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Khao Soi is a spicy Thai coconut curry soup served with noodles and usually chicken, which we will replace with tempeh for a plant-based version! It’s super creamy thanks to the coconut milk, aromatic, and so easy to make!

Tempeh Khao Soi - Coconut Noodles Soup

📘 What is Khao Soi

Khao Soi is a popular Northern Thai noodle soup. It consists of rice or wheat noodles served in a very aromatic coconut milk broth. The broth is creamy and flavored with red curry paste, ginger, and garlic, giving it an amazing flavor.

The authentic version includes chicken as the protein of choice and fish sauce. To keep this recipe vegan, we will replace the chicken with tempeh and the fish sauce with soy sauce.

Tempeh Khao Soi - Coconut Noodles Soup

🥣 How to Make Tempeh Khao Soi


The main component of this dish is soup. It is easy and takes less than 20 minutes to make. Here is what you will need:

  • Shallots, garlic, ginger – While these ingredients are already used in the red curry paste, I believe frying fresh aromatics brings more flavor to the soup.
  • Red curry paste – This spicy paste brings most of the flavor. It’s made of lemongrass, red chili pepper, galangal, kaffir lime peel, and spices. I recommend checking the ingredients as not all red curry pastes are vegan. Thai Kitchen Red Curry Paste and Aroy-D are both vegan options.
  • Coconut milk – Preferably full-fat coconut milk for a richer and creamier consistency.
  • Vegetable broth
  • Soy sauce – For umami and saltiness. Use tamari for a gluten-free option.
  • Coconut sugar – For the perfect balance of sweet and salty!

Traditionally, Khao Soi also requires shrimp paste to give it more complex flavors. In place of the shrimp paste, I used a combination of seaweed and dried shiitake; it gives the soup a subtle “fish” flavor. Don’t worry it’s not overpowering and can be omitted.

Tempeh Khao Soi - Coconut Noodles Soup

Preparing the Soup

  1. Sauté shallots, ginger, and garlic until fragrant.
  2. Next, add the red curry paste and stir to combine.
  3. Pour in the full-fat coconut milk, vegetable broth, soy sauce, and sugar. Let simmer for 12-15 minutes.
  4. Add a squeeze of lime, and the soup is ready!

For the optional “fish” flavor: Place the seaweed in an empty tea bag (or tea ball) and simmer with the coconut milk, vegetable broth, and red curry paste for a good 10 minutes. Once the soup is done, just remove the tea bag! By using a tea bag, you don’t have to strain the soup, less mess.

Close up of Khao Soi in a bowl


  • Tempeh – It adds protein as well as texture. You can use store-bought or homemade tempeh. The marinade is a combination of soy sauce, maple syrup, sesame oil, cashew butter, and ground cumin. Feel free to add your favorite spices in there. I’m thinking coriander, cardamom, or even smoked paprika for a hint of smokiness!
  • Noodles – Here, I went with rice noodles, but you can use wheat noodles if that’s what you have on hand. Long and flat noodles are best for this recipe.
  • Red onion
  • Roasted Peanuts – For some crunch!
  • Lime juice – It adds freshness and just a hint of sourness.
  • Fresh cilantro – Again, for extra freshness!
Tempeh Khao Soi - Coconut Noodles Soup


Can I substitute the tempeh?

Yes, you can use tofu instead!

Is Khao Soi very spicy?

I would say it is mildly spicy; it doesn’t burn, but you can definitely taste the spiciness.

Is Khao Soi high-calorie?

It’s not a light meal for sure, mostly because of the full-fat coconut milk. If you want to make a lighter version, use half coconut milk, half water, or simply use light coconut milk.

What is the best way to keep Khao Soi?

Keep the soup and noodles separate. I would even recommend cooking only the amount of noodles you plan to serve the same day.

How long does this Tempeh Khao Soi keep?

It will keep for up to 4 days in the refrigerator.

Tempeh Khao Soi - Coconut Noodles Soup

If you are looking for rich and aromatic noodle soup, you will love this vegan Khao Soi recipe! While this dish is a bit higher in fat than usual, it’s so delicious you definitely won’t feel guilty about it!

⭐️ Did you like this recipe? Let us know in the comments below, and tag us on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest!

