In the fall of last year, I introduced a little sidebar poll where you can vote for which recipe you’d like to see featured on this blog next. You guys made a great choice in voting for Thai-style chicken and rice (khao man gai) on the inaugural poll. And I have to say, you did it again with another fantastic choice of Northern Thai curry noodles (khao soi) this time!
Khao soi is a dish that both the boyfriend and I get super excited about.
As you can imagine, growing up in Chiang Mai, the boyfriend basically grew up on this dish. Since he was still a child when he left Thailand and came to the States, he doesn’t remember everything about his childhood in Chiang Mai. However, eating khao soi is one of the memories that still stands out vividly in his mind. He tells me stories of ordering khao soi and other noodle soup dishes for lunch basically whenever he wanted because there was a noodle stand within the Prince Royal’s College school grounds where he went to elementary school.
Unfortunately, khao soi hasn’t been quite so easy for us to find here in San Francisco. That isn’t to say we haven’t tried! We’ve visited a large majority of the Thai restaurants in the greater Bay Area on our search for khao soi, comparing each bowl we find to the ones the boyfriend grew up eating. And we’ve found a few that have come close, including Toomie’s Thai Cuisine in Alameda, DaNang Krungthep Thai Restaurant in Albany, and Dusita Thai in Santa Clara.
All of these restaurants are a bit of a trek from where we are, so I was really happy when you guys suggested that khao soi be included on the sidebar poll and then again when it was chosen as the next recipe to be featured! I had never attempted to make it at home before — I think because it seemed like it would be hard to get “just right” — but your votes helped me get over that hurdle and try it.
If you’ve been following along on Instagram, you’ll know that I’ve made several attempts at this noodle dish recently. I started with a fairly simple recipe for the curry soup base, but quickly realized that it needed more flavor as well as more complexity of flavor. So in my second attempt, I upped the amount of curry paste and added in fresh tumeric, ginger, coriander seeds, and black cardamom seeds to really boost the flavors and turn it from a simple curry paste into something much more complex. Another attempt was necessary to get the condiments, noodles, and chili sauce just right.
But I have to say that all of these attempts were well worth it! We wound up with an absolutely delicious bowl of khao soi. And although it wasn’t exactly what the boyfriend remembered from his childhood days, it was close enough to bring back all of those wonderful memories.