Authentic is a great thing, but it does make a somewhat complicated recipe that was a bit daunting for a Monday night. I made several adaptations to simplify it but I don't think I compromised taste at all! I halved the recipe since I was cooking for two. I used boneless meat and chopped it into bite-size pieces. I reduced the amount of coconut milk by 1/4 cup and increased the amount of chicken stock since I was afraid the coconut flavor might be too overpowering. I did away with the fried noodle garnish - I have to be in a bathing suit by the end of this week, people. Instead I just served with rice stick since it was what I had in the cupboard. Instead of using pickled mustard green, I threw in some arugula toward the end; again, it's what I had. Finally, I chopped up cilantro, a couple shallots and a few dried chiles and put them directly in the sauce rather than as a garnish. I love my garnishes and would probably do it up all the way if I made it for a group but it's easier to just throw it in from the get-go when I already know my and Don's tastes.
Khao Soi (Northern Chicken Curry Noodle)
1.5-2 lbs boneless chicken pieces (I used breast but a mix would be great), cut into bite size pieces
2 heaping tbsp red curry paste (available in the Asian food section of most supermarkets)
1 tbsp oil
1 1/4 cups coconut milk
1/2 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 cardamom, crushed (I removed the seeds from the pod then crushed with the side of a knife blade)
1.5 cups chicken stock
1.5 tbsp fish sauce
6 oz rice stick or other soup noodle (I actually have no idea how much I used... use as much or as little noodle as you want)
2 shallots, chopped
3 oz arugula
1 lime, wedged
2 dried chiles plus more for garnish
chopped cilantro to taste
Heat the oil, red curry paste, curry powder, turmeric, and cardamom in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, for a few minutes until fragrant but be careful not to burn.
Stir in the shallots, chiles, and half of the coconut milk, bring to a boil, and let bubble for a few minutes stirring often to keep from burning to the bottom. The recipe says that you'll see the oil separate from the milk mixture, but I never really saw that. Perhaps I'm oblivious. After a few minutes I added the rest of the coconut milk and let bubble for another few minutes.
Add the chicken and stock. Return to a boil then lower the heat, add the fish sauce, cover and simmer until the chicken is done (about 10 minutes depending on how small you chopped it). At this point, it should be salty, spicy, with a sweet aftertaste. If not, modify seasonings.
Stir in the cilantro, arugula, and rice stick (uncooked). It will cook in just a couple minutes. Alternatively, you can cook the rice stick in another pot and pour soup over it so that if you have leftovers, the noodles will be stored separately and not soak up all the broth overnight. I did with the former method; the noodles definitely soaked up some broth by lunch the next day but it was still amazing leftover.
Serve with lime wedges and extra chiles.