Coconut Noodle Soup

Indian Flavor Every Day Copyright © 2023 by Maya Kaimal. Photographs copyright © 2023 by Eva Kolenko. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Random House.


  • Kosher salt
  • 1 (14-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 large shallots, thinly sliced crosswise (2 cups)
  • 15 fresh curry leaves (1 inch or longer), thinly sliced crosswise (optional but ideal)
  • 1 to 2 serranos or jalapeños, split lengthwise, with tops intact
  • ¾ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 5 ounces baby spinach or regular spinach, tough stems removed and discarded, leaves coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
  • 8 ounces medium-width rice noodles, such as pad Thai–style


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  • 1 tablespoon neutral oil
  • 1 teaspoon brown or black mustard seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon dried red chili flakes

Toppings: Bean sprouts, Cilantro leaves and tender stems, Lime wedges, Chili sauce


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil to use later for the noodles. Keep it warm as you prepare the rest of the soup.
  2. Make the soup: In a 4-quart saucepan or stockpot, combine the coconut milk, water, shallots, curry leaves, green chilies, turmeric, cayenne, and salt and simmer over medium-low heat until it thickens to the consistency of light cream, about 10 minutes. Avoid a hard-boil or the coconut milk will separate. Stir in the spinach and simmer 3 to 5 minutes, or until wilted. Add the lime juice and remove from the heat.
  3. Make the tarka: Assemble your prepped and measured ingredients by the stove. In a small skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the mustard seeds and heat until they pop for a few seconds, occasionally swirling the pan. Add the red chili flakes and sizzle for a few seconds, then pour the entire mixture over the soup and stir it in. Cover and keep warm.
  4. Return the warm water to a rolling boil and add the noodles. Cook until tender, 5 to 7 minutes, then drain and briefly rinse. Divide the noodles among four bowls and spoon the soup equally over the noodles. Top with bean sprouts and cilantro leaves, and serve with lime wedges and chili sauce on the side.

Servings: 4

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