Chicken Curry Noodle Soup
This chicken curry noodle soup is my take on a classic Thai khao soi soup. Tender chicken simmers in a spicy coconut broth with egg noodles and topped with fresh herbs, fresh and crispy onion, and lots of lime. This soup checks all the flavor boxes!
It’s our go-to in cooler weather, but this chicken curry noodle soup is delicious enough to eat all year long. This chicken coconut curry noodle soup is just the right amount of spicy and creamy and full of the good stuff. The chicken is tender and hearty, the noodles chewy, the lime so bright and fresh.
What is ‘Khao Soi’?
Khao soi is a rich and comforting Northern Thailand coconut curry noodle soup. It’s also popular in neighboring countries Myanmar and Laos.
The coconut curry soup base is creamy and packed with umami thanks to red curry paste, ginger, garlic, and fish sauce. Khao soi most often contains chicken or beef. The best part of Khao Soi is all the toppings! It’s topped with fresh sliced shallots, lime, fresh herbs, crispy onions, and chili oil. I don’t claim for this recipe to be authentic, but it’s full of flavor and a nod to one of my favorite Thai dishes.
How to make Chicken Curry Noodle Soup
While this recipe looks like it has a lot of ingredients, most go into the homemade curry paste. I always make extra curry paste and freeze it to have it on hand. You can find most, if not all, of the ingredients at your local Asian market.
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Dried chilies. I opted for dried New Mexico chilies here–they aren’t spicy but they’ve got lots of flavor that plays well here.
- Makrut lime leaves. Also known as ‘kaffir’ lime leaves.
- Thai chilies. These pack some heat, but they’re very small. Feel free to use a less spicy chili.
- Lemongrass. Peel the tough outer leaves away and go for the tender stuff.
- Ginger, garlic, and shallots. Ginger, garlic, and shallots add flavor backbone here. Make sure to use fresh ginger!
- Spices. Turmeric, coriander, and curry powder drive the curry flavor home.
- Chicken. I love using chicken thighs here, but you can use chicken breast.
- Coconut milk. You can find canned coconut milk in the Asian aisle at your grocery store. Don’t go for lite coconut milk, it’s not nearly as creamy or good.
- Fish sauce. Fish sauce adds tons of umami to the soup and curry paste.
- Palm sugar. You can find palm sugar at your local Asian market but brown sugar can do in a pinch.
- Egg noodles. Fresh Chinese egg noodles are best here–they’ll be in the refrigerated area of your local Asian Market.
- Toppings. This chicken curry noodle soup is all about the toppings! I top mine with chili oil, sliced shallots, Thai basil, cilantro, and crispy onions.
- Step one: Soak the dried chilies in hot water until soft.
- Step two: Combine the soaked chilies with the rest of the paste ingredients in the bowl of a food processor. Process until the paste is smooth.
- Step three: Heat oil in a heavy bottomed soup pot. Saute the chicken, stirring occasionally, until browned. Add the curry paste and cook for 4-5 minutes until the curry paste has darkened in color.
- Step four: Add the coconut milk, chicken stock, fish sauce, and palm sugar to the soup pot with the chicken. Bring to a gentle simmer, reduce the heat, and simmer for 25 min uncovered.
- Step five: Cook the noodles in a separate pot of boiling water according to package instructions.
- Step six: Divide the noodles among bowls and ladle the chicken and coconut curry broth over the top. Top with desired toppings.
Best Noodles to Use for Chicken Curry Noodle Soup
This chicken curry noodle soup is made with fresh chewy Chinese egg noodles. You can find these egg noodles in the refrigerated aisle in the Asian grocery store.
You can also use: dried chow mein noodles, cantonese egg noodles, instant ramen noodles, fresh ramen noodles, or even just spaghetti if that’s what you have.
Best Toppings for Chicken Curry Noodle Soup
This chicken curry noodle soup is all about the toppings. Having some fresh and crunchy items makes all the difference!
- Crispy noodles. You can buy crispy fried egg noodles to top your soup, or fry your own. Crispy fried wonton bits are great too!
- Chili oil. I love the extra spice here so I always add chili oil.
- Crispy fried shallots. You can fry your own or buy fried shallots at the store but the crunch and onion flavor is amazing.
- Sliced shallots. I love the combo of raw onion and cooked onion here.
- Fresh herbs. Thai basil and cilantro are my favorites.
- Limes. I love freshly squeezed lime juice in this soup before serving so I always serve with lime wedges.
Cooking Noodles Separately vs. Cooking Noodles in the Soup
I don’t recommend cooking the noodles in the soup. Egg noodles need a lot of water to cook them properly and cooking them in the soup would absorb all the liquid. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it won’t be a soup anymore. Egg noodles release a lot of starch and will totally change the texture of the soup.
I cook my noodles separately always and then divide the cooked noodles into bowls and ladle the soup over the top. When I store leftovers, I also always store the noodles separately.
More Thai-Inspired Recipes to Try
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Chicken Curry Noodle Soup
- 4 New Mexico dried chilies, stem and seeds removed
- 2 large Makrut (kaffir) lime leaves
- 2 Thai chilies, stems removed
- 1/3 cup chopped cilantro leaves and stems
- 4 inches lemongrass stalk, chopped (use only the tender inne leaves)
- 2 small shallots, peeled and chopped
- 5 garlic cloves
- 1 1/2 inches fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 2 teaspoons curry powder
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite sized pieces
- 2 tablespoons neutral oil
- 3 cups chicken stock (homemade is best)
- 2- 15 oz. cans full-fat coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 oz palm sugar (or brown sugar)
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 8 oz fresh Chinese egg noodles
- Sliced Shallots
- Crispy Shallots
- Chili Oil
- Thai Basil
- Lime Wedges
- Crispy Fried Noodles
- In a small bowl, soak the dried chilies in very hot water until soft.
- Combine all the curry paste ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and add the soaked chilies. Process until very smooth.
- Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook until browned. Add the curry paste and cook for 4-5 minutes, until the curry paste has darkened.
- Add the chicken stock, coconut milk, sugar, and fish sauce. Bring the soup to a simmer and then lower the heat. Simmer for 20-25 minutes, until thickened. Add the lime juice and season to taste with salt.
- While the soup simmers, cook the egg noodles in seasoned boiling water according to package instructions.
- Divide the noodles among bowls and ladle the chicken and soup broth over the top. Top with desired toppings and serve immediately.