When I offered to take my grandson, Austin, and his girlfriend, Summer, to dinner, he had a different idea.
“Why don’t we cook for you at your condo?”
“Wow! What a treat,” I said quickly—especially since it was a debate night and being a political junkie, I didn’t want to miss the latest round of absurdities.
“What are we having?” I asked, responding by email while getting my hair cut at the hairdresser.
“Khao Soi” were the words that came back. At first, I thought he had misplaced his fingers on the keys and mistakenly come up with some weird combination of letters.
I brushed the fallen bits of hair from my cell phone screen and Googled “khao soi.” In a few clicks, I found it was, indeed, edible, even healthy and pronounced cow-soy. The Thai dish is made with chicken, noodles and curry and topped with an assortments of fresh ingredients: shallots, green onions, lime, cilantro and pickled mustard greens (really quite good, but requires a trip to an international market).
I hovered about the kitchen, asking questions and taking photos. The aromatic dish is one that Summer learned to make from her mother. The ancient meal is much enjoyed on the streets of Chiang Mai, as well as Myanmar (Burma).
I also noted there was a lot of chopping required. Fortunately, Austin and Summer had made the soup several times before, so they went about my kitchen like a couple of Iron Chefs turning out a gourmet meal. They both love to cook. Last Christmas, I gave Austin a cookbook that he’d been wanting: Chef Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty More. Already he’s cooked a dozen of the recipes.
Oh, Boy! Khao Soi
New York Times food writer Andy Ricker called Khao Soi “exotic without being weird and, most important, completely delicious.” I would heartily agree. Here’s Summer’s family recipe for Khao Soi. But first, if you want to give this soup a try, I’m told that Fork and Stix has a similar version with chicken, tofu, or beef.