"I’ve sampled all varieties of curries in Bangkok, but this noodle curry, originating from Chiang Mai, has to be one of my favourites. This recipe uses Thai curry powder – a fragrant blend of ground pepper, cloves, coriander seeds, cumin, fennel, chilli flakes, turmeric and ginger, available from spice shops and Asian markets." Luke Nguyen, Luke Nguyen's Street Food Asia
- 60 ml (¼ cup) coconut cream
- 2 tbsp shaved palm sugar (jaggery)
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 400 g boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 250 ml (1 cup) young coconut juice
- 500 ml (2 cups) coconut milk
- 250 ml (1 cup) water
- vegetable oil, for deep-frying
- 700 g fresh flat egg noodles
- 2 spring onions, finely sliced
- 1 handful coriander sprigs
- 2 dried red chillies, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes, then drained and chopped
- 4 red Asian shallots, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 cm piece fresh turmeric, peeled and sliced
- 4 cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
- 4 coriander roots, scraped clean and chopped
- 2 tsp shrimp paste (belacan)
- 2 tsp Thai curry powder
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
To make the spice paste, using a mortar and pestle or food processor, pound or process all the ingredients except the curry powder until a fine paste forms. Mix in the curry powder and set aside.
Pour the coconut cream into a wok and simmer over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the spice paste and stir until fragrant. Add the palm sugar, soy sauce and chicken, and combine well. Stir in the coconut juice, coconut milk and water. Bring to the boil, skimming off any impurities that rise to the surface. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until the chicken is tender.
Meanwhile, half fill a wok or large saucepan with vegetable oil and heat to 180˚C or until a cube of bread dropped into the oil browns in 15 seconds. Slowly slide about 100 g of the noodles into the wok and fry for 30 seconds or until crisp. Remove and drain on paper towel. Set aside.
Bring a saucepan of water to the boil. Divide the remaining noodles into four portions. Blanch each portion separately in the boiling water for 20 seconds, then remove and refresh in iced water – this allows the noodles to develop a nice firmness. Return them to the boiling water for another 10 seconds, then divide among four serving bowls.
Ladle the chicken and curry sauce over the noodles. Garnish with the crisp noodles, spring onion and coriander and serve immediately.
Photography by Alan Benson. Styling by Lucy Tweed. Food preparation by Tammi Kwok.