Austin Bush's Khao Soi Nuea

March 7, 2019

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes: Reprinted from The Food of Northern Thailand. Copyright © 2018 by Austin Bush. Photographs copyright © 2018 by Austin Bush. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLCFood52

Serves: 4
Prep time: 5 hrs 30 min
Cook time: 30 min

Ingredients

For the Crispy Noodle Garnish, Curry Paste, and Curry

  • 4 cups vegetable oil, for deep-frying
  • 80 grams 3 ounces fresh flat wheat-and-egg noodles
  • 10 large dried chilies (16 grams /½ ounce total)
  • 2 teaspoons table salt
  • 20 grams (⅔ ounce) ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 1 medium onion (200 grams /7 ounces), peeled and chopped
  • 80 grams (3 ounces) shallots, peeled and sliced
  • 8 (40 grams / 1½ ounces) garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
  • 2 black cardamom pods (5 grams total)
  • 6 whole star anise (6 grams total)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric powder
  • 35 grams (1¼ ounces) ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 800 grams (1¾ pounds) beef shank, silver skin trimmed and discarded, 1-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon black soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon raw sugarcane sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon MSG (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut cream
  • 500 grams (18 ounces) fresh flat wheat-and-egg noodles

For Serving

  • 1 small bunch cilantro (20 grams /⅔ ounce total), chopped
  • 2 (40 grams / 1½ ounces total), chopped
  • 240 grams (8½ ounces) shallots, peeled and sliced
  • 300 grams (10½ ounces) Yunnanese style pickled mustard greens, sliced
  • 4 limes, cut into wedges
  • 1 pinch chili powder fried in oil
  • 1 dash fish sauce
In This Recipe

Directions

For the Crispy Noodle Garnish, Curry Paste, and Curry

  1. Prepare the crispy noodle garnish: Heat 1½ inches of oil to 325°F in a wok over high heat. (If you don’t have a thermometer, the oil is ready when a noodle sizzles instantly in the oil, but it shouldn’t be smoking hot.) Carefully place 20 grams / ⅔ ounce of noodles in the oil, deep-frying until crispy but not burnt, about 30 seconds. Remove the noodles with a slotted spoon or spider, and drain on paper towels. Repeat with the remaining noodles. When the noodles are cool, store in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
  2. Prepare the curry paste: Bring the chilies and enough water to cover by an inch or two to a boil in a small saucepan over high heat. Remove the saucepan from the heat and soak the chilies for 15 minutes. Drain, discarding the water, and when cool enough to handle, remove and discard the seeds from the chilies. Using a mortar and pestle, pound and grind the chilies and salt to a coarse paste. Add the ginger; pound and grind to a coarse paste. Add the onions, shallots, and garlic, and pound and grind to a fine paste. (Because of the liquid in these ingredients, this last step is easiest if done in a blender or food processor.)
  3. Prepare the curry: A day or several hours before serving, crack the black cardamom pods, discarding the shells. Add the black cardamom seeds to a wok set over medium-low heat. Toast the seeds, stirring frequently, until they are slightly dark and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Pound and grind the seeds to a fine powder in a mortar and pestle (or use a spice grinder). Repeat with the star anise.
  4. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the curry paste, 1 tablespoon of the ground black cardamom, 2 teaspoons of ground star anise, turmeric, and ginger, and fry, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is fragrant and a thin layer of oil has begun to emerge, about 20 minutes.
  5. Increase the heat to medium, add the beef, and fry, stirring occasionally, until the beef is just firm, about 5 minutes. Add 1 cup of water, the black soy sauce, sugar, and MSG (if using), and increase the heat to high. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer, cover the saucepan, and simmer for 1 hour. Open the lid slightly and simmer until the beef is very tender and a layer oil has risen to the top, another 1 to 1½ hours. Taste, adjusting the seasoning if necessary; the curry should taste meaty and slightly salty, and it should be fragrant from the dried spices.
  6. Prepare the bowls: Warm up the beef curry, adding a few tablespoons of water, if necessary (the mixture should be thick but somewhat pourable). Bring the coconut milk and coconut cream to a gentle simmer in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Bring at least 6 inches of water to a boil in a stockpot over high heat. Put 75 grams / 2¾ ounces of noodles in a noodle basket and boil, agitating the basket until the noodles are just tender, about 20 seconds. Remove the noodles, drain, and add to a serving bowl. Top with a scant ½ cup of the beef curry and a scant ½ cup of the coconut milk mixture.

For Serving

  1. Garnish with the cilantro, green onions, and the crispy fried noodles. Repeat with the remaining ingredients for each bowl.
  2. Serve with the sliced shallots, sliced pickled greens, and limes, as well as the dried chilies fried in oil and fish sauce

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Reviews (6) Questions (0)

6 Reviews

Karen O. March 17, 2019
You forgot one more in the “what you need to serve section”

2 (40 grams / 1½ ounces total), chopped ?
 
Laura P. March 12, 2019
Hi, there is an ingredient name missing in the list ‘For Serving’ between cilantro and shallots. It’s 2 or 40 grams of something chopped.
 
jason March 13, 2019
Is it garlic? Want to make this ASAP, looks delish.
 
jason March 13, 2019
This whole recipe needs an edit. I find it very confusing to follow.

Prep time 5.5 hrs & cook time 30, doesn’t reflect the steps.

Store noodles up to 2 days. Prepare curry a day or a few hours in advance. Again not very clear directions.

I’m pretty good at winging things but this one is taking a while to come to terms with.
 
Rebekah G. March 8, 2019
This sounds utterly divine. I may be missing something, but when do you add the coconut milk and cream?
 
Brinda A. March 9, 2019
Hi Rebekah, so sorry about that! Must've been a little glitch—all updated now (you add the coconut milk and cream as you are building the bowls of noodle soup!