Thai Coconut Chicken Noodles AKA Hairs

Picture this- 8 girls, one kitchen and 6 months in Florence Italy.

It sounds like the start to a great sit com right? It pretty much was.

Italy was undoubtedly one of the best experiences of my life, and the food being a major reason for that. Endless fresh pasta, pizza, wine and gelato while roaming through the streets of Florence with some of my best friends? I am so grateful and stupid lucky.   

What I didn’t expect however, was to come back with a new favorite Thai recipe that remains an all time favorite.

No matter how much you love cheese and carbs, and trust me, I am a HUGE fan, you eventually hit a point where you’re craving something with totally different flavor. One day, after much deliberation over what type of food we all were craving most, one of my house mates Paige found this phenomenal recipe and the rest is history. Fortunately we lived down the street from a little ethnic grocery store, something that’s not very common in Italy, and would go there to get our peanut butter fixes. You would have though we’d struck gold when we found that they sold red curry paste and coconut milk, meaning this coconut curry chicken noodle soup was going to become a reality. We definitely got judging looks from the surrounding italian shoppers as we shrieked but we had gotten use to that.

Back in our apartment kitchen we quickly realized we didn’t have a can opener! But,  thanks to a youtube tutorial and a lot of persistence, discovered you can open canned products using a metal spoon and a lot of friction. Lots of laughter and mess later we had coconut milk cans opened and were on our way’s to satisfying the thai food craving that had paralyzed us for weeks. I still remember how amazing that first spoonful tasted, without a doubt due my taste buds having been exposed to nothing spicy or coconutty in months.

Here’s a few fun photo’s of Italy & the food- just because! Thanks for letting me go down memory lane…

View of Florence from Michelangelo look out
Gondola ride in Venice
Sunset over the Arno- most likely while eating pizza
Florence Crew
Most incredible seafood dinner in Positano
Cannoli heaven- there were constantly sweet fairs right near our apartment
Lasagna, Caprese & Bread. The 3 staples of Florence

Thanks to how the cooked rice noodles look, this dish lovingly became referred to as hairs and long after Florence the nick name has stuck. It’s much more of a noodle dish than a true soup, as the rice noodles soak up so much of the broth, but it makes them extra flavorful.  It’s also been improved on a bit in all the times it’s been made since that chilly Spring and wins best leftovers award from someone who doesn’t like leftovers 

So here’s the most recent version of the recipe, with all my favorite additions!  Scroll to the bottom for the ingredient list and step by step instructions.


Whisk together the coconut milk, red curry paste, chicken broth, sesame oil and fish sauce over medium heat! Add spices to taste as it simmers.


Once the base has simmered for 10 minutes, add the red peppers, shredded chicken and rice noodles.

Stir together and bring to a low simmer for 8 minutes- allowing rice noodles to cook fully.

Don’t forget to sauté the bok choy in a seperate pan the last 5 minutes the noodles cook!

Spoil yourself! Top with bok choy, green onions, cilantro, a dab of chili garlic sauce and some peanuts!  DIG IN!   

Let me know what you thought of this recipe, if you give it a try and if you have any favorite food/travel memories!! Any other Italy lovers out there?


Print Recipe
Thai Chicken Coconut Noodles
A warm and cozy thai noodle soup dish that leaves you wanting more! A simple dish with tons of flavor and the ability to top it with whatever you like. Guaranteed to make lunch this week way better too as it makes the best leftovers. Say goodbye to sad desk lunches when you have this noodle goodness!
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Thai
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Thai
  1. Poaching Chicken: Season 2 medium/large chicken breasts with salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste.
  2. Cook chicken in chicken stock and water over medium heat covering with a lid. Cook for 8-10 minutes.
  3. Chicken should be easy to pull apart at this point remove from broth, shred and put aside. Save the leftover broth for the curry soup base.
  4. Soup/Noodles: Bring a large pot to a medium-high heat. Add the curry paste with 1/4 cup coconut milk; whisk until smooth. Add the rest of the coconut milk, chicken stock, sesame oil, chili garlic sauce and fish sauce. Stir until combined.
  5. Add the shredded chicken and sliced red bell pepper.
  6. Add cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper to taste. Taste often because the coconut milk makes it so you have to add a lot more Thai curry paste/spices than you think. Let that simmer for about 10 minutes.
  7. Last 5 mins of broth simmering- pan sautee the baby bok choy in olive oil baby bok choy with garlic, onion a dash of soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic chilli sauce and 1/4 cup chicken broth.
  8. Let it cook down 5 mins or so. It cooks down significantly so use a lot if you like it. Put bok choy aside (don’t put it in soup pot because it makes everything taste like bok choy- leave it as a topper).
  9. Add rice noodles into the soup and leave on a low simmer for about 8 minutes.
  10. Serve: Top with sautéed bok choy, green onions, jalapeno or chili garlic sauce, cilantro and peanuts.
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    1. Definitely! I think any leafy green like kale, spinach, collards would work great. Plus spinach would probably take less time to cook and definitely less liquid. 🙂 Let me know how it is!

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