Tempeh Khao Soi - Coconut Noodles Soup
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Tempeh Khao Soi

Tempeh Khao Soi

4.77 from 17 votes
Author: Thomas Pagot
Creamy Thai coconut curry soup with marinated tempeh, rice noodles, and peanuts. A flavorful and healthy take on the traditional Khao Soi!
Prep Time : 20 minutes
Cook Time : 20 minutes
Total Time : 40 minutes
Servings 5 servings
Calories 357 kcal



  • 7 ounces tempeh
  • 1 tsp cashew or almond butter
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/4 tsp cumin

Khao Soi Soup

  • 1 shallot minced
  • 1 clove of garlic minced
  • 1 inch ginger grated
  • 1 and 1/2 tbsp red curry paste
  • 1 13.5-ounce can full-fat coconut milk or light coconut milk for a lower calorie option
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1 whole dried shiitake
  • 2 tsp seaweed
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 6 ounces rice noodles or wheat noodles if not gluten-free
  • optional toppings: peanuts, lime, fresh cilantro, sliced red onion



  • Start by cutting the tempeh into bite-size cubes or triangles.
  • In a large bowl, prepare the marinade by combining the cashew butter, soy sauce, maple syrup, sesame oil, and cumin. If the marinade is too thick, add 1-2 tbsp water.
  • Add the diced tempeh to the marinade bowl and stir to coat. Let marinade for at least 30 minutes, or overnight.

Khao Soi Soup

  • Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large saucepan. Add shallot, garlic, and ginger and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the red curry paste and cook for another minute, stirring regularly to make sure it doesn't stick to the bottom.
  • Add the coconut milk, vegetable broth, soy sauce, coconut sugar, turmeric, and dried shiitake. Place the seaweed in an empty tea bag or tea ball, this way it will be easier to remove later. Add it to the saucepan.
  • Bring to a light boil and let simmer for 12-15 minutes. Remove from heat, discard the seaweed tea bag, and shiitake. Stir in the lime juice. Taste and adjust the seasonings if needed. Cover and set aside while you cook the tempeh and noodles.
  • Tempeh: heat a tablespoon of oil in a skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the tempeh and cook until it starts to brown, stirring regularly. Deglaze the skillet with the remaining marinade, and remove from heat.
  • Noodles: Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the noodles according to the package instructions. Drain.
  • To serve: Divide the noodles between serving bowls, pour 3/4 cup of the coconut soup, and top with tempeh, fresh cilantro, peanuts, and a drizzle of lime juice.
  • Khao soi will keep for up to 4 days in the refrigerator.


If you have leftovers: do not combine the noodles and soup in the same container/bowl, the noodles would become too soft and will break. Keep the two separated. To reheat: Bring a large pot of water to a boil, remove from heat, and add the cooked pasta, let sit for 2-3 minutes just to warm and drain. In the meantime, reheat the soup in a saucepan over medium heat.
Nutrition information is calculated with full-fat coconut milk, it is slightly higher in calories but more creamy.
If you want to make it fancier, you can also fry some of the noodles in a medium saucepan filled with oil for 1-2 minutes until crisp. Then use the fried noodles as a topping.


Serving: 1 serving | Calories: 357 kcal | Carbohydrates: 23.8 g | Protein: 10.4 g | Fat: 26.4 g | Fiber: 0.5 g | Sugar: 6 g
Course : Main Course, Soup
Cuisine : Asian, Thai
Did you make this recipe? Tag @fullofplants on Instagram and hashtag it #fullofplants
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About the Author

Thomas Pagot is the founder, photographer, and recipe developer behind Full of Plants. He created the blog in 2016 as a personal cookbook for vegan recipes. Through years of recipe development, Thomas has successfully grown Full of Plants into a trusted resource for plant-based recipes.

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Hi Thomas! Looks delicious. One tip I discovered for tempeh is that if you soak the cubed tempeh in brine (for 250g cubed tempeh, add in 2 cups hot water and 2 teaspoons of salt) for at least 5 mins (I usually do it for longer), it’s really good for removing the bitter taste of the tempeh. Cheers!

This sounds great! How many does this feed?

Nevermind, found it!

It is delicious!! I did use only 1/4 tbs of red curry paste because I don’t like it too spicy. Thank you so much for the recipe.

5 stars
Khao Soi is amazing! I also chop pickled mustard greens for my toppings, and also do a crispy noodle on top for extra crunch.

Had this bookmarked to make for a while now. Finally made it for dinner… WOW! So incredibly tasty. I could only find sliced dried shiitake mushrooms and decided to keep them in the soup. It was a great choice. Keeping this recipe handy to make again. Thanks!

5 stars
This was delicious! Will probably make it again. Thanks for the recipe.

5 stars
Delish! Made this yesterday and it came out so well.

5 stars
We made this for dinner tonight and it turned out really good. Used the recipe as a guide, we didn’t go exactly according to plan. One thing to note, we spiralized two zucchini in place of the noodles. I would add some more heat to the dish to improve it.

This was so GOOD!! I’ve tried making several Vegan dishes the past week, and all of them were very bland; after spending a long time working on them I was not impressed. But this dish was simple to make and definitely the most flavorful meal I’ve had for awhile! Thank you so much!

