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Thai chicken noodle soup

(Gar touy nam sai gai)


50 mins

Super Easy

A staple in Thailand, this soup can be found on almost every street corner in every province. It’s impossible to come across the ultimate noodle soup recipe – there are so many good ones! Each street stall serving this dish will be very proud of its own recipe, which will have been passed down the generations of the family and tweaked countless times along the way. This is my family’s version.




  • 400g (14oz) rice vermicelli noodles

  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 6 garlic cloves, crushed

  • 300g (10oz) bean sprouts

  • 1.2l (2 pint) chicken stock

  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce

  • 2 tablespoons palm sugar

  • 1 head of pickled garlic

  • 8 coriander roots

  • 2 pandan leaves

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 400g (14oz) boneless, skinless chicken breast

  • To serve:

  • 2 Chinese celery sticks, chopped

  • 4 sprigs of coriander, finely chopped

  • 4 spring onions, finely chopped

  • 2 teaspoons dried turnip (available from Asian supermarkets)

  • Pinch of white pepper


  1. Soak the rice vermicelli noodles in warm water for 10 minutes, then drain.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in small saucepan over a high heat, add the garlic and cook, stirring continuously, until it is golden brown.
  3. Remove the garlic from the pan and set aside.
  4. Bring a pan of water to a rolling boil, then add the noodles and cook for 30 seconds. Drain and place in a bowl with the bean sprouts. Set aside.
  5. Pour the chicken stock into a deep saucepan, add the soy sauce, palm sugar, pickled garlic, coriander roots, pandan leaf and salt and bring to a low boil.
  6. Add the chicken and poach for 20 minutes, then remove from the pan, slice and set aside. If the chicken is not yet cooked through, return the slices to the pan for a minute until they are done, then remove and set aside. Simmer the soup for 2 minutes more.
  7. Divide the noodles and bean sprouts between 2 serving bowls, then pour over the soup. The hot stock will cook the bean sprouts ever so slightly.
  8. Top with the sliced chicken and sprinkle over the Chinese celery, coriander, spring onions and dried turnip.
  9. Season with the white pepper and serve immediately.


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