A Taste Of Place

Khao Soi

by Chef Liz Chadwick






  • One medium chicken or 1 lb. firm tofu
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Kosher salt


  • Coconut oil
  • 2 large yellow onions, medium diced
  • 2 medium shallots, medium diced
  • 3 celery stalks, medium diced
  • 2 large carrots, medium diced


  • 3 large guajillo chiles, stemmed, seeded, cut in quarters
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons coriander, fresh ground
  • 2 tablespoons dried turmeric
  • 3 tablespoons thai green curry paste (more if you want it spicy)
  • 1 tablespoon lemongrass (usually can purchase frozen)
  • 1 whole head of garlic, peeled, roughly minced
  • 1 medium knob of ginger, finely minced

For soup:

  • Chicken stock (from boiled chicken) or vegetable stock
  • 2 – 13.5 oz cans of coconut milk (full fat, not light)
  • Fish sauce
  • Tamari
  • Rice wine vinegar
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 lb Lo mein or flat rice noodles


  • Cilantro, roughly chopped
  • Red onions, sliced thin
  • Scallions, sliced on a bias
  • Bean Sprouts
  • Fried Garlic slices
  • Fried udon noodles
  • Chili Oil
  • Lime Wedges


8 hours or the night before:

Boil off one whole chicken in water with 4 tablespoons kosher salt, and 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar. Meat should separate easily from bones. Strain and save broth for soup.

If using Tofu: slice into cubes, toss with sesame oil, salt and pepper, and bake at 350F until slightly crisp on the outside.

For the Soup:

Saute the vegetables in a healthy spoonful of coconut oil until onions and shallots are translucent. Then add in chiles, coriander, turmeric, curry paste and lemongrass. Saute for another 3 minutes, stirring regularly – spices should start to stick to bottom of pan. Add in garlic and ginger, and cook for another two minutes, stirring constantly.

Deglaze pan with a cup of the chicken or vegetable broth, careful to scrape up the browned bottom of the pan, then add more broth to just cover the vegetables. Simmer for 15 minutes, or until vegetables are suitably softened, then add in pulled chicken or tofu, and the coconut milk. Bring back to a simmer, then cook for another 15 minutes. Be careful not to bring soup to a rolling boil. Turn off the heat and add fish sauce, vinegar, and tamari to taste.

Serve over cooked noodles, and desired toppings.


  • Thai green curry paste often has shrimp paste as an ingredient. An alternative to using curry paste is to use 3 tablespoons of curry powder.
  • By not boiling the coconut milk, you protect the proteins and oils that could curdle the liquid. This ensures a silky texture for the soup.
  • To make fried garlic, slice peeled garlic cloves into thick rounds, and fry carefully in olive oil until medium-dark brown.
  • To fry udon noodles: par-boil noodles in water. Strain and let dry for 5 minutes. Delicately lower into a neutral oil heated to 350F, and fry until lightly brown and crisp. Remove from oil onto a towel, and season with salt and pepper.
  • To make chili oil, lightly simmer Korean red chili flakes in sesame oil for five minutes, stirring constantly. Will keep for 6 months in the fridge.


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Filed Under: Blog The Sterling Kitchen