Vegan Khao Soi

February 18, 2021
5 Ratings
Photo by WoonHeng Chia
  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 40 minutes
  • Serves 3
Author Notes

When I was a student in Oklahoma, one of the many things I missed was a bowl of curry noodles. But back then, Malaysian food wasn't all that common, so the closest I could get was a bowl of khao soi. I was floored. The look and taste of this dish brought me home immediately.

Compared to Malaysian curry laksa, especially the ones I have tried, khao soi broth is normally thicker and a little sweeter, but they have so many similarities. I make khao soi regularly with my own chile paste and loved the one I had from Chiang Mai, at Reform Kafe, the most.

This vegan khao soi brings back many memories from when I visited Chiang Mai a few years ago. The creamy broth has a multidimensional flavor, thanks to using a homemade chile paste—it’s similar to my homemade sambal but with some bonus spices, like cumin, coriander, and turmeric, inspired by Marion's Kitchen and Hot Thai Kitchen.

Common pairings for khao soi include sour mustard, crispy fried noodles, any protein, fresh shallots, and yellow noodles. If you haven't tried sour mustard, a pickle made from mustard greens, in soups or noodles, you are missing out. The flavor combo is sooo mouthwatering and instantly warms up my belly and heart.

Note: If you are using store-bought vegan fish sauce, please adjust the salt level accordingly, as my homemade version (nước mắm chay) is slightly sweeter. —WoonHeng Chia

What You'll Need
  • Vegan khao soi
  • 5 dried chiles, soaked in hot water until soft
  • 3 red jalapeños, roughly chopped
  • 2 large shallots, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
  • 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, white part only, chopped
  • 4 lime leaves, stems removed
  • 5 peeled slices galangal
  • Salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • Neutral oil
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 5 cups vegetable stock
  • 3 tablespoons vegan fish sauce, plus more to taste
  • 1 palm sugar round (15 grams), plus more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon mushroom seasoning
  • 1 cup coconut milk, plus more to taste
  • 3 servings your favorite noodles, such as wheat
  • Toppings
  • Fried wonton strips
  • Shallots, sliced
  • Thinly sliced sour mustard
  • Lime wedges
  • Chopped cilantro
  1. Make the curry paste: Place the soaked chiles, jalapeños, shallot, garlic, lemongrass, lime leaves, galangal, 1 teaspoon of salt, plus the cumin, coriander, and turmeric in a food processor. Add a drizzle of oil, then blend into a fine paste. (Alternatively, you can also use a mortar and pestle to pound the ingredients.)
  2. Heat up a large wok and add 2 tablespoons of oil.
  3. Add the ground chile paste and stir-fry over medium-low heat until fragrant. If it appears dry, add a little more oil. Please do not over-fry the paste or it will turn bitter.
  4. Add the mushrooms and continue to stir-fry until they release their aroma.
  5. Add the vegetable stock and bring the mixture to a boil. Season with the vegan fish sauce, palm sugar, and mushrooms seasoning.
  6. Turn down the heat and add the coconut milk. Let it simmer for another 5 minutes. Taste and adjust the season accordingly.
  7. While that’s simmering, cook your noodles of choice as directed by the package, then evenly divide the cooked noodles between three bowls.
  8. Ladle the hot curry over the noodles. Garnish with fried wonton strips, shallots, sour mustard, lime wedges, and cilantro.

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1 Review

Asaka F. April 26, 2021
I found this recipe recently and already made this a few times. It's so flavorful and you are not gonna believe it's vegan. I just wish I can make this paste finer so I don't have to constantly pick out the tiny pieces of lime leaves from my mouth while I eat this. lol I use pretty powerful food processor though