Red curry Thai noodle soup is big on flavor yet incredibly simple to make. Ready in just 25 minutes, this recipe beats getting takeout and is easily customizable to what you have on hand.
Thai noodle soups are one of my favorite winter meals. They’re packed with flavor and nothing beats the spice of curry, ginger and lime on a cold day when you’re craving something comforting.
They’re also my go-to (along with this spicy chicken lime soup) when feeling under the weather. The ginger will open any clogged sinuses right up!
If you like red curry dishes, chances are you’ll love this soup then too. It’s basically red curry with added broth and rice noodles.
We used chickpeas for the protein to keep it a vegetarian recipe but that can easily be swapped out for a meat if preferred. In fact, this red curry Thai soup is great made with shredded leftover chicken or some frozen shrimp thrown in too.
Whichever way you go with the protein, this is an easy, quick and healthy meal you can put together quicker than calling for takeout.
INGREDIENTS TO MAKE THAI RED CURRY SOUP
- olive oil
- red bell pepper
- red curry paste
- coconut milk
- rice noodles
- lime & cilantro for garnish
Think of this recipe as a base. While it’s delicious as is, adding in some extra vegetables is a great idea too.
Broccoli, cauliflower, kale, spinach or any cubed winter squash are all great complements that can not only bulk up the soup but add in some nutritious vitamins, minerals and fiber to the dish.
HOW TO MAKE THAI RED CURRY NOODLE SOUP
Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat and add the carrots. Cook for a couple of minutes to soften them a bit.
Add the peppers, onion, garlic and ginger and cook another 1-2 minutes until fragrant. The peppers can be chopped or cut into thin strips for this soup to mimic the noodles. Check out this tutorial on how to cut bell peppers for details.
Mix the red curry paste into the pot to coat all the ingredients then add the broth and chickpeas. Stir until combined and bring the mixture to a simmer.
Pour the coconut milk into the pot, stir and cook for an additional 3 minutes until vegetables are soft but not mushy.
Add the rice noodles and stir to combine with the rest of the soup. Once noodles are softened, about 2-3 minutes, season to taste with salt and pepper and remove from heat.
Squeeze half a lime into the soup then garnish with fresh cilantro. Serve with additional lime wedges.
THE BEST NOODLES TO USE
Thai soups most often use rice noodles and that’s what we’ve chosen here for a variety of reasons including taste, authenticity and the simple fact that they’re gluten-free.
Rice noodles are available in a variety of lengths and widths. They take on flavor really well and cook incredibly quickly making them our noodle of choice for this red curry soup. You’re likely used to them in dishes like pad Thai or pho.
Ramen is another good hearty noodle option if you’re ok with wheat based noodles. Ramen is more frequently used in Japanese or Chinese dishes whereas rice noodles are more often Thai based.
If you do choose ramen noodles, beware of the spice pack they’re often sold with. I always discard that when cooking ramen as it’s filled with all sorts of chemical additives and preservatives. Just use the noodles.
Soba noodles are a less talked about Asian soup noodle. I often use it when making pasta dishes (like these soba noodles with leeks, onions and eggs). Made from buckwheat, it’s another gluten-free option and works well in soups too.
Udon noodles are probably least known for soups and more so for skillet udon noodle dishes but they can also be used here if preferred. Typically, udon is a wheat based noodle but there are gluten-free varieties made with rice now available as well.
WAYS TO INCREASE THE PROTEIN IN THIS RED CURY THAI SOUP
For a vegan protein hack, swap out the rice noodles for quinoa. You can also add cubed tofu to the soup.
If you eat animal protein, as suggested above, this soup is also great with an array of meats.
Shredded chicken, frozen shrimp, ground beef or pork are all easy ways to amp up the protein content and bulk up the soup a bit.
Frozen shrimp and tofu are the two sources I use most as they’re the simplest. Frozen shrimp can be thrown into the soup with the broth and chickpeas as they need just minutes to cook.
Tofu, since it’s already cooked just needs to be warmed through and can be added with the coconut milk.
If adding protein to the soup, I still like to keep the noodles in the recipe but I usually scale them back to about 4 ounces. Otherwise, you’ll need to add more broth.
TIPS FOR THE BEST TASTING RED CURRY SOUP
- Make sure to use full fat coconut milk for its creaminess and decadence
- Don’t skip the fresh lime juice at the end. Its brightness and acidity helps cut through the spicy savory flavors of the soup.
- If you’re hesitant on spice, cut the red curry paste back to 2-3 tablespoons.
Leftover soup will keep in an air-tight container for up to a week in the refrigerator. The noodles will absorb more liquid as it sits though so if left too long, the soup will definitely thicken.
It’s not suggested to freeze this recipe.
MORE THAI INSPIRED RECIPES TO TRY:
Thai Red Curry Soup
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 medium carrots peeled and diced (about 1 cup)
- 1 medium red bell pepper diced (about 1 cup)
- 1 small onion chopped
- 3 garlic cloves chopped
- 1 teaspoon ginger minced
- 4 tablespoons red curry paste
- 1 can 15 ounces chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 1 cup full fat coconut milk
- 7 ounces rice noodles
- sea salt to taste
- ground black pepper to taste
- juice of 1/2 a lime
- 1/2 cup cilantro loosely packed
- lime quarters
- In a large heavy pot, heat oil on medium heat. Add carrots and cook for about 2 minutes.
- Add bell pepper, onion, garlic and ginger. Stir and cook for 1 minute.
- Add curry paste, chickpeas and broth. Stir and bring to a simmer.
- Pour coconut milk into the pot and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes on a medium simmer until vegetables are softened but not mushy.
- Add rice noodles and cook until softened, stirring so they break up in the liquid. Squeeze half a lime into the soup then season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Remove from heat, garnish with cilantro and lime wedges and serve immediately.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.
Gina Matsoukas is the writer, founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients as much as possible. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.