How do you really know when a recipe is good? For me it always comes down to sauce. I would sell myself for sauce: tomato sauce, peanut sauce—god I fucking love peanut sauce, remoulade, literally MAYONNAISE. Does mayo count as a sauce? I’m counting it as a sauce. But the best depiction of how you know a really, and I mean REALLY, good sauce: you’re willing to reach out to your ex for the recipe. When my ex and I were in LA two years ago we went to Night + Market Song. Which, if you’re in LA, is the best Thai food I have had in my life. Knowing that we both loved to cook I bought him the Night + Market Song cookbook on our flight home, and we made the Khao Soi paste together. The thing I love about making curry pastes or things like pesto is that they freeze exceedingly well, and due to the oil content it’s pretty easy to dig out a chunk without defrosting the whole mess. Because of this I have only recently run out of Khao Soi paste from the second batch we made over a year ago… Now I know what you’re thinking, Kat, you could just buy the damn cook book. But like I have said previously, I have an amazon wish-list, why isn’t anyone buying me anything?! So being as shameless as I am and knowing that he likely would feel mildly guilty considering I BOUGHT HIM THE COOKBOOK, I asked for the recipe, and he obliged—sending the pictures of the recipe itself and nothing else.
I know that paste technically isn’t sauce, but this recipe, along with coconut milk, some fish sauce and stock make a delicious thick soupy thai curry. I tweaked this recipe from the original and the result was actually better than the paste that’s been sitting in my freezer for over a year.
Khao Soi Paste:
1 cup sliced turmeric
1 cup garlic cloves
6 dried chile’s
1 & 1/3 cup sliced ginger
1 & 1/3 cup sliced red onion or shallot
1 tsp chile powder (save for later)
1/2 cup olive oil
The Night Market Song cookbook wants you to blacken all of the ingredients separately in a dry wok, but I didn’t have much luck with blackening the turmeric and I switched to roasting everything, at 400 degrees in the oven for about a half an hour. I removed the chile’s after about 10 minutes, since they are already dried they roast a lot quicker. I used the garlic as a constant and once it was turning brown/black as you can see in the picture above I pulled out all of the other ingredients. Transfer everything to a food processor with the chile powder and slowly add in the olive oil. It becomes a really thick paste, it shouldn’t be excessively oily just enough to pull the ingredients together. This filled a 16oz mason jar for me, which now will live in my freezer for the indefinite future. I cut back on the chile’s from the cookbook recipe, which allowed me to add more paste to my coconut milk without being crazy hot. It’s still insanely flavorful because of all of the other ingredients but it doesn’t burn your mouth off.
Khao Soi Soup (4 Servings):
1 tb khao soi paste
2 cans high fat coconut milk or cream (i’ve only been able to find good coconut milk at asian markets in new orleans)
1 cup stock (veggie, chicken, beef, whatever)
1 tb fish sauce
linguine-like egg noodles
1 pack fancy mushrooms
3 baby eggplant
1 lb some kind of meat, beef, chicken thighs, shrimp would probably be good
1/2 cup crushed peanuts
shaved red onion
cilantro or microgreens
In a pot add the two cups of coconut milk, using one of the empty coconut milk cans fill with water and add that, as well as the cup of stock. Add two tablespoons of paste and whisk together over low heat. Add the fish sauce and continue to cook on low heat. Coconut milk curdles if it boils (it will get grainy almost) so you want to make sure to keep it hot but not let it come to a full boil. Traditionally Khao Soi is just beef, with shaved onion, cilantro, something crunchy, noodles and the broth itself. I like to roast off my meat with some hearty vegetables like mushrooms and eggplant, and these are two good options if you’d like to make this dish vegetarian. Boil your noodles, add the broth and top with whatever proteins/veggies you’d like, as well as shaved red onion, greens, peanuts, etc.