This recipe for Chicken Khao Soi is based on a simple curry paste but it gives this northern Thai–inspired soup surprising depth of flavor.
Khao Soi Paste
4 large dried New Mexico or guajillo chilies, stemmed, halved, seeded
2 medium shallots, halved
8 garlic cloves
1 2″ piece ginger, peeled, sliced
¼ cup chopped cilantro stems
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon curry powder
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 14-oz. cans unsweetened coconut milk
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1½ lb skinless, boneless chicken thighs, halved
1 lb Chinese egg noodles
3 tablespoons (or more) fish sauce (such as nam pla or nuoc nam)
1 tablespoon (packed) palm sugar or light brown sugar
Sliced red onion, bean sprouts, cilantro sprigs, crispy fried onions or shallots, chili oil, and lime wedges (for serving)
Khao Soi Paste
1. Place chilies in a small heatproof bowl, add boiling water to cover, and let soak until softened, 25–30 minutes.
2. Drain chilies, reserving soaking liquid. Purée chilies, shallots, garlic, ginger, cilantro stems, coriander, turmeric, curry powder, and 2 Tbsp. soaking liquid in a food processor, adding more soaking liquid by tablespoonfuls, if needed, until smooth.
1. Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat.
2. Add khao soi paste; cook, stirring constantly, until slightly darkened, 4–6 minutes.
3. Add coconut milk and broth.
4. Bring to a boil; add chicken.
5. Reduce heat and simmer until chicken is fork-tender, 20–25 minutes.
6. Transfer chicken to a plate. Let cool slightly; shred meat.
7. Meanwhile, cook noodles according to package directions.
8. Add chicken, 3 Tbsp. fish sauce, and sugar to soup. Season with salt or more fish sauce, if needed.
9. Divide soup and noodles among bowls and serve with toppings.