Khao Soi

This Khao Soi from Donny Sirisavath starts with a savory pork-based sauce.

Khao Soi
Khao Soi. Photo:

Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Ali Ramee / Prop Styling by Christina Daley

Active Time:
1 hrs 35 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 35 mins

An aromatic mixture made of shallot, garlic, and radish is the base of this riff on the Northern Thai classic from chef Donny Sirisavath. He amps up the flavor with soybean paste, cherry tomatoes, and ground pork to create a deeply savory pork sauce. Red pepper flakes, black pepper, and palm sugar act as a balancing act to the spices and aromatics in the sauce. The addition of grated galangal in combination with the lemongrass offers a really nice floral fragrant note to the overall dish.

Cook the noodles then infuse the noodle cooking water with the same aromatics from the pork sauce to create a light and herbaceous broth. Garnishing with mushrooms and herbs is the finishing touch. Save time and make the pork sauce in advance then cook the noodles and broth when you are ready to serve.


  • 2 large (6 ounces total) shallots, quartered, peelings and trimmings reserved

  • 18 clove garlic cloves (from 2 [2-ounce] heads), peelings and trimmings reserved 

  • 1 1/2 ounces daikon radish, peeled and cut into large pieces (about 1/2 cup), peelings and trimmings reserved

  • 1 (1/2-ounce) lemongrass stalk, cut into small pieces (about 1/4 cup), tough outer leaves and trimmings reserved

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil

  • 1 small (4 ounce) white onion, thinly sliced (about 1 cup), peelings and trimmings reserved

  • 1 pound cherry tomatoes, halved (about 3 cups)

  • 1 pound ground pork

  • 12 cups, plus 2 tablespoons water, divided

  • 1/2 cup soybean paste

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons red pepper powder

  • 1 tablespoon paprika

  • 1 tablespoon palm sugar

  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

  • 4 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce, divided

  • 1/2 cup galangal,  peeled and grated with microplane grater (about 1/2 cup)

  • 1 (32-ounce) pkg. fresh rice noodles or 1 lb. dried rice noodles

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt

  • Garnishes: mint leaves, cilantro leaves, thinly sliced green onion, and halved lengthwise beech mushrooms


  1. Pulse shallots in a food processor until finely chopped, about 10 pulses. Transfer shallots to a bowl, and set aside. Pulse garlic in food processor until finely chopped, about 6 pulses. Transfer to a separate bowl, and set aside. Pulse radish and lemongrass in food processor until finely chopped, about 10 pulses. Transfer to a separate bowl, and set aside.

  2. Heat oil in a medium Dutch oven over medium-high. Add onion and reserved shallots; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add reserved garlic; cook, stirring often, until onion and shallots are translucent, about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes and reserved radish-lemongrass mixture; cook, stirring often, until fragrant and tomatoes begin to soften, about 2 minutes. Add ground pork; cook, stirring constantly, until pork is broken into small pieces, about 1 minute. Add 2 tablespoons of the water. Reduce heat to low; cook, stirring often, until pork is no longer pink, about 15 minutes. Add soybean paste, red pepper powder, paprika, palm sugar, granulated sugar, black pepper, and 1 1/2 tablespoons of the fish sauce, stirring until evenly combined. Increase heat to medium; cook, stirring often, until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low; cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 10 minutes. Turn off heat; stir in grated galangal. Cover pork sauce, and keep warm using residual heat from burner.

  3. During final 10 minutes of pork sauce cooking, bring remaining 12 cups water in a large saucepan to a boil over medium-high. Reduce heat to medium; add  rice noodles, stirring once, until softened, 30 to 40 seconds for fresh noodles or 2 to 3 minutes for dried noodles. (If using dried noodles, soak in warm water for 10 minutes before boiling noodles.) Transfer noodles to a colander using a slotted spoon, and drain well; reserve cooking water in saucepan. Place noodles in a large bowl; cover with cold water, and set aside. Add reserved shallot, garlic, radish, lemongrass, and onion peelings and trimmings to cooking water in saucepan; add salt and remaining 3 tablespoons fish sauce. Bring to a simmer over medium; simmer, stirring occasionally, 20 minutes. Pour broth through a fine mesh strainer into a large bowl, discarding solids.

  4. Drain reserved noodles. Divide noodles evenly among 6 bowls (about 1 1/3 cups each). Top evenly with pork sauce (about 3/4 cup each), and add about 1 2/3 cups broth to each bowl; garnish with mint, cilantro, green onion, and mushrooms.

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