Bamboo Plantation Garden Center

Noodle Curry
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Kao Soi (Noodle Curry)



May 10, 2011

A traditional northern Thai dish, kao soi became an immediate favorite of mine. Through experimenting at home, my friends and I were able to re-create the dish we fell in love with.


Kao Soi (Noodle Curry)


Eve Turow for NPR


Makes 8 to 10 servings

3 to 4 cups oil (any oil but olive oil) for frying, plus 2 tablespoons

2 pounds fresh Chinese egg noodles

4 to 5 tablespoons red curry paste* (more paste for more spice)

2 tablespoons yellow curry powder

2 14-ounce cans coconut milk

2 1/2 pounds boneless chicken, white and dark meat, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

3 to 3 1/2 cups of water or chicken stock

5 shallots, thinly sliced

1 to 1 1/2 cups Chinese pickled mustard green, thinly sliced*

1 1/2 limes, cut into wedges (8 per lime)

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

4 tablespoons fish sauce

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 to 3 teaspoons coconut, palm or brown sugar

*Available at Asian grocery stores or in the international aisle in supermarkets.

Heat wok on high and add 3 to 4 cups oil, depending on the size of your pan. Cut 1 pound of egg noodles into 2- to 3-inch pieces. Once oil begins to smoke, add noodles in small batches and fry until golden and crispy. Remove with hand strainer or skimmer and drain, then add the next batch. Set aside crispy noodles for garnish and clean wok.

Next, mix together the red curry paste and yellow curry powder until blended. Set aside.

Heat cleaned wok over medium-high heat and add 3/4 cup coconut milk, preferably the thicker cream from the top of the cans. Once reduced and oil begins to separate, add the curry blend and fry 2 to 4 minutes in the coconut milk until it becomes fragrant. Toss in the chicken and fry with coconut milk and curry mixture until the outside of the meat is no longer pink. Add remaining coconut milk and 3 1/2 cups water or chicken stock and bring to a boil. (Note: If you wish to make the dish less rich, swap out some of the coconut milk for water or chicken stock). Reduce heat and boil, partially covered, for about 20 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked.

Place the prepared shallots, mustard greens, limes and cilantro in condiment dishes. Set aside.

Separately, add water to pot and bring to a boil.

When the chicken is tender, add the fish sauce, soy sauce and sugar to wok. Taste, and if out of balance, add more of each ingredient as needed. Turn off heat.

Once water has reached a boil, add the remaining egg noodles and cook until desired consistency. Drain and divide evenly into each serving dish. Spoon chicken and curry over egg noodles and top with a pinch of cilantro and fried noodles. Serve with the dishes of shallots, mustard greens and limes as condiments.


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Bamboo Factoid

Bamboo shoots will emerge from the ground for a few inches and usually pause for about a week before continuing to shoot skyward. They are covered by a hard protective sheath at each node which is deciduous and falls away once the shoot fully extends outward. The sheath has several functions, one of which is to protect the new shoot as it extends its internodes. At this stage the new shoots have a high water content and are very soft. The diameter of the shoot at its base is the diameter that the new culm (cane) will have when fully mature and throughout its life. New shoots extend upward by extending its internodes similar to the way a telescoping antenna will extend by pulling on it. They are fully extended and hardened off in apx 6 weeks from emerging from the ground.