February evenings in Scotland definitely makes reminiscing over bygone days in the East a thing of the ordinariness. But alas, if the mountain will not move to you, you must go to the mountain… of course, in this case, the mountain is a (terrific I know) metaphor for a soup. Spicy, warming, crunchy and DELICOUS – quite the opposite of most mountains – this soup has it all! Khao Soi is a traditional curry-like soup much popular in the northern regions of Thailand and Laos, although it is said to originate from the Burmese cuisine. This dish is, to my great despair, not something you would normally find at your local thai take away in the west along with pad thai and massaman curries. Through my many visits to Chiang Mai, this dish was a definite go-to of my evening street grub.
Now I do not know what genius came up with having 50-50 of regular noodles and deep-fried noodles in the same dish, but it is such a game changer.
VEGAN KHAO SOI
• 4 red chillies
• 5 small shallots
• 5 cm fresh ginger
• 4 cloves of garlic
• 2 stalks lemongrass
• 1 tbsp coriander seeds, roasted + crushed
• a handful coriander stalks
• 1 tsp curry powder, like garam masala or madras)
→ In food processor, or large mortar, combine all ingredients until smooth paste has formed.
• a handful of cooked noodles, set a bit more than half aside for the main dish
• vegetable oil
→ In small sauce pan, heat vegetable oil. Once hot, throw in one noodle and once it sizzles, add in more to form a little noodle nest. Using thongs, turn frequently and once golden brown and crispy – set aside on a prepared dish with kitchen roll. Repeat with the rest of your noodles; I find it best to work in small batches here.
TO COMPLETE THE DISH
• 2 cans coconut milk
• 2,5 dl vegetable stock
• 3 tbsp soy sauce
• 1 tbsp brown sugar
• lime wedges
• fresh coriander
• thinly sliced shallots
• pan fried tofu
→ In large skillet over medium heat, fry curry paste until browned, about 8-10 minutes. (Whilst turning your fried noodles for instance.)
Add coconut milk and bring to a boil, then add the remaining ingredients. Let simmer for about 15-20 minutes.
To serve, add boiled noodles to a bowl, top with tofu and/or vegetables of choice, pour soup over and top off with crispy noodles, fresh coriander leaves, lime wedges and thinly sliced shallots.