Kao Soi Gai

Kao Soi Gai – Thai Chicken Curry noodle

Kao Soi Gai is one of the famous Thai dish from the Northern Part of Thailand. It has a perfect flavour combibination of salty, creamy, spicy and a touch of sour from Thai lime.

In This post I will be writing recipe for Kao Soi from scratch. The recipe is include homemade Kao Soi Curry paste.

The topic in this post will cover:

  1. Kao Soi dish story
  2. Essential ingredients in Kao soi and the reason why it won’t taste the same if you are using other Thai curry paste to make the dish.
  3. Recipe and instruction of how to make Kao Soi dish.

Kao Soi dish story

Kao Soi came from the Northern Part of Thailand, Chiang Mai city. It’s a kind of dish where everyone who visit the city must eat.

However, the dish wasn’t first created by Thais. It came from muslim Chinese people who came from Yunnan. In Thai we called them Hong Chinese.

Century ago, Hong Chinese came to South East Asia to trade, fabric, spices, and other animal product. On the way back, they would cary Thai products, back to their country.

The trade was big later on so they build 3 main trading root and Chaing Mai was one of them

They later decided to migrate to Thailand and build village and live there. That is when the Northern Thai food start to have influence from Hong Chinese People.

Today, Kao soi has change its apperance and flavour so much. When you ask elderly, they would say it taste good but nothing similar to the Kao Soi in the history.

Personally I think it’s beautiful how food adapts and change as time past by. I think this is how Thai food get sophisticate in flavour; influenced by food culture from around the world.

Essential ingredients in Kao soi and the reason why it won’t taste the same if you are using other Thai curry paste to make the dish.

Kao Soi has a very unique flavour and aroma. It is easy to make if you have all of the right ingredient. I have seen many recipes trying to substitute Kao Soi paste with curry powder or yellow curry paste. It will work and it will taste yummy, however it will also missed out on key ingredient.

The key ingredient that I’m talking about is black cardamom. I’ve never known of this spice until I start to make Koi Soi dish. It has a deep and heavy smell, unlike the green and Siam cardamom. The flavour of and scent of black cardamom is quite strong, you won’t need much to add a good touch of aroma and you also can’t missed it out.

Luckily, black cardamom is nowadays available online, therefore anyone can get it easily.

If you are going to make Kao Soi dish, it’s worth investing on the spice, even though you probably will only be using 3 pods out of the whole bag for the dish.

How to work with black cardamom?

Black cardamom has tough outer skin. You have too peel out the outer skin first, and you only need to use the seeds inside. For me, it looks like a tiny coco pod.

Once you remove the skin and pick all of the seeds, you can toast the seeds before grinding in curry paste.

Toasting spice is most of the time beneficial because it brings out extra aroma and create toasty smell which also add another dimension of flavour to the dish.

Kao Soi Gai

Kao Soi Gai

Thai noodle curry
Prep Time 40 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 20 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Thai
Servings 8


Kao Soi Curry Paste

  • 5 Dried Bang Chang Chili ( Dried Prik Chi Fa) chopped and seed removed
  • 2 Dried Jinda Chili – chopped and seed removed
  • tsp sea-salt
  • ¾ Tbsp Coriander seeds toasted
  • 2 Pod Black cardamom – skin removed, toasted.
  • 2 Tbsp Julianne ginger toasted lightly
  • 10 Small Thai shallots
  • 1 Tbsp Fresh turmeric sliced

Kao Soi Curry Dish

  • 4 Cups Fresh Coconut milk
  • 3 Cup Skimmed coconut milk (1:1 water:regular coconut milk)
  • 4 Tbsp Kao Soi Curry paste
  • 850 g Chicken drum stick or Chicken thigh, preferably with bone-on.
  • 3 Cups Fresh coconut cream
  • 1 Tbsp Soy sauce
  • 400 g Kao soi noodle or egg noodle, or soba noodle.


  • 2-3 Stalk Coriander chopped
  • 3 Small Shallots Sliced
  • 1 Tsp Spicy Thai Chili oil
  • Asian pickle Napa Cabbage (optional) You can use your pickle vegetable also, it works well because we just need tangy flavour.
  • 1 Kao soi noodle or egg noodle, or soba noodle.
  • 1-2 Cups Frying oil (for frying noodles)
  • 8 Lime wedges


Making curry paste

  • Start with making curry paste. The first thing to do is to chop dry chilies, remove the seeds and toasted on a pan until lightly brown and fragrance. You will smell it. It's very nice but also can make you cough. After toasted, put the chilies in a bowl and soak in fresh water for 1 hour or until soft. Toast the rest of the spice and herbs in the curry paste ingredient list, in the the same pan, over low heat until fragrance and lightly brown.
    *Note for black cardamom seed* Peel its skin and only take the seeds inside to toast. discard the skin.
  • When the chilies is soft, we can now start pounding curry paste in a mortar.
  • Start with spices. Grind all of the spice well and put them back into a bowl.
  • Drain out the water from chilies and squeeze the chilies to take out as much of the water as possible.
  • Grind chilies with salt into a fine paste before adding herbs. Grind the herbs with the chilies until well blend and fine texture. Add shallots and pound until all of the ingredient form into a fine paste.
  • Keep the curry paste refrigerate for up to one week or put it into your freezer for up to 3 months.

To make Kao Soi Curry Dish

  • Cooking chicken drumsticks or your preferred part in skimmed coconut cream until soft and tender. It will take around 45 minutes to an hour. Depend on how soft you like your chicken to be.
  • When the chicken is cooked. We gonna start to make Kao Soi curry.
  • Slice 3 shallots, chop coriander, slice pickle vegetable for garnish. Fry a handful of egg noodle or as much as you want.
  • Start with cracking coconut cream. Add 1/2 Cup of coconut cream into a pot, over medium heat. Add 4 Tbsp of curry paste and stir until well blend into the coconut cream. Consistently stir until coconut cream is boiling, be careful not to burn them. It will take around 10 minutes to crack the cream. It will take longer if you are using canned coconut. You will notice when you stop briefly and see yellow oil floating on the top.
  • Once the coconut is cracked. Add the rest of the coconut cream and milk, then and chicken +juice. Keep your curry simmer while we are preparing noodles.
  • Prepare a bowl of room temperature water, a pot of boiling water, a strainer and chopsticks.
  • Boil water in a big pot and cook egg noodles in boiling water for 1 minutes. Constantly moving the noodle by using chopsticks or your preferred tools. Don't over crowded the noodles. You can do it in many batches.
  • When the noodles is cooked, place them into the bowl of room temperature water briefly before straining them and put into a serving bowl.
  • Add curry and chicken over the noodles and garnish with sliced shallots, coriander, chili oil, a wedge of lime and pickled vegetable.
  • Serve individually with extra garnishes as a sides on the table.
Keyword chicken curry, kao soi, noodle curry

Last but not least….

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