Martin Boetz’s khao soi


  • Serves 6 - 8 people

Khao soi resembles a soupy curry with egg noodles, cucumber pickle and pickled mustard greens, a delicious mix of flavours common to northern Thailand, Laos and Burma. "Martin Boetz cooked this dish for a Gourmet Institute class, and I was so impressed I had to include it here," says senior food editor Lisa Featherby.

  • 500 ml (2 cups) coconut cream
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil, plus extra for deep-frying
  • 4 chicken Marylands, quartered, skin on
  • 50 gm light palm sugar, shaved
  • 50 ml kecap manis
  • 400 ml coconut milk
  • 500 gm fresh egg noodles
  • To serve: ginger, chilli and red shallots, cut into julienne
  • To serve: pickled mustard greens, coriander leaves and lime halves
  • Yellow curry paste
  • 2 tbsp peanut oil
  • 1 Spanish onion, coarsely chopped
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • 20 gm (4cm piece) turmeric, coarsely chopped
  • 20 gm (4cm piece) ginger, coarsely chopped
  • 6 coriander roots, scraped
  • 8 long dried red chillies, seeded and soaked in warm water for 1 hour, drained
  • 1 tbsp each coriander, cumin and fennel seeds, soaked in cold water for 5 minutes, drained
  • ½ tsp white peppercorns
  • Cucumber pickle
  • 200 ml rice vinegar
  • 150 gm light palm sugar
  • 2 coriander roots, scraped and finely chopped
  • 2 Lebanese cucumbers, diced
  • 1 cup (firmly packed) coriander leaves
  • 1 red shallot, chopped
  • 10 gm (2cm piece) ginger, cut into julienne
  • 1 long red chilli, thinly sliced
01   For yellow curry paste, heat oil in a wok over low-medium heat, add onion, garlic, turmeric, ginger and coriander roots and fry, stirring frequently, until tender and golden (10-15 minutes). Transfer to a food processor, add chillies and set aside to cool, then process until smooth. If paste is not wet enough, add a little water to help the blades move. Meanwhile, dry-roast coriander, cumin and fennel seeds over low-medium heat (5-8 minutes). Cool, combine with peppercorns and 1 tbsp salt and grind in a spice grinder or coffee grinder to a fine powder. Pass through a fine sieve. Stir spices into paste and store in an airtight container. Yellow curry paste will keep refrigerated for 6 days or frozen for a month.
02   Simmer coconut cream and vegetable oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat until coconut cream splits (4-6 minutes). Add yellow curry paste and stir until spices are fragrant (1-2 minutes). Add chicken and stir occasionally until chicken begins to colour (4-6 minutes). Add palm sugar and kecap manis, and stir continuously until sugar dissolves (2-4 minutes). Add coconut milk, bring to the boil, reduce heat to low and simmer until chicken is cooked through (15-20 minutes). Remove from heat and stand for 15 minutes for flavours to develop. Check and adjust seasoning: the curry should taste sweet, salty and aromatic.
03   Meanwhile, for cucumber pickle, bring vinegar, sugar and coriander roots to the boil in a saucepan, stirring to dissolve sugar. Strain, cool, add remaining ingredients and stir to combine, then place in a serving bowl.
04   Heat oil in a wok to 160C and bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Deep-fry 100gm noodles in hot oil until golden and puffed (30 seconds; be careful, hot oil will spit). Drain on absorbent paper and set aside. Cook remaining noodles in boiling water until tender (3 minutes), drain and divide among serving bowls, then top with chicken curry and scatter with fried noodles. Serve hot with ginger, chilli, shallot, pickled mustard greens, coriander and lime.
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