage: Leftover khao soi broth should be stored separate from the noodles in an airtight sealed container in the fridge for 3-4 days. I recommend cooking the noodles just before serving but they can be cooked and stored in a container for 2-3 days in the fridge too if needed. Reheat the broth in a pot on the stovetop or in the microwave on high for 1-2 minutes, stirring once in between, or until hot throughout.
- Nutritional information: The nutritional information excludes optional toppings for serving.
- Serving Size: 1/2 of recipe
- Calories: 679
- Sugar: 8.1g
- Sodium: 4063.2mg
- Fat: 31.4g
- Saturated Fat: 13.1g
- Unsaturated Fat: 18.3g
- Trans Fat: 0.1g
- Carbohydrates: 57.8g
- Fiber: 3.3g
- Protein: 41.8
- Cholesterol: 131.6mg
Keywords: easy khao soi, easy northern thai coconut curry soup, thai coconut curry chicken soup, chicken khao soi
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