Chicken Khao Soi

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Cover Recipe: Bon Appetit, Chicken Khao Soi: May 2013

Year after year, I renew my subscription to Bon Appetit and I’m glad I do. I look forward to it coming in the mail each month. I feel like it’s just keeps getting better and better. Last year when I received the May 2013 issue, I was really drawn to the Chicken Khao Soup on the front cover. It’s very similar to my family’s favorite Thai chicken soup. This recipe comes from Northern Thailand. It’s not a dish I had ever heard of or tasted before, so I put it on my lengthy list of recipes to try.

Thai cuisine is one of my very favorites. I love the combination of flavors and the use of coconut milk. This recipe has coconut milk, but also uses a lot of coriander, turmeric, garlic, and ginger. There isn’t any lemongrass or some of the other flavors I think of when I think of Thai food.

The most intriguing part of the ingredient lists was the dried New Mexican chiles, which I use a lot in Mexican cooking. I was really interested to see how they translated to this Thai soup recipe. Read my notes below to see what I thought of the recipe.

chicken khao soi

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Chicken Khao Soi

Yield: 6-8 servings

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

"A simple curry paste gives this northern Thai-inspired soup surprising depth of flavor."

Ingredients:

Khao soi paste:
4 large dried New Mexico or guajillo chiles, stemmed, halved, seeded
2 medium shallots, halved
8 garlic cloves
1 2" piece ginger, peeled, sliced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro stems
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon curry powder
Soup:
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 14-ounce cans unsweetened coconut milk
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, halved lengthwise
1 pound Chinese egg noodles
3 tablespoons (or more) fish sauce (such as nam pla or nuoc nam)
1 tablespoon (packed) palm sugar or light brown sugar
Kosher salt
Sliced red onion, bean sprouts, cilantro sprigs, crispy fried onions or shallots, chili oil, and lime wedges (for serving)

Directions:

For khao soi paste:
Place chiles in a small heatproof bowl, add boiling water to cover, and let soak until softened, 25-30 minutes.
Drain chiles, reserving soaking liquid. Purée chiles, shallots, garlic, ginger, cilantro stems, coriander, turmeric, curry powder, and 2 tablespoons soaking liquid in a food processor, adding more soaking liquid by tablespoonfuls, if needed, until smooth.
For soup:
Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add khao soi paste; cook, stirring constantly, until slightly darkened, 4-6 minutes. Add coconut milk and broth. Bring to a boil; add chicken. Reduce heat and simmer until chicken is fork-tender, 20-25 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate. Let cool slightly; shred meat.
Meanwhile, cook noodles according to package directions.
Add chicken, 3 tablespoons fish sauce, and sugar to soup. Season with salt or more fish sauce, if needed. Divide soup and noodles among bowls and serve with toppings.

Tips:

The chiles I used didn't end up being very spicy. The paste was good, but I wanted some spice! I added some red chile flakes. Next time I will just use the pods, seeds and all.
I used light coconut milk which still provided a lot of richness without it being to overpowering. The broth ended up being a little thinner than in the picture and I'm pretty sure that's why. Just an aesthetic thing.
I used gluten-free noodles instead of the Chinese egg noodles. I suspect any kind of noodle would be good here, but for the most authentic soup, use the Chinese noodles.

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION
8 servings, 1 serving contains:
Calories (kcal) 700
Fat (g) 36
Saturated Fat (g)24
Cholesterol (mg) 150
Carbohydrates (g) 65
Dietary Fiber (g) 6
Total Sugars (g) 5
Protein (g) 35
Sodium (mg) 950

The results:

I wanted to love this soup so much, but I couldn’t get over the feeling that something was just…missing. The chiles I used weren’t spicy enough. I found I had to add red pepper flakes to amp it up, and even then I grabbed the sriracha from the fridge and gave it a good drizzle after my third bite. It’s not that it’s a bad recipe or a bad soup. It is actually very good, I just wanted it to wow me, and it didn’t do that. My husband and I had a lengthy conversation about what we could add to it to to suit our tastes – more sugar maybe? Definitely more spice. A squeeze of lime in each bowl is a must. It just needed something else, you know?

The paste itself is really easy to make. I could chalk up my disappointment to the chiles not being great quality, and maybe that’s just what it was. Or maybe I will try the guajillo chiles next time, which are spicier. I might also toast the chiles first like I do when I make mole or other Mexican recipes.

The recipe calls for a lot of garlic, but it wasn’t overpowering like I assumed it would be. I liked it. I did want there to be more “spice” in addition to heat. I love coriander and turmeric, but after the long simmer time, I couldn’t detect them as much as I would have liked in the finished soup.

