Thukpa - Tibetan Noodle Soup - My Soul Food

Updated with new pic on 03/10/2015

Preoccupied posted a picture of Thukpa , that she had in a Tibetan Cafe on her FB page and since then I am craving to have one.

Thukpa is a Tibetan noodle soup, that was introduced to me when I was 10 and residing in Siliguri, a small but booming town on the banks of the Mahananda River and the foothills of the Himalayas. Due to its close proximity to Darjeeling and Gangtok, there is a strong Nepalese and Tibetan influence in the the culture of Siliguri, especially when it comes to street food. Thukpa (Noodle Soup) and Momo (Dim-sum, steamed or fried) are the two most famous Tibetan food that you get across India.

Thukpas are generally meat based but you get vegetarian version as well. Its a a light soup with load of fresh vegetables and tons of flavor. It can be made spicy or mild as per your taste. Its a wholesome and very heartwarming - a true comfort food. I call it Soul Food, because it soothes me from inside and enriches me.

You can use any vegetables for this soup. I used carrots, green beans, cabbage, broccoli, red bell peppers, mushrooms and spinach. Its usually made with either egg noodles or rice noodles, but I'll make it with whole wheat thin spaghetti, because that's the only thing have in hand. This is fairly simple recipe, but requires a little prep work.

Recipe Snapshot: Thukpa - Tibetan Noodle Soup
Serves: 3 serving

Serves: 4 serving
(1 serving = 1 cup)

What I used:
Chicken Thighs - 2 portions, cut into bite size pieces
Whole Wheat Thin Spaghetti - 1/2 lb
Chicken Stock - 2 lb carton
Carrots - ¼ cup, julienned
Green Beans - ¼ cup, julienned
Cabbage - ¼ cup, julienned
Red Bell Pepper - ¼ cup julienned
Mushrooms - ¼ cup, sliced
Broccoli - ¼ cup
Baby Spinach - a handful
Tomatoes - 1, chopped
Onion - 1 medium sliced
Ginger - 1 tsp minced
Garlic - 1 tsp minced
Cumin Powder - ½ tsp
Lemon Juice - Juice of 1 lemon
Coriander Leaves for garnish
Freshly Cracked Pepper

Prep Work:
1. Cook the spaghetti a little shy of al dente. 

2. Chop the carrots, green beans, cabbage and red bell pepper in to thin juliennes. 

3. Slice the mushrooms and onions and mince the ginger and garlic.

4. I used frozen broccoli. Hence I thawed it in the microwave for 3 minute in salted water.

5. Chop two chicken thighs into bite size pieces.

What I did:
1. In a deep bottomed pan, heat oil and add the onions and saute till translucent.

2. Add the minces ginger and garlic and fry till the raw smell of garlic is gone.

3.Add the chicken pieces and fry till the chicken pieces are opaque.

4. Add the chopped tomatoes, cumin powder, salt and black pepper. Cook till the chicken is done. (If possible, use crushed Szechuan  peppercorn, its more authentic. I would have loved to add a tsp of chili paste or Sambal Oelek at this point, but since Lil Sid will have this too, I avoided it. Please add a teaspoon of any chili paste you fancy, if you love your Thukpa spicy hot!)

5. Add the mushroom and fry till the mushroom looses its raw flavor.

6. Add all the veggies except broccoli and spinach. If using fresh broccoli, you can add them at this point.

7. Once the veggies are well sauteed, add the chicken. I used an entire carton of a 2 lb low sodium and low fat chicken stock. Let it come to a boil.

8. Now add the broccoli and spinach and cook for a minute.

9. Add the little under-cooked spaghetti and let it cook for a minute. Check and adjust the seasonings.

10. Remove from flame and add juice of a lemon and a handful of fresh cilantro/ coriander leaves.

11. Serve and enjoy!

UPDATE as on 03/10/2015: Today I made this wonderful Thukpa again but with some modifications. Lets just call it the Cheater's version.

Firstly, I used store bought shredded Rotisserie chicken.
Secondly, I used Frozen Veggies. 
Thirdly, I used Macaroni instead of egg noodles.

Since I was eating alone I added heaped spoonful of chili-garlic paste, while sauteing the veggies. It was divine. 

Since Little Sid is also going to have this, I have kept the Thukpa pretty mild. To spice it up for me and Sam, I'll serve it will green chilies-in-vinegar, soy sauce, chili-garlic sauce.

Updated with new pic on 03/10/2015

Diabetic Platter:
Thukpa is a wholesome and nutritious soup. It has loads of veggies and lean protein in the form of chicken. The whole wheat spaghetti boosts up the fiber and complex carb quotient. It is cooked in little oil. A perfect lunch and dinner option.


  1. While you were haunted by Tibetan Thukpa, I am salivating at the pictures and secretly envious of you. This looks so good, P. I have to make it soon. Though I want to use momos for mine.

    1. Even I wanted momos.. after seeing your pic... but thin spaghetti is all that I had in hand. But will make with momos soon...

  2. That looks delicious. Would surely try this.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Thank you Mekhola...there are more coming up!!! You take care too...

  4. I love thukpas...lovely photo and blog!

  5. Thank you Indrani... your blogs are beautiful...and "Whats Cooking" is simply stunning... What pics... tips dao...

  6. At this moment I am going to do my breakfast, later than
    having my breakfast coming yet again to read other news.

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  7. chowringhee satya niketan
    Nice explanation so comforting and delicious!thanks for sharing….

  8. It is easy to prepare and needs very little cooking time. Yam noodles are packaged in water. You need to only rinse the noodles and boil for a couple of minutes, drain, and rinse and add to any dish in its final stages.Japanese Food Toronto


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