Vegetarian Khao Soi

Back in January, my mum messaged me telling me that I should watch a Netflix show called Somebody Feed Phil, because one of the episodes is based in and around Lisbon. So, I jumped onto Netflix, and found this show Mum was talking about.

For those of you that haven’t been hounded by me to watch it (meaning – you don’t see me enough for me to bring it up in conversation), it’s about one of the creators of Everybody Loves Raymond, called Phil Rosenthal. The show focus on Phil’s travels to 6 different regions of the world (some cities, some countries) and the food that he eats along the way. He meets local food bloggers, he meets local chefs, he stands in line for food not knowing what he’s in line for.

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It’s not a show about a chef trying to cook local cuisine, it’s not a show about somebody trying to act as a travel guide. In fact, Phil is just your bog-standard tourist who states the obvious, and has about as much knowledge about most of the places he visits as your average tourist.

But that’s not what makes the show great. It’s his eyes that light up when he eats something; the way he explores the city as a genuine “tourist” – he focus on the popular places that will always draw a crowd, as well as the quieter, not-so-well-known joints. He eats his way around countries and cities, in a way that makes my mouth drool. That’s basically the premise.

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So, I flicked to the first episode, where he visits Thailand. Bangkok and Chiang Mai specifically. Phil visits Gaggan, for a special occasion, and eats boat noodles from a boat the floating market. But… one dish caught my eye in particular because I’ve never had it. While visiting Chiang Mai, Phil gets to enjoy a bowl of Khao Soi, a noodle dish from Northern Thailand. My obsession with is two-fold: noodle dishes make the best comfort food, and the curry sauce that it comes in looks incredible.

Now, I may not have been travelling around Chiang Mai, nor have I been to a Thai restaurant to try Khao Soi, but as luck would have it….. Mum’s magazine clippings happen to have a Khao Soi recipe. And I’d bookmarked it before I even saw Somebody Feed Phil.

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Life has a silly way of bringing things together.

So, finally, I got round to trying the Khao Soi recipe. Now, usually it’s made with both chicken and beef – but as I had a TONNE of vegetables to use up, as well as some tofu – I went the veggie route. While I have no experience of the real thing, this dish has me smiling. It is warming, comforting and filling. Granted, not usually what you eat at the end of a hot and humid day… but we’re in Asia – it’s going to be hot and humid from here on until December. Noodles are a must, no matter the weather.

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So, thanks to Mum’s clippings, and the need to clear out the fridge of perishables (of which I still have a few), I got to enjoy making this dish.

As a side note, I’d also suggest storing all of your veggie scraps in a big ziplock (or plastic-free) bag, and shoving it in the freezer until you have enough to make your own stock. I’m nearly there, just a few more veggie dishes to go.

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Here it is…. Vegetarian Khao Soi:

100 g egg noodles
1 tbsp coconut oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp Thai red curry paste
120 ml coconut cream (or whipped coconut milk)
250 g tofu, squeezed of excess water
100 g tenderstem broccoli
100 g baby corn
100 g mange tout
300 ml vegetable stock
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 tbsp Thai fish sauce
pinch of sugar

  1. Cook the egg noodles according to packet instructions, drain and set aside.
  2. Add the coconut oil, curry paste and garlic to a large wok over medium heat for a minute.
  3. Add in the coconut cream, and stir to combine with the paste.
  4. Next add the tofu and vegetables to the wok, and mix thoroughly.
  5. Pour in the stock, curry powder, turmeric, fish sauce and sugar.
  6. Stir well, and allow to simmer for 10 minutes.
  7. Portion noodles into 4 bowls, and pour equal amounts of the curry mixture over the noodles.

It takes hardly any time, and is absolutely delicious.

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