Khao Soi

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Khao Soi is a noodle dish, with a yellow curry soup as the base and fried noodles on the top. You’ll see a lot of small restaurants or food vendors selling Khao Soi if you travel in Northern Thailand, which is one of the specialties in that area.
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As the temperature drops and the day gets shorter, soup is one of the things that I crave for. Khao Soi is perfect for this season, it’s warm, savory and comforting. Thai curry is more thinner in consistency in comparison to Indian curry, by using coconut milk. While Indian curry tends to use more dry spices, Thai curry often uses curry paste and fresh herbs instead. In this recipe, for the soup base, I used both curry paste and mixed curry powder, a big handful cilantro stems, ginger, onions and coconut milk. The flavour is well balanced with spices and slight sweetness from the coconut milk.
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“Khao Soi” is translated to “golden noodle”(金面) in Chinese, because of the yellow colour of the egg noodles. If the time is allowed, you can make fresh egg noodles just like I did. But feel free to buy some at the fresh noodle vendors in the market.
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We have the base and the noodles already, now just miss the top. Khao Soi is not complete without the fried noodles on the top. It’s literally just fried noodles: fry the noodles in the hot oil until it becomes crispy and golden colour. When the big three parts are done, serve with sautéed mushrooms or other vegetables as you like. Eat noodles and have fun!
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INGREDIENTS
Ingredients: (serves 2)
250g egg noodles (200g for boiling, 50g for frying)
1 small onion, sliced
a handful cilantro, chopped, stems and leaves separated
small chunk of ginger, chopped
4 large mushrooms, sliced
handful pak choi
300ml coconut milk
1 tsp yellow curry paste
1 tsp mixed curry powder
salt and coconut oil
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METHODS
1. Heat a pot over medium-high heat. Add oil, ginger, and onion. Sauté for 5 minutes, add curry paste and powder, sauté for 1 more minute, stirring frequently. Then add coconut milk, bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer on low for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, let the flavour deepen and develop. Adjust seasonings as needed.

2. Heat a small pot with good amount of oil. Once heated, fry a small portion of fresh noodles, until crispy and golden brown. Put on a kitchen paper and set aside.

3. Cook the noodles, prepare your desired toppings, such as sautéed mushrooms and greens.

4. All the ingredients are cooked and ready, divide noodles into two bowls, top with curry soup. Serve with vegetables, fried noodles and cilantro leaves, or chili sauce for extra heat.

Hangover Noodles

Several years ago when I was living in Germany, I used to buy Shanghai Noodle flavor packets from the supermarket when I wanted to have something “Chinese” tasting. There were not that many authentic ingredients around. I’m not from Shanghai, but I was pretty sure this flavor didn’t taste anything like Shanghai noodles (or noodles from any area in China). But strangely, I felt quite comforted by this flavor of “home”.

Months ago, I tried a recipe by chance. I hadn’t expected much until I started to mix the sauce. Ginger and sesame oil were something I seldom used together, and yet it turned out to be something quite magical. The taste from these two ingredients sparks in your mouth, nose, even your eyes, and imprints deeply on your mind. How more magical could it be: something that made me feel “homesick” while being at home.

The sauce is absolutely the highlight, simple and fantastic! You can mix it in a few minutes. There are lots of choices for noodles and vegetables; pick the ones you like. My suggestions: freshly made egg noodles, not too thin; green vegie leaves and beans. Because of the ginger, the noodles taste refreshing. It has picked me up on many a hungover morning. Who says we can’t have both a hangover and a great breakfast…? We have much celebrating to do in the near future, what with New Year’s and the Chinese New Year’s approaching. This recipe is perfect, not only for hungover folk but also for people who’re looking for a little bit of the atmosphere of Chinese festivals.

Ingredients (serves 2)
200g Egg noodle
Chinese cabbage, roughly chopped
Green beans
Spring onion, roasted peanuts or sesame, chili for garnish
A fried egg on top if you like

Sauce
5 tbsp Soy sauce (light)
1 tbsp White vinegar
1 tbsp Sesame oil
1 clove Garlic, grated/finely chopped
Fresh Ginger, one garlic clove-sized, grated/finely chopped

1. Mix all the ingredients of the sauce, add less/more ginger if you prefer a light/heavy taste.
2. Boil the water, add some salt and oil. Put the cabbage and green beans into the boiler for 2 minutes till about cooked. Drain and leave aside.
3. Cook the noodles in the same boiler for 4-5 minutes, or according to the packet instructions, till the water’s boiling again. Drain, leave in warm place if you want to fry an egg.
4. Mix the noodle with vegies and sauce thoroughly.
5. Serve in bowls, add the egg on top, garnish with some chopped spring onion, roasted peanuts or sesame, also a little bit of chili to spice up the cold winter.

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