Curry Chicken Noodle Soup with Pickled Mustard (to sooth seasonal allergies)

I have been suffering from allergies due to our early gorgeous Spring. If you are in the same boat, I suggest making yourself this soup to sooth your scratchy throat.  It is loosely based on Khao Soi which is from Chiang Mai in the Northern part of Thailand.  Someday I would like to go there.  I read an article about this soup and the Chiang Mai region in an issue of Saveur Magazine a long time ago and it has really stuck in my imagination.

The star of this soup (in my opinion) is the pickled mustard.  If you are looking for pickled mustard in an Asian grocery it might look like this.

Or it sometimes it comes in a jar.  I like the vacuum packed stuff myself.  If this soup appeals to but you do not have access to pickled mustard, I have a feeling that sauerkraut or kimchi would be good too.  I highly recommend using homemade red curry paste in this recipe.  If you use store-bought, just feel free to add a bit of chili pepper and take the time to adjust the seasonings to your liking.  I also think that yellow curry paste would work well too.


wildly adapted from The Best of Vietnamese and Thai Cooking

  • 1 pound thin rice noodles (traditionally, thin egg noodles are used. but I am allergic to them so…)
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 shallots, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon red curry paste (or yellow)
  • 1 or 2 Tablespoons curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 pound boned meat cut into cubes (Beef is traditional.  I used chicken thigh meat, but breast would work too.)
  • 3 or 4 cups of chicken stock (I recommend home-made)
  • 2 or 3 cups coconut milk
  • 4 Tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar (more if you like)
  • 2 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 3 scallions, sliced (optional)
  • 1/2 cup pickled mustard (optional, but highly recommended)
  • 10 fresh cilantro sprigs, chopped (optional)
  • 1 lime cut in to thin wedges (optional)
  1. Heat a medium sauce pan of water to boiling.  If you are using egg noodles, drop them in the water and cook until they are barely tender (2 or 3 minutes), then drain them and set them aside.  If you are using rice noodles, remove the boiling water from the heat and submerge your rice noodles.  Let them soak for about 8 minutes or until they are just tender, then drain them set them aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  
  3. Add the onions and garlic and stir for half a minute.  
  4. Add the curry paste, curry powder and turmeric and saute for 2 or 3 minutes, until the mixture becomes fragrant.
  5. Add the meat, stock, coconut milk, fish sauce, sugar and lime juice.  If you are using beef, let the soup simmer for 30 to 40 minutes.  If you are using chicken, let the broth come to boil and simmer for just a minute or two until the chicken is cooked through.  
  6. Serve the soup over the noodles garnished with chopped scallions, pickled mustard, cilantro and lime wedges.

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