That being said, it’s worth making again. I will just tweak it a bit…or a lot. Perhaps doubling up the spices and chile would do the trick.

Did this recipe deserve the cover spotlight?

Maybe, maybe not. There are other great recipes in that issue that might have been a better choice. BUT it did look really pretty in the bowls. :)

Lori is the founder of RecipeGirl.com. She's a professional recipe developer and food writer, and she's the author of The Recipe Girl Cookbook (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: April 2013). Beyond food, Lori enjoys traveling, being outdoors, running, and maybe even singing a little karaoke. The mountains near Lake Tahoe are home for Lori and her husband of 18 years. They have an 12 year-old son who blogs at RecipeBoy.com.


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18 Responses to “Grilled Turkey Burgers with Cheddar and Smoky Aioli”

  1. 1

    Dragon — May 26, 2010 @ 10:35 am

    Want! Great job Lori!

  2. 2

    Heather (Heather's Dish) — May 26, 2010 @ 10:36 am

    i’m glad you tried this recipe out…i have the mag, and never tried this one before! i LOOOOOOOVE burgers :)

  3. 3

    Angie — May 26, 2010 @ 10:48 am

    This burger looks great! I am buying alot of ground turkey lately. But I still haven’t made burgers with it. Made spaghetti and turkey meatballs last night. I will definitely try this recipe

  4. 4

    Cheri — May 26, 2010 @ 12:15 pm

    This looks so good Lori! I’ve got to try it soon.

    I’m always amazed at your ability to replicate the magazine photo. Good work! ;)

  5. 5

    Krista — May 26, 2010 @ 1:15 pm

    Great job, Lori! :-) The veggies are such a marvy addition, and I really like adding the aioli to the meat. Delish!

  6. 6

    Natalie @ Perrys' Plate — May 26, 2010 @ 3:48 pm

    Gorgeous shot of that burger!!! I tried this burger last year when the mag came out and loved it as well :)

  7. 7

    Elizabeth — May 27, 2010 @ 8:01 am

    I’m embarrassed to ask, but what is aioli – is it the mayo, olive oil, lemon juice and spices?

    • Lori Lange replied: — May 27th, 2010 @ 9:29 am

      You’re exactly right… it’s the mayo-based sauce :)

  8. 8

    Katrina — May 27, 2010 @ 9:57 am

    Mmm, this one really does look and sound great! Aioli is dangerous for me. There’s one at Carrabba’s Grill served with their zucchini frites that I could almost just spoon in my mouth! ;)
    This looks like MY kind of burger.

  9. 9

    ThatsSoYummy — May 27, 2010 @ 2:51 pm

    How funny… I was just saying to myself I might make them this weekend… Love it!

    -Natasha

  10. 10

    Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction — May 28, 2010 @ 5:30 pm

    Looks like a great burger! Yum :)

  11. 11

    Louise — May 29, 2010 @ 4:39 am

    That’s one good looking burger, Lori! I must add this link to the post I did for National Hamburger Day (28th:) So glad I didn’t miss it! Have a GREAT weekend!!!

  12. 12

    grace — May 31, 2010 @ 1:10 pm

    i couldn’t pass through without complimenting your burger. it looks even better than the one in the no doubt heavily-stylized magazine picture–bravo!

  13. 13

    Sues — May 31, 2010 @ 8:17 pm

    I’ve loved that cover ever since I got the issue too… But your burger? You take it to a whole new level!! Yours actually made me drool :)

    • Lori Lange replied: — May 31st, 2010 @ 8:26 pm

      Wow, thanks!!

  14. 14

    Karen — June 21, 2010 @ 3:51 pm

    We’re glad to hear you enjoy cooking these burgers, Lori. I’ve posted a link to your article over on the original recipe. http://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/quick-recipes/2009/08/grilled_turkey_burgers_with_cheddar_and_smoky_aioli

    best,
    Karen Wilson
    producer, bonappetit.com

  15. 15

    gourmetgreg — July 13, 2010 @ 3:18 pm

    I saw this recipe and will try it for an upcoming party which includes turkey burger sliders on the menu as this recipe includes many of the spices and concepts I have been using in my own “ultimate” turkey burger recipe. I add the following: finely chopped half of a large red or sweet Vidalia onion, half cup breadcrumbs, half cup grated parmesan and 1/2 cup cubed cheese (I use parmesan) and a tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce (in honor of Rachel Ray). This way, there is no need to top with melted cheese or sliced onion and the melted cheese cubes add a surprise smile to the face of the guest. I assume you use the remaining aioli, not used in the meat mixture, as a condiment?

    • Lori Lange replied: — July 20th, 2010 @ 10:26 am

      I love your modification ideas! Yes, the aioli may be used as a condiment to the burger. Delicious!

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