Egg noodles served in creamy curry broth with slices of beef and cripsy egg noodles as toppings is one of popular Chiang Mai noodle dishes known as Beef Khao Soi
My mom told me once that our generation now is an overprotective society. I remember biking with my brother at the street after school before dinner and my mom didn’t have to stand there watching us like a hawk while we did that. She was busy at the kitchen cooking. The neighborhood we lived in sort of “everyone is watching everyone else’s kids” kinda place. Which also means, everybody knew everybody else’s businesses lol. But the point is, she knew we were safe then. The city we lived in in fact wasn’t the safest place on earth. Still isn’t. Despite the fact though, kids were out there playing marbles and hop scotch.
I never grew up with hand sanitizer too. There was no such thing back in the 90s, not in the town we lived. I’m sure we have ingested and inhaled tons of germs throughout our childhood. I DO grow up with eating lots of street food. When I say street food, it is literally sold on the street with all the dust and who knows what else floating in the air invisible to the eyes. Mom often said “It’s not clean” but, what was clean really? We had no idea! We loved street food (still do)! It’s not unusual for us to have flood when the rain was heavy and the city’s drainage was pretty much clogged with trashes (yeah..imagine that! and you are probably now wondering what kind of place I grew up in!). We loved the flood. We quickly folded up paper boat and splashing away the water that was beyond filthy! That was my childhood!
Now, with my two kids, I can’t let them play outside without me being present or watching them with my own eyes. Minnesota sure is 100 times safer than the city I grew up in and I won’t even compare the cleanliness, because it’s an insult to Minnesota. Still, I quickly have my two kids washed their hands after playgrounds or coming back from school. Over protective ? Over anxious parent ? Only the best for the kids ? Perhaps the answers are yes to all those questions. Perhaps I’ve read too many. I’ve seen too many. I’ve heard too many. I have to remind myself sometimes that my kids aren’t make of glasses. I need to let them be kids and experience being kids like I did. We don’t have flood here, but I know with them jumping into puddles and smearing their faces with some mud are not the end of my world really! What do you think ?
I’m sharing this beef khao soi with you today because this was one of my favorite Thai noodle dishes. There are khao soi made with chicken and pork too. It reminded me of the trip to Thailand I took many years ago with my best friend and I had many many street food and boat noodles. It reminded me of childhood. Watching these people selling food from the boat and washing the bowls right there in the river and then using that bowls to serve you again and I’m sure many other customers too, supposedly should be repulsive when I think about it, but I chose not to think too much and just enjoyed the noodles right then and there. I had 4 bowls of them too on the boat (It’s a very tiny portion and so damn delicious, give me a break!). Now, what right do I have to ask my kids to sanitize when I will never stop eating street food despite the unhygienic phenomenon ?
Recipe is adapted from Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid’s Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet cookbook.
Beef Khao Soi (Chiang Mai Beef Curry Noodles)
- 2 to 3 cloves garlic , peeled
- 1- inch piece fresh turmeric , minced, or 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 tsp salt , plus a pinch
- 2 Tbsp Red Curry Paste
- 1 Tbsp cooking oil
- 3 cups canned or fresh coconut milk , with 1/2 cup of the thickest milk set aside
- 1/2 lb boneless flavorful beef (sirloin tip), cut into thin slices
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 1 cup water
- 3 Tbsp fish sauce
- Juice of1- 2 limes (I used 2)
- Cooking oil for deep-frying noodles (optional)
- 1 lb Chinese egg noodles
TOPPINGS AND CONDIMENTS:
- Fried noodles
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped shallots
- 1/2 cup minced scallions
- 1 lime , cut into wedges
Finely mince the garlic and whole turmeric, if using, and place the garlic and turmeric in a small bowl with the pinch of salt. Stir in the red curry paste and set aside
Place a large heavy pot or wok over high heat. Ad the 1 Tbsp oil and, when it is hot, toss in the curry paste mixture. Stir-fry for 30 seconds, then add the reserved 1/2 cup thick coconut milk and lower the heat to medium-high. Add the meat and sugar and cook, stirring frequently, for 4 to 5 minutes, until the meat has changed color all over
Add the remaining 2 1/2 cups coconut milk, the water, fish sauce, and the remaining 1 tsp salt and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and cook at a strong simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the lime juice. The soup can be prepared up to an hour ahead, then reheated just before serving
Meanwhile, make the optional crispy noodles: place a plate lined with several layers of paper towels by your stove. Place a large wok or heavy pot over high heat and add about 1 cup oil, or 1/2 inch oil. When the oil is hot, drop in a strand of uncooked noodles to test the temperature. It should sizzle slightly as it falls to the bottom, then immediately puff and rise to the surface; adjust the heat slightly, if necessary
Toss a handful (about 1 cup) of noodles into the oil and watch as they puff up. Use a spatula or long tongs to turn them over and expose all of them to the hot oil. They will crisp up very quickly, in less than 1 minute. Lift the crisped noodles out of the oil and place on the paper towel-lined plate. Give the oil a moment to come back to temperature, and then repeat with a second handful of noodles
To serve, bring a large pot of water to a vigorous boil over high heat. Drop in the remaining noodles, bring back to a boil, and cook until tender but not mushy, about 6 minutes. Drain well and rinse in fresh water to get rid of extra starch and stop the cooking process
Divide the cooked noodles among four large bowls. Ladle over the broth and meat. Top with crispy noodles, if you have them, and a pinch each of shallots and scallions. Serve with the remaining condiments set out in small bowls