Cilantro is the heart of Vietnamese food! Defiantly top with that 🙂

1 star
Parsley and maple syrup? This is wrong on so many levels.

5 stars
All I can say is Wow. Seeing this recipe brought me back to Chiang Mai. We had some good red curry paste, unfortunately no tempeh under lockdown/quarantine, and had to swap onion for shallot but came out AMAZING and between 3-4 people was gone in under 10 minutes. Looking forward to making the complete version (and doubling the recipe) in the near future. Thanks!!

[…] Full of Plant’s Tempeh Khao Soi […]

So excited to try this! What type of rice noodles do you use, and what kinds of wheat noodles would be most similar to them?

Thank you!

5 stars
So delicious! I ended up using linguine, which was perfect. Also added some kale because kale. Thank you for another great recipe.

5 stars
So delicious! Ended up using linguine which was perfect. I also threw in some kale because kale. Thank you for another great recipe!

5 stars
One of the best soup I’ve had in my life.

5 stars
Tellement bon!
Everything about this dish is excellent and surprisingly easy to make with a limited number of ingredients. Will be on rotation in my house.

5 stars
Love your blog Thomas! I finally decided to try and this it was great! I have been longing for Khao soi since I lived in Chiang Mai a couple years ago (I wasn’t plant based then), so thank you for the recipe 🙂 the only issue I had was the noodles I used, I used normal flat rice noodles but I don’t like the texture (I find them slimey) I like the vermicilli noodles but I’m not sure which would be another good gluten-free alternative? Thanks, Chris 🙂

5 stars
Delicious! I didn’t have dried shiitake or seaweed but it was a success anyway. Also, I added carrots for a bit of veggies. Everyone loved it.

Wow this recipe was sooo delicious! I didn’t have dried mushroom or seaweed so I used 1 tsp of vegan fish sauce instead. It was delicious and I can’t stop eating it!

5 stars
Super delicious!!

5 stars
Wow, this turned out to be so delicious, created a great gourmet experience for our Easter lunch. Thank you Thomas, love your work.

5 stars
I made this tonight and it was excellent. Instead of making the soup, I roasted beets, squash and broccoli and served in a bowl rice and this broth as a ‘sauce’. Fantastic!

5 stars
Found this dish really tasty and easy to make

5 stars
Looks good. I must try this recipe. Thank you Thomas!

Actually, sorry, no. For Khao Soi from Northern Thailand, it‘s closer to use YELLOW curry paste (not the red one) and add some turmeric and CURRY powder, if you don’t want to make the curry paste from scratch.

I just made it the other day. For chicken substitutes, you can use fried Tofu cut into strips, or just tofu strips, seitan or vegan mock chicken or even simply just leave it out and add only vegetables eg soy sprouts, carrots, bamboo shoots, etc, as it’s eaten as noodle soup in coconut milk broth). And it’s usually (actually always, as typical for the dish) served with fresh diced shallot, and lime wedge for its juice, and sweet-sour pickled green cabbage (I didn’t have it on hand, so I served it with pickled cucumber and artichokes in water from the glass instead). The sour ingredients and accompaniments are required to balance the fat and the richness of the coconut milk broth (and the chicken fat in the original version). The broth should taste sweet and salty on a balanced scale (so about the same amount of sugar and vegan fish sauce).

And since you already introduced the wonderful vegan fish sauce, it should be used to salt the coconut milk broth, and not the soy sauce for this dish, please. The soy sauce would alter the taste from the authentic one (been there, tried it before I found your vegan fish sauce recipe here).

Other wonderful substitutes for chicken (which is a main part of the original recipe as the dish’s name is actually Khao Soi Kai; Kai being chicken in Thai) are mushroom strips, eg oyster or king oyster mushroom, even Shitake. Tempeh changes the original taste somewhat. But why not, if it’s preferred?

And maple syrup works fine as sweetener, instead of regular sugar, and vegan fish sauce. As I don’t consume refined sugar (sucrose is not so good for the body as glucose which is readily absorbed by blood) anymore, I usually use maple syrup or honey to sweeten my food (a bit pricier than regular sugar but therefore I save by not consuming meat or fish). As maple syrup is less sweet than sugar, 1/2-1 tablespoon more of it is needed than the amount of sugar required (the way I make this dish)

And wonderful toppings to add a nice touch to the dish are roasted onion and/or roasted garlic. They add the crunchiness and an extra flavor to the dish.

The finished consistency of this dish should be more of a coconut milk broth and not a coconut cream soup which is usually achieved by adding some water if the curry gets too thick. And a bit of fresh green herbs like Koriander, why not? It’s meant to be served as a noodle-in-coconut-soup anyway. But the typical condiments for it are certainly chopped pickled green mustard, sliced/cubed shallot, and lime wedges/cubes.