SoupsWhat to CookChickenThai

A Thai Soup That Leaves Most of the Work to Your Guests

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A mix-and-match soup that packs a punch and has something for everyone.


Assembling dinner for a crowd can prove as difficult as willing a piled-high layer cake to maintain its form. The little ones don't like spice, your neighbor just declared himself gluten-free, and your best friend has a spice tolerance that begins and ends with one grind of black pepper (how she survived her semester abroad in Colombia, you'll never know).

In lieu of making six different single-serving dishes, you bring chicken thighs and drumsticks to a simmer in pot of coconut milk and chicken broth (this will appease your lactose-intolerant aunt), and add in some homemade curry paste. While the soup cooks, you set the table with a variety of options: crumbled hard-boiled eggs, fish sauce, chopped cilantro, fried egg noodles, lime wedges, and chile flakes. While we can't gaurantee your neighbor will be thrilled with the drink options—this dish was made for beer—we can ensure that everyone will feel that dinner was made just for them:

Khao Soi (Northern Thai Coconut-Curry Chicken Soup) 


Serves 6

For the curry paste:

4 shallots, sliced
8 cloves garlic
2 kafir lime leaves
1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
1 small bunch coriander stems
One 2-inch piece fresh ginger, sliced
One 1-inch piece fresh turmeric, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon ground cayenne
2 green cardamon pods (or 1/2 teaspoon black whole cardamom)
2 teaspoons dried lemongrass, rehydrated
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fish sauce

For the soup and assembly:

Canola oil, for frying
Two 15-ounce cans coconut milk
2 cups chicken broth
8 pieces chicken thighs or legs
1 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
1 teaspoon ground turmeric (optional)
1 teaspoon fish sauce, or to taste
1 package Chinese egg noodles
Chile flakes, to taste
6 lime wedges
3 to 5 hard-boiled eggs, as garnish
Chopped cilantro, as garnish
Thinly sliced raw shallots, as garnish

Save (and print) the full recipe here.

Photo by James Ransom

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Tags: chicken dinner, soup, thailand