Nepali noodle vegetable meat soup — Thukpa

Main ingredients: This dish has multiple main ingredients (rice noodles, vegetables, meats), rather than one or two main ingredients.  We recommend for this dish’s ingredients information that you visit our Ingredients & Nutrients page, to learn more about the health-related aspects of the dish’s individual ingredients.

Background to where the dish recipe was learned:

Thukpa, Nepali noodle soup is fiery and flavoursome and particularly good for your health in terms of warming effects in cold regions and weather, and for perspiration in hot ones and weather. A popular dish in Nepal I had first as a child and have seen the different versions prepared in locations across Nepal, but due to its history, very famous in the higher Himalaya bordering Tibet. Thukpa is a traditional part of the Nepali food range, and we believe it existed in ancient times and came to our land from eastern part of Tibet (it is better known in English as ‘Tibetan Noodle Soup’). Since coming to the UK I have tried Chinese noodle soup which has many similarities to Thukpa, but slightly different on flavour and some seasoning ingredients. 

Quantity: Serves four people for one occasion.

Time taken on creating dish: to prepare and cook takes about an hour, with cooking stage about 15 – 20 minutes.


  • Spatula or wooden spoon for stirring
  • Two big pans
  • Chopping board
  • Bowl for serving
  • Knives for chopping ingredients


  • ¾ of a kilo of rice noodles
  • ½ a pound of fine, thin slices of grilled chicken breast (exclude for vegetarian version)
  • A tablespoon of oil
  • About 5 cups of cooked chicken broth (exclude for vegetarian version)
  • A red bell pepper cut into medium-sized pieces
  • One large carrot cut into small slices
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • A tablespoon of chopped cilantro, to garnish

Ingredients for Soup Paste:

  • Two cloves of finely chopped garlic
  • About 1cm x 1,5cm of fresh finely chopped ginger
  • 2 fresh red birds eye chilis (or more if desired)
  • 3 chopped tomatoes (reduced to pulp)
  • A tablespoon of fresh chopped cilantro
  • A teaspoon of slightly toasted cumin seed
  • ½ a teaspoon of turmeric
  • ½ a teaspoon of Szechuan red pepper (known as Timmur)
  • A trace (a 15th of a teaspoon) of Asafoetida (Hing) powder
  • A tablespoon of juice from a freshly squeezed lime


You boil half a litre of water and add the rice noodles.  You then use an electric blender or pestle and mortar to combine the ingredients until a moderately thick paste is formed; put this aside in a bowl. Once the rice noodles are soft take off the heat and drain the water, running the noodles through cold water.

Add oil to into the saucepan, heat this and gently swirl so base and sides are covered.  Next you add the paste and heat on high temperature for half to one minute to get the mixture frying slightly then set to a low heat; after this you add the chicken broth and simmer/cook and bring back to the boil mixing thoroughly, and season with salt and black pepper. 

Next you add vegetables, cooking until tender, and then incorporate the rice noodles.  You can add more water, if preferred, and add further seasoning of salt and pepper. You pour the completed dish into a large bowl; include the grilled chicken slices for the meat version of Thukpa.  You can add more fresh chopped chili and chili seeds for extra heat if you wish.


  • Tomato spicy achar
  • Chili pickle
  • You can also add chili seeds and use Chinese chili oil

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