Chiang Mai noodles is one of my all-time favorite Thai dishes (no kidding!). It is the signature dish of Chiang Mai, Thailand, and that is where I tasted it (experienced it!) for the first time. It is said to be of Burmese origin, but it now calls Chiang Mai home. It is served soup-style in a bowl with lots of broth over noodles, together with a bit of meat, such as pork or chicken. The broth is a fantastic blend of spices, coconut milk and chicken stock, and it is on the hot side. It is typically garnished with green onions, shallots, peppers and a deep-fried nest of noodles (optional). I hope you’ll try it!
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast (about two breasts), cut into 1-inch cubes
2 1/2 cups coconut milk
2 Tbsp red Thai curry paste
1 tsp ground turmeric
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
4 Tbsp fish sauce
1 Tbsp dark soy sauce (don’t substitute with regular/light soy sauce; do substitute with kecap manis, if necessary)
Juice of 1/2 fresh lime
1/8 tsp ground white or black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1 lb fresh Asian-style egg noodles, cooked 2 minutes in boiling water, then drained and set aside
3 spring onions, diagonally sliced
4 (or so) red Thai bird chilies, seeded and thinly sliced
4 chopped shallots
Some cilantro (coriander leaves)
4 fried noodle nests (optional)*
Heat about 1/3 of coconut milk in a wok or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. As soon as it comes to a boil, add the Thai curry paste and turmeric. Stir constantly for about 1 or 2 minutes, until fragrant. Add chicken and stir fry for another 2 minutes.
Add the rest of the coconut milk, chicken stock, fish sauce, dark soy sauce, lime juice, ground pepper and salt to the chicken mixture. Bring back to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low and simmer gently, uncovered, for about 7 minutes. Serve in bowls, over portions of the egg noodles. Garnish each serving with spring onions, chopped bird chilies, chopped shallots, cilantro leaves and fried noodle nests (if using).
*To make fried noodle nests, divide 6 oz rice vermicelli into 4 “nests.” Heat about an inch of canola oil in a wok over high heat. Test oil when it is hot by dipping one of the noodles into it; oil is ready when noodle puffs up on contact. With tongs, drop one nest into the oil. It will just take a second to fry — remove from the oil as it has puffed up. Place on paper towels to drain. Repeat with the rest of the nests.