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Laotian Khao Poon

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Level: Easy

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Description

A coconut curry broth littered with shredded chicken, with added texture from thinly sliced cabbage and sprouts.

Ingredients

  • 3 whole Chicken Breasts, Skin On, Bone In
  • 1 gallon Water, Or Enough To Cover The Chicken
  • 2 stalks Lemongrass, Slightly Smashed (optional)
  • 1 Tablespoon Canola Oil
  • ½ cups Shallots, Minced
  • 6 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 3 Tablespoons Fresh Galangal, Skin Removed, Thinly Sliced
  • 4 ounces, weight Canned Red Curry Paste
  • 4 ounces, weight Canned Sweet Thai Noodle Paste
  • 14 ounces, fluid Canned Coconut Milk
  • 1 cup Banana Blossom, Very Thinly Sliced, Optional
  • 3 cups Bamboo Shoots, Roughly Chopped
  • 4 Tablespoons Fish Sauce
  • 12 bunches Khao Poon Rice Noodles, Cooked Al Dente, Or 2 Cups Per Serving
  • 6 cups Bean Sprouts, Or 1 Cup Per Serving
  • 6 cups Shredded Green Cabbage, Or 1 Cup Per Serving
  • 1 whole Lime, Cut Into Wedges
  • 6 whole Thai Bird Chilis, Or 1 For Each Bowl (optional)
  • 1 bunch Fresh Cilantro

Preparation

Add chicken to a stock pot and cover entirely with cold water. Add lemongrass if you are using it. Bring this to a boil, then reduce heat to medium. Skim off any scum that floats to the top and discard. Continue cooking for about 45 minutes. This will not only be the chicken that we let cool, shred, and pound a bit, but what is left will be the stock used for the soup. Win, win.

Once chicken is cooked, remove it from the stock and let it completely cool. Once cooled, remove and discard skin, and then start shredding. Once chicken is shredded, take about half of it and add it to a mortar. Take the pestle and begin pounding the chicken. A few good moments of pounding is all you should need.

Heat a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add oil and let it come to temperature. Toss in shallots, garlic, and thinly sliced galangal. Let this cook for a minute or so, then add both curry pastes. Stir, and don’t be alarmed if this stuff starts popping at you.

Cook the paste, stirring along the way, for about 2–3 minutes. Then add in all the chicken. Give this another good stir, incorporating all of the paste into the chicken. Add coconut milk. Stir again, and then pour all of this into the chicken stock. Stir well, bring stock back onto medium heat, and let it come to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat by half then add banana blossom, bamboo shoots, and fish sauce. Stir and cook for about 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the noodles. Cook noodles for about 8 minutes, then strain and rinse in cold water. Once water is strained and noodles are cooled, take a handful and wind up into bundles. Repeat until all noodles are in nice bundles.

Have cabbage, limes, chilies, and herbs ready. Raise the heat on the soup and bring back to a boil. Take a couple of bundles of noodles, or just one, and place in the bottom of a large soup bowl.

Add some bean sprouts and cabbage, and give a good squeeze of lime. Ladle in a generous amount of khao poon, and top with cilantro and bird’s eye chili. Get your spoon and chopsticks ready! Face down, grab some noodles, slurp, and repeat. It’s all about texture (and flavor) in this bite. You get the crunch of the cabbage and sprouts, the tenderness of the chicken, and my gosh that coconut curry flavor!

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