Bangkok Coconut Curry Noodle Bowls

Preparing these delicious bowls for a group of ski buddies during our annual trip

I love to make noodle and rice bowls! They are relatively easy to prepare, are packed with an abundance of heart-healthy, disease-fighting herbs and vegetables, and can be made in so many different varieties to accommodate any taste!  This recipe reminds me of panang curry, one of my family’s favorite thai dishes. It has a great balance of creamy, salty, sweet, spicy, and umami (I know, that’s a lot to balance). When it comes to adding vegetables, you don’t have to stick to the recipe, simply throw in the ones you enjoy most! One vegetable that really makes this dish stand out in color, nutrition, and texture is red cabbage!

What makes red cabbage so nutritious? The phytochemicals anthocyanins and indoles give the cabbage its reddish or purple color, and are powerful antioxidants which have been associated with preventing cancer and Alzheimer’s disease as well as reducing signs of aging. Red cabbage is also rich in immune-boosting vitamin C, vitamin A which is important for eye health, and vitamin K which is important for strong bones. It’s also high in fiber and, like other cruciferous vegetables, contains the powerful disease-fighting nutrient sulforaphane (read more about sulforaphane here under the “Broccoli” section). When consumed in it’s fermented form, kimchi, red cabbage is an excellent probiotic which can contribute to the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut!

Plating the bowls on the ski trip. We added a few shrimp to some, but crispy tofu is just as delicious and keeps the meal completely plant-based!


“9 Impressive Benefits of Red Cabbage”.

“Red Cabbage, The Disease-Fighting, Gut-Healing Superfood”.


For the Coconut Curry Sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon oil (I like using sesame and/or hot chili oil to add some flavor and heat)
  • 2 shallots (in a pinch, can use 1/4 of a yellow or white onion), minced
  • 2 cloves minced garlic (can buy preminced in a jar in most produce sections if you don’t feel like doing this yourself)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced (if you don’t feel like peeling and chopping fresh ginger, you can usually purchase a tube of prechopped ginger or ginger paste in the produce section)
  • 2 tablespoons red curry paste (found in the ethnic food aisle in most grocery stores), add more to taste
  • 1 14-ounce can regular coconut milk (you can also use light, however the full fat variety makes the dish much creamier)
  • ½ cup reduced sodium veggie broth
  • 2 tablespoons sugar or honey, adjust per taste (optional, but does provide a nice sweetness to balance the salt and spice)
  • 1 tablespoon hot chili paste (sambal oelek) (can also use chili garlic paste if this is available, also found in the ethnic food aisle of most grocery stores), add more to taste
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce, add more to taste (fish sauce is optional but does add a nice “umami” flavor. If trying to keep vegan, this vegan “fish” sauce is available (disclaimer: I have not tried it). **There is also a recipe for vegan fish sauce below for adventurous cooks!)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • juice of 1/2-1 small lime

For the Bowls:

  • 4-8 ounces noodles – I’ve used a variety of different noodles including soba (buckwheat), flat rice, and udon noodles. You can also substitute rice (preferably brown or black) or flat shirataki noodles, which are a great option if you like noodles, but are trying to limit intake of calories or carbohydrates or are gluten-free
  • 1 tablespoon oil (I like sesame for flavor)
  • Half of a medium to large onion, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped broccoli florets
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 cup chopped asparagus (I prefer adding green beans, as I think they go better with the Asian flavor. I typically cut the beans in half)
  • 1 cup shredded purple cabbage
  • sesame seeds for topping (you can take 1/4 cup and toast them in a toaster oven for about a minute to bring out flavor)
  • limes for serving
  • a handful of fresh basil and/or cilantro for serving
  • Optional: Top with crispy tofu. See preparation instructions here


Noodles: Prepare noodles or rice per package instructions

Sauce: Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the shallots, garlic, and ginger; stir fry for 3-5 minutes. Add the curry paste; stir fry for 1 minute. Add the coconut milk, sugar, chili paste, fish sauce, lime juice, broth, and soy sauce. Simmer for 15 minutes or so while you prep the rest of the ingredients – it should thicken slightly.

Vegetables and Assembly: In a large skillet, heat the oil over high heat. Add the onion, carrots, broccoli, and asparagus or green beans. Stir fry for about 5 minutes until the broccoli and asparagus or green beans are bright green. Add the noodles and toss around in the pan with the vegetables. Add the sauce and toss together until just combined (if you cook it too long at this point, the noodles might get too sticky). Serve topped with the purple cabbage (I usually saute this for a couple of minutes to soften the cabbage prior to topping the bowl), sesame seeds, a squeeze of lime, and basil/cilantro if you want.

This recipe was adapted from the original version from Pinch of Yum. Find it here

**Vegetarian Fish Sauce Substitute (from Tastessence)

Estimated Time: 15 min.


  • Soy sauce, ¼ cup
  • Chinese fermented black soybeans*, 2 tablespoons
  • Miso, 1-2 tablespoons
  • Sherry, 1 teaspoon


Combine soy sauce and sherry in a bowl. Add mashed black beans to the soy sauce mixture, leave it for 10 min for the beans to soften. When ready, add Miso and mix well. Strain out solids and store in a refrigerator indefinitely, flavor intensifies over time.
* Fermented Black Soybeans can be found in Asian markets.