Surprise your taste buds with the textural and flavorful delights of my curry noodle soup. It’s full of fragrance and topped with perfectly crispy bites of popcorn chicken and leafy green bok choy for balance!
In my neighborhood, there is a Chinese restaurant that serves a dish I’m absolutely in love with. And while things are a bit out of place at the moment due to the social distancing, I’ve used some of my time at home to recreate it.
The curry noodle soup is a favorite of mine. It features noodles swimming in a light, hearty, curry-flavored chicken broth. On top, crispy, golden brown chicken bites and baby bok choy combine to turn this soup into a meal. It’s incredibly delicious, and comforting too – just what we all need right now.
I should warn you…don’t be intimidated by the ingredient list! While this curry noodle soup recipe looks long, it’s so easy to make. Honestly, it takes less than 30 minutes to put together. And very likely, you already have many of these things in your pantry.
Crispy popcorn chicken (no deep-frying required!)
The chicken isn’t even deep-fried. I have a special technique to make it super crispy, with all the flavor, but less oil. These crunchy bites go perfectly on top of the noodles. You can use boneless chicken thighs or chicken breasts. Either one will work!
Make the soup in one pan
Once you’ve fried the chicken, you can make the noodle broth in the same pan. To do this:
- Saute the aromatics
- Gently cook the curry powder to release the fragrance
- Add the chicken broth and sauce and simmer
While the soup is simmering, I blanch the baby bok choy and boil the noodles at the same time in a separate pot. So everything will be ready at the same time.
Cook for one, or more
Another thing you’ll love about this recipe is that you can alter it for just one person, or for even more people. It’s easy to halve or double it to accommodate all the people under your roof. If you’re going solo, you can use this time to practice your cooking skills while enjoying the fruit of your labor. When things get better out there, you’ll then be able to invite all your friends over to sample this lovely curry noodle soup.
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Curry Noodle Soup with Popcorn Chicken
- 2 pieces chicken thighs or 1 breast (about 9 oz / 250 g), cut to 3/4” (2 cm) pieces
- 2 teaspoons Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry)
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 to 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/4 cup peanut oil
- 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
- 2 ” (5 cm) ginger , grated
- 3 cloves garlic , grated
- 2 tablespoons curry powder (I used S&B Japanese curry)
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry)
- 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 8 oz (225 g) thin Chinese wheat noodles
- 2 heads baby bok choy (or other leafy greens, cut to bite-sized pieces)
- Green onion , chopped (Optional)
Make popcorn chicken
- Combine the chicken, Shaoxing wine, and salt in a medium-sized bowl. Stir to mix well. Let it marinate while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
- When you’re ready to cook, add the cornstarch into the bowl with the chicken. Stir to coat it completely.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil (for the baby bok choy and noodles).
- Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet (or a medium-sized dutch oven) over medium-high heat until hot. Spread the chicken in the skillet without over overlapping. Cook until the bottom side turns golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip to cook the other side until golden brown, another 2 minutes. Once done, turn off the heat and transfer the chicken to a large plate.
- Sprinkle the white pepper over the chicken. Toss with a pair of tongs to mix evenly. Set aside.
- In the same skillet (or pot) you cooked the chicken in, there should be 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil left. If not, add 1 tablespoon of oil. Turn to medium heat.
- Add the ginger and garlic. Stir until releasing fragrance, about 30 seconds.
- Add the curry powder. Stir and cook for another minute.
- Slowly add the chicken stock, stirring the curry to incorporate it into the liquid. Add the Shaoxing wine, rice vinegar, soy sauce, salt, and sugar. Bring it to a boil. Taste the soup. Adjust the seasoning by adding more salt, if needed. Turn the heat to low to let the broth simmer while you cook the noodles and baby bok choy.
Cook the noodles & baby bok choy
- The pot for the noodles should be boiling while you’re preparing the soup. Add the baby bok choy. Let it cook until soft, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Transfer the bok choy to a colander and run tap water over it to stop the cooking. Drain and set aside.
- In the same pot, add the noodles. Cook according to the package instructions. Once cooked, drain the noodles and transfer them to 2 serving bowls.
- Add the bok choy onto each bowl of noodles. Pour the curry soup evenly over the two noodle bowls and top with the chicken. Garnish with green onion. Serve hot as a main dish.
If you give this recipe a try, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it (once you’ve tried it), and take a picture and tag it @omnivorescookbook on Instagram! I’d love to see what you come up with.
More delicious noodle recipes
- Vegetable Lo Mein
- 15-Minute Korean Noodle Soup
- Japchae (Korean Sweet Potato Noodles)
- Char Siu Chow Mein
- Chicken Udon Soup
Lilja Walter is a part of the Omnivore’s Cookbook team and worked closely with Maggie to develop and test this recipe.
Questions and Reviews
I made this as directed the other night and it was terrific, but my chicken never browned like that in the pictures. Any suggestions?
Hi Brooke, I think it might be because your pan wasn’t hot enough. I heated up peanut oil just when it’s about to smoke (around 450 F) and cook the thighs without touching until it’s browned. If your oil temperature was lower, or you moved the chicken a lot, they might not brown as well.
I really enjoyed this dish, my husband absolutely loved it to, first time making it ,& wont be my last, thank you Maggie for giving me inspiration.
Hi! I was wondering if this could be made without the alcohol? It looks so great, i’d love to try it!
Hi Shela, yes you can totally make this dish without alcohol. You can replace it with chicken broth. I would grate some ginger (1 teaspoon is enough) for marinating the chicken, to add a nice aroma even without the alcohol. Happy cooking and hope your dish come out well!
Absolutely love this recipe, it’s now a staple in my meals and the popcorn chicken turns out perfectly crispy and flavorful. Thanks for sharing!
Really tasty, but the frying made a HUGE mess as oil spattered all over my stove, counters, range hood and floor. I would give it 5 stars for taste. Grating the ginger and garlic also took time. I just chopped the garlic. It took about 40 minutes to clean up the grease afterwards. My dog, however, loved licking the floor!
This is going to sound ridiculous, but is there another seasoning you can recommend as a sub for the curry? I love every other element in this dish, but I have a hard time with curry and just can’t get into the flavor. The chicken looks fantastic as a soup topper! I’d love to make it, but fear the soup would be missing flavor without a curry substitute. Thank you!
If you’re worried the soup won’t be flavorful enough, you should try the broth from this recipe: http://omnivorescookbook.com/soy-sauce-noodles
I hope you like it 🙂
This recipe is so easy, cozy, and delicious! I only had the yellow madras curry powder (and used a bit less than directed) in my pantry but that just gave it a nice kick and different flavor! I might also experiment with frying the chicken in the air fryer just because. It’s easy to swap ingredients to suit what you have available. Highly recommend adding this to your weekly cooking rotation!