We have former Times Test Kitchen intern May Parich to thank for getting her mom, Surapee, into our kitchen. Parich had raved so about her mom's Thai cooking that when her parents came out from St. Louis in November for a visit, we invited her mother to come to the Test Kitchen and show us her stuff. It is a testament to her talent that two of Surapee's three recipes were selected and the third was in the running for the year's Top 10.
Of course, Parich benefited just as much as the rest of us. She had been trying since she was a child to get her mother to share her recipes--especially the one for her favorite curry beef noodle soup kao soi--so she could make the dishes as well. Here, finally, in the Test Kitchen, May diligently watched and wrote as her mother measured and cooked.
Kao soi garnishes are placed in dishes on the table so each diner can dress the soup to taste. Lime wedges and vinegared chile sauce are added if you like sour elements in your food; sugar and black soy sauce (thicker than regular soy sauce) are for sweetness. Fish sauce is added for saltiness, and chile oil adds heat. Cilantro and green onions are almost always added; fried shallots and pickled bok choy are less common but tasty additions.
1/4 cup oil
3 tablespoons crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup Thai chile sauce
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup fish sauce
1/2 cup black soy sauce
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup sugar
2 limes cut in wedges
1/2 cup chopped shallots
1 cup fresh Asian egg noodles set aside from curry recipe, deep-fried in oil until crisp
6 dried New Mexico chiles, stems removed
1/2 cup shallots, peeled
1/2 cup cloves garlic, peeled
1/3 cup coriander seeds
1/4 cup cumin seeds
3/4 tablespoon curry powder
6 3/4 cups water
5 cups coconut cream
2 cinnamon sticks
3 pounds chicken thighs and chicken legs with skin
1/3 cup fish sauce
3 tablespoons sugar
2 (1-pound) packages fresh Asian egg noodles, less 1 cup for Garnish
Heat oil in small saute pan over medium heat. Add red pepper flakes and saute 1 minute. Pour chile oil into small bowl. Mix together Thai chile sauce and vinegar and put in another small bowl.
Put fish sauce, black soy sauce, green onions, cilantro, sugar, lime wedges, shallots and fried noodles in individual small bowls.
Roast chiles, shallots and garlic on baking sheet at 300 degrees 10 minutes.
Place roasted chiles, shallots and garlic with coriander seeds, cumin seeds, curry powder and 3/4 cupwater in food processor and puree until smooth. Pour into large pot and cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Add coconut cream, remaining 6 cups water, cinnamon sticks and chicken.
Bring to boil, lower heat and simmer, uncovered, 30 minutes. Stir in fish sauce and sugar.
While soup is simmering, bring water to boil in medium pot. Add egg noodles and cook until tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain and divide among 6 large bowls.
Divide chicken pieces and curry among bowls. Garnish as desired.