Recipes / Thai

Kuay Tieow – how to make a traditional Thai noodle soup

A Thai staple, eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  Start by boiling the stock separately, then prepare the noodles, veges and garnish, meat or prawns if adding, while waiting for the stock to simmer.  Keep a supply of crispy garlic in oil to hand, which keeps for several months.  This stock is vegetarian and made from scratch every time. Licorice root gives a sweet and meaty flavour when combined with coriander root.  You can also use chicken, beef or fish stock if you have your own preferred recipe.  This version also has sliced Thai omelette kay jeow added, which I will include as a separate recipe as it can be eaten as a dish on it’s own.



Licorice stick cut to about 4cm long – split in two with a knife for flavour


Black or white peppercorns – grind

Coriander root x4 – crushed (freeze the rest)

Old veges roughly chopped in large pieces

Onion – sliced

Soy sauce and fish sauce – to taste

A crushed garlic clove if desired


Use any type of rice noodles.  Soak if necessary, then boil, drain dry and place in serving bowl while stock is cooking.  Always cook noodles separately as they will discolour and impair the stock if cooked together.  Mix with a teaspoon of the garlic oil to keep moist while waiting to be topped with the other ingredients.


Choose from: sliced broccoli, cauliflower, daikon, carrots, Chinese greens and cabbage, Asian mushrooms

Now to put the stock to use – blanch your sliced vegetables in the stock, then put aside in the serving bowl on top of the cooked noodles.  A tip – never attempt to ‘cook’ or boil your vegetables for this type of dish, as they should be firm and bright.  Blanching for a few minutes is the way to go, using a slotted spoon or tongs for easy removal.


Coriander, spring onion, celery leaves – chop finely, and put aside til serving.  Lemon juice to taste.

Chilli sauce – Nam Som

Apple cider vinegar with sliced large red or green chillis (freeze the rest of these for later use as they can be sliced from frozen).  Place the vinegar in a small dish and use as little or as much chilli as you like.  To be spooned onto the noodles when serving.

Fried Garlic

Crush four large bulbs of garlic, roughly and not too finely chopped.  Fry on a slow to medium heat with a lot of oil.  Turn heat off when medium brown and cool.  Store in an airtight container.  This should be made well in advance.

To assemble – after blanching the veges and cooking any prawns or meat in the stock and placing on top of the cooked noodles, add a dash of soy sauce and cider vinegar to the noodle bowl.  Discarding the old stock vegetables, strain and pour the stock into the bowl, then add crispy garlic (unless you have to work the next day – it is potent stuff), the fresh garnish, and as much nam som and lemon juice as you like.  You could also use chopsticks for the noodles and a traditional Thai soup spoon, or a plain spoon and fork will suffice and is what most Thai people would use at home.

A vegetarian version with mushrooms and kai jeow

A vegetarian version with mushrooms and kai jeow


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