Khao Soi (Chicken Curry Noodle Soup)

1 lb wide rice noodles (sub spiralized noodles if desired)
1 large dried red chile (guajillo, anaheim, or the like), stem and seeds removed
3 shallots, divided
4 cloves garlic
2 tsp kosher salt, more to taste
1 Thai chile or other spicy chile, stems removed
1 stalk lemongrass, white part only, thinly sliced
2 kaffir lime leaves, sliced
1” fresh turmeric, sliced (or 1/2 tsp ground turmeric)
1/2” fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
1 handful cilantro stalks, chopped (about ¼ cup chopped)
1 tsp coriander seeds
6 black cardamom pods, inner seeds only
1 tbsp shrimp paste or 3 tbsp fish sauce, more to taste
2 tbsp coconut oil or avocado oil
2 cans (13.5 oz each) coconut milk
1 cup chicken stock
1 tbsp palm sugar, coconut palm sugar, or honey
8 chicken drumsticks (about 3 lbs), skin removed
½ lb mustard greens, kai lan, or other dark green, tender cabbage
sliced limes, green onions, and cilantro to garnish

1. In a large mixing bowl, place the rice noodles and cover with lukewarm water; soak for 40 minutes.  Place the dried chile in a bowl and cover with 1 cup of hot water; soak for 10 minutes, then coarsely chop and set aside (reserve the hot water).  Coarsely chop 2 of the shallots, then slice the remaining 1 shallot and set aside.

2. For the best flavor, use a mortar and pestle, but a food processor will also work.  If using a mortar and pestle, place the garlic and salt in the mortar and crush into a paste.  One at a time, add and crush the dried chile, shallots, Thai chili, lemongrass, lime leaves, turmeric, ginger, cilantro stalks, coriander seeds, black cardamom, and shrimp paste; continue to crush the ingredients into a curry paste, about 8 minutes.  If using a food processor, add all of the ingredients and pulse until mostly uniform, about 2 minutes; if needed, add some of the water you soaked the chile in to help with the processing.

3. Warm the oil in a dutch oven or stockpot over medium-high heat.  Add the curry paste and stir to combine; sauté until the oil starts to separate from the paste, about 3 minutes, stirring often. Stir in the coconut milk, chicken stock, sugar, drumsticks, and enough water to nearly cover the chicken. Bring to a simmer over high heat, then cover and reduce heat to medium-low; simmer until the chicken is tender, about 40 minutes.

4. While the chicken simmers, prepare the noodles and greens.  Prepare an ice water bath. Bring a stockpot of salted water to boil over high heat, then add the noodles and blanch until just softened, about 30 seconds, then remove using tongs, drain, and rinse in cold water until cool to the touch.  Add the greens to the boiling water, then blanch until bright green, about 45 seconds, then transfer to the water bath. Distribute the noodles and greens into four soup bowls, then set aside.

5. Once the chicken is tender, season with salt and fish sauce to taste.  Distribute the drumsticks into the soup bowls, then ladle in the soup; serve with garnishes.

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