a balanced plate with room for dessert

Chicken Curry Rice Noodle Soup (Kow Boon)


We were blessed with the opening of Basil Cafe a little over a year ago. This place is one of my favorite restaurants in the Fox Cities; I haven’t eaten a bad thing there yet. Mike and I went here for Valentine’s Day last year and went there again this year. I tried something new this time – Kow Boon, a noodle soup with a coconut broth and a perfect amount of spice. I got the large (duh) and had leftovers for dinner the next day and breakfast the day after that (don’t judge).

It was so good that I wanted more. But, I realized that 3 visits to the same restaurant in 2 weeks was a little embarrassing, so I decided to try to make it at home. After all, what would I do if this place closed down? Or if we moved? What if I never got to eat this again? 

I labored over this recipe, tweaking ingredients over and over and over to try to match the flavors of Basil Cafe’s dish. All I had to go by was their menu description – “traditional Lao vermicelli rice noodles in a slightly spicy chicken coconut curry soup topped with bamboo shoots, fresh bean sprouts, mint, and cilantro” and the faint memory of how it had tasted. Hours later, I ended up with a huge pot of this delicious soup. Perfect. I will have breakfast, lunch, and dinner set for days. Now, I’m not claiming that this is as good as Basil Cafe’s soup, but it definitely hit the spot.

Chicken Curry Rice Noodle Soup (Kow Boon) |

Chicken Curry Rice Noodle Soup // Kow Boon

1/2 pound of rice vermicelli noodles
2 chicken leg quarters, skin removed and fat trimmed
1″ piece of ginger, chopped into 3 pieces
1 stalk lemongrass, bruised
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground pepper
4 cups water

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons red curry paste
2 tablespoons fish sauce
19 ounce can of bamboo shoots, sliced into strips
14 ounce can coconut milk

For garnish:
2 cups bean sprouts
1 lime, cut into wedges
1 bunch green onions, sliced

  1. Cook noodles in a large pot according to package directions. Drain and rinse under cold water. Set aside.
  2. In a large pot, combine chicken, ginger, salt, pepper, and water. Bring to a boil and cook until chicken is cook through. Remove chicken and strain out solids, reserving the soup base. Return soup to the pot and keep warm over medium-low heat. 
  3. When chicken is cool enough to handle, remove meat from bones, shred, and set aside.
  4. In a medium pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add in onions and garlic and saute until onions are lightly browned. Stir in curry paste and fish sauce and mix until well blended. Add curry to soup base and stir in bamboo strips and coconut milk. Bring to a simmer before assembling bowls.
  5. To assemble: place a “nest” of noodles on the bottom of the bowl. Ladle in soup and bamboo shoots. Top with bean sprouts, chicken, lime wedge and cilantro. Serve immediately.

kow boon

Author: Jenni

Dietitian by day and Midwest food blogger by night. Lover of whiskey, running, and all things food.

6 thoughts on “Chicken Curry Rice Noodle Soup (Kow Boon)

  1. this looks so good! is it super spicy?

  2. That looks delicious, especially on a cold day like we are having today! I like the idea of adding some chili peppers since I like any food when its a bit spicy!

  3. Pingback: Top 13 Recipes of 2013 |

  4. I was craving this soup called Kow Boon. I first had it at Basil Cafe in Appleton, WI. I go there on a regular basis and always order this soup, a glass of Dreaming Tree and and order of mango sticky rice for desert. I could easily eat there every day. The food is terrific and Larry is the best bar tender/host. Who would have thought I would go to pintrest and find your Blog with a recipe for Kow Boon. I can only assume you are speaking of Basil Cafe on Richmond street. I am saving this recipe, thank you for sharing!

  5. On a side note, you look familiar. I think I may have been your art teacher in middle school at Wilson.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s