Khao sawy a.k.a. Chiang Mai Noodles a.k.a. Yum!

March 31, 2008 at 1:15 pm (food, recipes)

khao sawy in Chiang MaiIn Thailand, especially in Northern Thailand and around Chiang Mai, we ate these yummy noodles in a red/yellow curry soup (see photo on left). I don’t really see this dish in Thai restaurants in the U.S. and I don’t know why. It seems like it would be a dish that would be quite popular here – it’s topped with fried noodles! (Apparently, Marnee Thai in the Sunset has khao sawy/Chiang Mai noodles during lunch, but I’ve never seen it anywhere else.)

Khao sawy that I cooked in classI cooked dinner for Christina and Ben last night – they did me a huge favor for me and I wanted to thank them. Since khao sawy is hard to find in restaurants, I figured that I’d make it for them. Plus, I made it in the cooking class that I took in Thailand (see photo on right), so I figured I wouldn’t be completely lost.

Other items on the menu:

  • jicama (not green papaya) saladgreen papaya salad but with jicama instead of green papaya (I forgot to add the peanuts – oops! I’m eating leftovers with peanuts added for lunch right now and it’s much better.)
  • coconut sticky rice with mango (the yellow/Philippine-type mangos that are grown in Mexico are really good now so go get some)
  • strawberry lemonadestrawberry lemonade (It’s not Thai, but it was quite refreshing. I threw some strawberries into a blender, added some lime juice and sugar, and then added it to Odwalla lemonade)

Here are the “tricky” ingredients that you’ll need. Except, it’s not actually that tricky and they’re easy to find, at least in California. The Ranch 99 in Daly city had everything. Sunset Super has pretty much everything except for the curry paste.

round and fat egg noodlesThe egg noodles that are used in Thailand are pretty flat. I bought these round and fat egg noodles (fresh, not dried) and it was a bit odd that they were so round, but it was still tasty. If you want to be more authentic, maybe you can try to find flatter egg noodles.

red curry pasteYou can find red curry paste in these little tubs in the non-refrigerated sections. They’re in a vacuum packed bag inside the tub so they don’t need to be refrigerated before opening, I guess. The red curry paste has all the ingredients that are in the curry paste we made in the class. But it also has quite a bit of salt. Since fish sauce is supposed to be used as the salty component, I had to cut back on the fish sauce so that the curry wasn’t too salty.

You actually mix Indian curry powder into the Thai red curry paste. Old school fusion cuisine. I just used whatever you find at regular grocery stores. My apartment smells really good now because of that whole mix of spices.

coconut, grated and frozenIn the class, we made coconut milk by squeezing freshly grated coconut milk in cheesecloth into water. Here, you can buy coconut milk in a can, frozen coconut milk, or frozen grated coconut that you squeeze yourself. I used frozen coconut milk that comes in a package like the one in the photo. But the photo is actually of frozen grated coconut. I’ll have to try squeezing that into milk some day. And maybe compare it to the frozen and canned coconut milk.

palm sugar candyThe only palm sugar that I found was palm sugar candy that I broke into pieces and dissolved into the curry. In Thailand, the palm sugar was a thick paste. The candy seems to be pretty much the same thing except with less moisture. You probably could just use regular sugar or brown sugar.

Here’s the recipe, from the cookbook from the cooking class and then modified a bit by me!

Ingredients (for 1 serving):

    • 150 g egg noodles (50 for deep frying and 100 for boiling)
    • 50 g chicken or tofu
    • Optional: vegetables (I used red bell peppers)
    • 2 tbsp oil
    • 1 tsp Indian curry powder
    • 1 tbsp red curry paste
    • 2 cups coconut milk
    • 2 tbsp fish sauce (or soy sauce for vegetarians)
    • 1 tsp palm sugar
    • Garnishes: chopped green onion, chopped coriander leaf, chopped shallots, limes cut into eighths


      1. Deep fry the egg noodles (50 g) until they are golden. You don’t need to have the oil any deeper than about 1 inch because the noodles float up to the top as soon as you put them in the oil. And it only takes a few seconds to fry them to the right level, so keep a close eye on them and don’t let them get too brown.

      2. Boil the rest of the egg noodles (100 g).

      3. Mix the red curry paste with the Indian curry powder.

      4. In a wok, heat the oil over low heat. Add curry paste and stir continuously until fragrant.

      5. Add chicken and 1/4 cup of coconut milk and stir constantly until chicken is cooked. If you want to add any vegetables, add them in at this point as well.

      6. Add the remaining coconut milk (you can adjust this amount to your taste).

      7. Add fish sauce and palm sugar (also to taste)

      8. To serve, place boiled noodles in bowl. Pour curry over the noodles and top with the deep fried egg noodles. Serve with the lime, shallots, cilantro, and green onions.

      Here’s the final product! khao sawy - final product


      1 Comment

      1. Sam said,

        Hi ,
        I came across your blog and really like it

        I also loved thisThai curry with noodles dish you made – Khao sawy
        must be delicious
        I would love to know the recipe for the red curry paste,that seems to be the main ingredient with a unique flavor
        Please do reply
        Cant wait to try this

        Thanks in advance!

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