Khao soi chicken meatballs

The Chiang Mai soup reimagined as noodles and meatballs.
The Chiang Mai soup reimagined as noodles and meatballs. Photo: Katrina Meynink

This midweek mash-up is inspired by the northern Thai noodle soup, khao soi. I've included the recipe for the curry paste here if you feel like making your own (I highly recommend doing this in double batches then having it stashed in the freezer ready to go for whenever the craving strikes). Otherwise substitute for 1-2 tablespoons of excellent quality red curry paste. Add store-bought paste slowly and taste as you go. Brands can vary significantly in flavour and heat.


Curry paste

4 dried red chillies, trimmed, deseeded and softened in boiling water

2 shallots, chopped

6 cloves garlic

1 tsp-sized piece galangal, peeled, chopped

1 tsp-sized piece ginger, peeled, chopped

1 tsp-sized piece turmeric, peeled, chopped (or 1 tbsp turmeric powder)

½ cup coriander stems, cleaned, chopped (reserve leaves for garnish)

1 tsp curry powder

1 tbsp coriander seeds


500g chicken mince (I use half breast, half thigh)

2 spring onions, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 stalk lemongrass, white part only, finely grated

1 tsp freshly grated ginger

3 makrut lime leaves, deveined, finely sliced

Poaching liquid

600ml coconut milk

400ml chicken stock

1 tbsp fish sauce

juice and zest of 1 lime

To serve

egg noodles or flat rice noodles

coriander leaves

crispy fried shallots

chilli oil

2 cups of green things (I used string beans and coarsely torn kale)

drizzle of coconut cream (optional)


1. Combine all curry paste ingredients in a blender and blitz to form a paste. If too thick, add a tablespoon of water and blitz again.

2. Combine all meatball ingredients in a bowl, then using your hands, roll the mixture into golf-sized balls. Set aside.

3. Place a large frypan over medium heat. Add the oil and wait until shimmering, then add the curry paste and cook until it darkens and looks like it is beginning to split. Add coconut milk, stock, fish sauce, lime juice and zest and stir to combine. Add the chicken meatballs and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes on low, basting and turning the meatballs often.

4. Cook your chosen noodles according to packet instructions.

5. Remove frypan from heat, add noodles and greens and shake gently to coat in the sauce. Sprinkle over the extra herbs, fried shallots and add a healthy dollop of chilli oil. Drizzle over coconut cream, if using, and serve piping hot.

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