Spicy rice vermicelli in soup

Spicy rice vermicelli in soup

Khao pun nam jio

South East Asian Food

Khao Pun is acknowledged to be the national dish of Laos.


Quantity Ingredient
6-8 shallots
3 garlic cloves
4 large red chillies
500g belly pork in a piece
1 fresh pork hocks, (ask the butcher to saw through the bones for stock)
or 1kg pork bones
1/2 set pig’s lungs, (optional)
3 litres water
10 slices galangal
6 kaffir lime leaves
4 tablespoons country fish paste water
salt, to taste
500g fine-fleshed fish fillets
500-750g rice vermicelli, soaked in cold water until soft
1/2 green pawpaw, peeled and shredded
1 can shredded bamboo shoots
1/2 banana blossom, thinly sliced across
or 250g beansprouts
a few cabbage leaves, finely shredded
250g longbeans or stringless beans, cut into small rounds
1/2-1 bunch water spinach, cut into 2–5 cm lengths


  1. Grill the whole unpeeled shallots, garlic and chillies either on a charcoal fire or under a griller until they are seared and brown. Trim any thick lumps of fat off the belly pork. Put the pork hock or bones, belly pork and lungs in 3 litres water with shallots, garlic, chillies, galangal, lime leaves, country fish paste water and salt and bring to the boil, skimming well. Turn down the heat and simmer the stock until the broth is rich and the meat is coming off the bones.
  2. Take out the meats and cut them into 3 x 4 cm slices – including the lung if desired. Discard the bones, strain the stock into another saucepan and keep it hot. Put in fish fillets and poach until they are cooked. Remove and slice in 2 cm slices. Return meat and fish to the soup. Pour boiling water over the vermicelli. Drain it, rinse it under a cold tap, cut it into manageable lengths with scissors and place on a platter. Arrange the separate piles of pawpaw and vegetables on another platter. Make up small separate bowls of condiments to be placed on the table, for example ground dried chilli, sugar, fish sauce, soya sauce, wedges of lime, fresh chillies, coriander leaves, Asian sweet basil and chopped spring onion.
  3. To serve, put the soup into a large tureen in the middle of the table with the platters of vermicelli and vegetables next to it, and the bowls of condiments. Give each person a large soup bowl into which they put vermicelli first followed by the vegetables of their choice and then ladle meat and stock over. Diners help themselves to condiments and garnishes to taste.
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