The Washington Post


Thukpa 6.000

Rey Lopez for The Washington Post; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post

Eat Voraciously Newsletter Oct 21, 2021

“Thukpa is essentially the chicken noodle soup of Tibet,” Maneet Chauhan writes in “Chaat,” her book of recipes from markets and kitchens across India, “but with a fiery twist.” The heat comes from ginger and serrano chiles; use fewer if you’d like a milder broth. Peeling the dry skin off ginger root with a spoon preserves more of its flesh and allows you to get into the nooks, but you can also use a peeler or paring knife. Fragrant and thick with vegetables and noodles, the soup can be made without meat, too.

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Active time: 30 mins; Total time: 45 mins

Make Ahead: The tomato-ginger-chile base may be made up to 2 days in advance.

Storage Notes: Leftovers can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. The noodles will absorb much of the broth after a few days. The soup, without noodles, can be frozen for 2 months.

6 - 8

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 6-8 servings; makes 12 cups

  • 2 medium tomatoes (10 ounces total), roughly chopped
  • One (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 to 3 serrano chiles, stemmed
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or another neutral oil
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 quarts low-sodium chicken stock
  • 2 red bell peppers, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 1 large carrot (6 ounces), scrubbed and coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup (5 ounces) coarsely chopped green beans
  • 1 cup (3 ounces) shredded green cabbage
  • 6 ounces thin rice noodles or spaghettini
  • Juice of 1 large lemon (3 to 4 tablespoons)
  • Salt
  • Sliced scallions and fresh cilantro sprigs, for garnish


In a food processor, combine the tomatoes, ginger, garlic, serranos, oil and cumin seeds and process until smooth. Transfer the puree to a large, lidded heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven set over medium-high heat, add the chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until aromatic, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the stock, increase the heat to high and bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat to medium and add the bell peppers, carrot, beans and cabbage. Cover the pot halfway and simmer until the vegetables are tender and the chicken is cooked through, 20 to 25 minutes.

Add the noodles and lemon juice and simmer until the noodles are tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Taste the broth and season with salt. Using your spoon or two forks, tear the chicken up into smaller pieces, if desired.

Spoon the thukpa into bowls, garnish with scallions and cilantro and serve very hot.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from “Chaat: Recipes from the Kitchens, Markets, and Railways of India” by Maneet Chauhan and Jody Eddy (Clarkson Potter, 2020).

Tested by G. Daniela Galarza and Jim Webster.

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving (2 cups): 220

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 6g 9%

Saturated Fat: 1g 5%

Cholesterol: 47mg 16%

Sodium: 262mg 11%

Total Carbohydrates: 26g 9%

Dietary Fiber: 3g 12%

Sugar: 4g

Protein: 14g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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