Red Curry Rice Noodles with Chicken
Red Curry Rice Noodles with Chicken features a flavorful red curry sauce tossed with rice noodles and shredded chicken, garnished with green onions. This meal is naturally gluten free!
Throughout my lifetime, I have consistently had a hard time at restaurants with my nut allergy. Whether due to my own ignorance or to a language barrier, I have accidentally ingested nuts at an American pub, at an Indian restaurant, at an authentic Mexican restaurant, at home with Chinese take out, and even at a conference in Italy! Several of these incidences have resulted in my ending up in the ER getting injections of epinephrine and Benadryl, sometimes steroids.
This was most frightening in Italy on a work trip when neither my boss nor I spoke the language and found ourselves at a very rural clinic where none of the nurses or doctors spoke English. Only equipped with a small English to Italian dictionary, we had to explain that this naive American tourist mistakenly thought the pesto pasta was broccoli Alfredo (I will take this opportunity to blame my mom for making so much Pasta-Roni when I was a child, some of which was broccoli Alfredo! 🙂 )
The most difficult restaurants for me are usually Asian restaurants, which authentic cuisine often features peanuts. Even when I am assured a dish does not contain nuts, cross contamination has been a problem. Whether a skillet with a peanut sauce has not been properly washed between entree preparations or a stray nut ends up on my plate, eating food that I do not prepare myself will never be completely risk free.
When I started eating gluten free due to a food intolerance, take out became even more problematic. Even if I order something that shouldn’t technically contain gluten, gluten is hidden in a lot of ingredients. Did you know most soy sauce has gluten?! I certainly did not until I began this journey 18 months ago. That’s not even counting all of the possible cross contamination events.
Asian food is one of my favorite styles of cooking. I love so many Chinese, Thai, and Indian dishes, but with the combination of needing to avoid both nuts and gluten, most Asian food from restaurants is out of the question for me now. I have had to start making more of these meals at home, and this is one of the recipes I’ve developed that I make over and over.
Bob and I love this dinner, the girls not so much. So sometimes I’ll change our rules of 1 dinner for everyone and make them some kid-friendly meal while I make this for just Bob and me.
Red Curry Paste
I found a recipe on a jar of red curry paste for a shrimp dish, and I used some of the ingredients from the sauce to make this a chicken dish. I added rice noodles because we love using them in pad thai. It is naturally gluten free, but it’s something I would have made for us even before I was gluten free. In fact, I’ve been making this for a while now, so I may have even started making it before I was gluten free?!
While I think there is plenty of spice from the red curry paste, Bob likes to add Sriracha sauce to give it even more of a kick. That’s the nice thing about Sriracha. You can serve it for those who want more heat without making the entire dish too spicy for some palates. Alternatively, you can add more of the red curry paste to bump up the heat.
Soaking the Rice Noodles
You can follow the instructions on your package of rice noodles, but I like to soak them in hot water while I make the chicken. This is a little trick I learned from making Simplified Chicken Pad Thai from The Best 30-Minute Recipe cookbook. To reduce the time it takes to get dinner on the table, you do as many steps in parallel as possible.
Cooking the Chicken
I like to use a similar method outlined in the Chicken Street Tacos – Costco Copycat post. I use chicken thighs rather than breasts because they are more forgiving and don’t dry out nearly as easily. You can use any kind of chicken you prefer. You can even leave out the chicken or substitute any form of protein: shrimp, pork, beef, tofu, etc.
First I add the oil to a skillet and turn it up high. Then I season the chicken generously with salt and pepper, and add it to the hot skillet. Leave the chicken in place until it is nice and brown; that’s the flavor right there. Flip and brown on the other side, then transfer the chicken to a baking sheet to finish in the oven. I always line my baking sheets with aluminum foil to minimize clean up.
The reason I like to cook chicken this way is 3 fold:
1) It allows you to nicely brown the outside of the chicken for flavor development. If you were planning to cook the chicken through, the high heat may burn the outside while leaving the inside undercooked.
2) It minimizes the time you’re actively working on the chicken so that you can proceed to the next step of the recipe. In the same vein as soaking the noodles, this cuts down on the total time the recipe takes. I don’t know about you, but quick weeknight meals are a major bonus for us!
3) It allows this recipe to be a semi-One Pot Wonder. In moving the chicken to a baking sheet, you can make the sauce in the same skillet you used to brown the chicken. This avoids dirtying another pan. You could argue that you’re just dirtying a pan and a baking sheet, but since I use aluminum foil for the baking sheet, there’s no mess to clean up there!
Side Note: Whenever I use the term 3-fold, I think of the Friends episode when Chandler explains the purpose of “the box.”
Canned Coconut Milk
I use light coconut milk, but regular would work too. Canned coconut milk separates as it sits on the shelf, so you’ll need to mix it up after you open it. I like to use a small wire whisk to do this, but a fork or spoon should work.
Bringing Together the Red Curry Noodles with Chicken
After all your components are prepped and you’ve made the red curry sauce in the skillet, it’s just a matter of adding everything to the skillet. The rice noodles go in first so they can soften in the sauce, then the chicken, and finally the green onions. You can stir them in, add them on top, or both.
What you end up with is a dinner that is just as good as take out that comes together relatively quickly and minimizes dishes to be washed. That’s a win in my book!
Gluten Free Red Curry Rice Noodles with Chicken
This dish is naturally gluten free, but please check your packaging as with any food allergy or intolerance. It is also dairy free and egg free. It can be made vegan/vegetarian by leaving out the chicken or adding a plant-based protein.
Looking for more Asian recipes?
Check out my favorites to make at home:
Homemade P. F. Chang’s Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Honey Chicken Kabobs
Simplified Chicken Pad Thai
Coconut Curry Chicken
Chicken Fried Rice (soy free)
Skinny Orange Chicken
Garlic Chicken with Rice or Rice Noodles
- 8 ounces rice noodles
- 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil or olive oil (not extra virgin)
- 2 pounds chicken thighs
- salt and pepper
- 1 can light coconut milk (14 ounces)
- 2 tablespoons red curry paste
- 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar, packed
- salt and pepper (to taste)
- green onions (thinly sliced)
- Sriracha sauce (optional)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil.
- Add the rice noodles to a bowl and cover with very hot water. Set aside to soak.
- Heat oil in a skillet over high heat. Season chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. Add the chicken to the skillet and cook until chicken browns on one side. Flip chicken and repeat on the other side. Remove chicken to sheet pan and place in the oven. Bake until chicken is cooked through and reaches an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees F, preferably 180 degrees F, about 20 minutes.
- When chicken is cooked through, remove from oven and transfer to a plate to rest. Shred with two forks.
- Meanwhile, in the same skillet in which the chicken was browned, use a paper towel to remove excess grease. Add 1 can coconut milk to the skillet over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer. Add the red curry paste and brown sugar, stir, and reduce heat to a low simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Drain softened noodles and add them to the skillet. They will still be slightly stiff and need a few minutes to cook. Stir the noodles into the sauce and continue to cook until the noodles soften. Add a little of the water the noodles were soaking in (or fresh water) if the sauce reduces too much and starts to get dry.
- When the noodles are soft, adjust the salt to taste and stir in the shredded chicken. Top with sliced green onions and serve immediately. Offer Sriracha sauce for added spice if desired.