Spicy vegan noodle soup with mushrooms (Nepali thukpa)

I just ate another bowl of this delicious spicy noodle soup. Is there anything better with this kind of crispy winter weather? And I can't eat this heavenly veggie and dumpling soup every day, or can I? So when I craved something spicy, I decided to make this wonderful dish. This soup is known as thukpa in Nepal. Since I'm going there in March, I started researching Nepalese food and thukpa was one of the main things.

Thukpa has so many different versions, but the main things are usually the same: oil, garlic, spices, noodles, veggies and fresh herbs. I made my own version and we loved it! It's a little spicy (but not too much) and it has veggies, mushrooms and a bunch of garlic and herbs. The best part is that you don't need any kind of store-bought broth. Because when you cook spices, onion and garlic in oil and then simmer them with veggies and mushrooms, you will have a wonderful natural broth. Just add enough salt and there will be a ton of taste!

Thukpa usually has cabbage or spinach in it, so I decided to go with spinach this time. Actually, this recipe is pretty universal. You can always add green peas or other legumes. You can also swap or add some veggies. Bell pepper is often used in this, but I'm not a fan of it. I do love fresh cilantro and I used a load of it. If you're not feeling the cilantro, you can replace it with fresh parsley. You can also leave out the mushrooms, if you want. But if possible, I strongly recommend to stick to the recipe, because it's worth it.

When I make soups, I usually boil everything in the same pot. But with thukpa, you need to boil the noodles ahead and add them in the end. That way the broth will not be starchy and mushy. I used rice noodles but you can use any kind of noodles. The soup will be nicely thick and hearty, too. I recommend to chop the veggies and boil the water before you start making the soup. It will be much easier that way. Happy cooking and slurping!

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Serves: 4 - 5 people

  • 6 oz / 170 g uncooked noodles (I used rice noodles)
  • 4 Tbsp oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic + 1 clove for later, chopped
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp chili powder
  • 1 heaping Tbsp chopped ginger
  • 1 large onion, cut into 4 and sliced
  • 1 large carrot, cut into strips (2 cups / 150 g)
  • 2 cups / 150 g mushrooms, cut into strips
  • 1 tsp salt + 1 tsp to add later
  • 6 cups / 1400 ml boiling water
  • 4 large handfuls of fresh spinach
  • fresh cilantro
  • green onions


Boil the noodles al dente. It will take a few minutes. Drain and rinse carefully with cold water. Add a tiny bit of oil, mix and set the noodles aside.

Heat up a thick-bottomed pot. Add oil and thinly chopped garlic. Cook for 20 - 30 seconds. Add spices and cook for another 20 - 30 seconds. Add ginger, onion, carrot, mushrooms and one teaspoon of salt. Mix and cook for a minute. Add boiling water. Cover the pot with a lid and let it boil for 10 minutes. The carrots should be soft now. Add spinach leaves, chopped cilantro and green onions, noodles and another teaspoon of salt. Mix, let it boil for half a minute and remove the heat.