If you were to ask me what Thai dish brings me back to my childhood, the one dish that comes to mind is for Kao Tom a.k.a. Thai Rice Soup. My uncle always cooked my grandmother’s recipe for Kao Tom at our family reunions. This delicious dish was always guaranteed to be every generation favourite dish. My uncle would make a ginormous pot to ensure that there was enough for everyone. He woke me and my cousins up early in the morning to help prepare ingredients and it was also a good chance for us to catch up and see how everyone going.
In general, Khao Tom is known as a healthy breakfast, using jasmine rice as a main ingredient and a budget-friendly family meal because only just a bowl of Khao Tom can keep you energised throughout the day. Having Khao Tom is not only limited to breakfast, it can also be a simple dinner after a long-exhausted day at work. Another situation that always remind me of this dish is when I was sick , rice soup turned to be my number one menu, it is nutritious, hearty, and easy to swallow even if you have a sore throat.
This speedy dish will take you less than ten minutes if you have your homemade lard ready to go. The recipe recommends using cooked rice that has been left overnight in the fridge. It is a smart way to utilise your leftover cooked jasmine rice. Anyway, let’s gather all our ingredients and start cooking!
Ingredients for 4 serves
☐Pork mince 500g (with fat)
☐ Pork Belly 100g
☐ Crushed garlic 4 cloves
☐ Chinese broccoli 1 cup - Peel Chinese broccoli stems and chop into 5mm length
☐ Firm tofu 200 g, optional
☐ Cooked Jasmine Rice 2 cups
☐ Dried Shrimp 2 tsp, optional
☐ Preserved cabbage 1 tsp, optional
☐ Thin Soy Sauce 2 tbsp
☐ Fish Sauce 2 tbsp
☐ Pepper ½ tsp
☐ Roughly chopped Spring onion and coriander for garnish
☐ Water 3 cups
☐ Peanut oil
Prepare homemade lard from pork belly
This process will take most of our cooking time as we are rendering fat from pork belly. In this process, we will get lard for cooking our rice soup and crispy garlic and pork belly to sprinkle on top of the dish.
While waiting for the homemade lard, we can prepare another crispy topping which is fried tofu.
It’s time to wrap up and get our rice soup ready. If you want to challenge yourself, set up a timer for 10 minutes. I am sure this meal will be ready to feed your family.
How to serve the Khao Tom
Sprinkle fried tofu, crispy garlic, and pork belly from the first process. These crunchy trio guarantee the deliciousness of the dish. Then sprinkle roughly chopped spring onion and corianders on top with a pinch of pepper and have it with a dash of fresh chilli in vinegar to add a bit of acidity to this dish.
You can replace pork mince with chicken mince, soft pork bones or pork roll. I love my rice soup with less water, so I didn’t add much water on my version. You can add more water to your liking. Also please remember that there is no specific rule about what crunchy element you want to top your rice soup with. My brother even uses roughly crush packaged pork crackers or crispy egg noodle and it is delicious so feel free to explore and let your creativity lead you.
From generation to generation, my grandmothers Khao Tom turned to be our family’s favourite comfort dish and has become a tradition that bonds us together as a family and always remind us of the great times we had together. It is simple, it is delicious, and it always warms your soul. Enjoy!
Parita Nobthai runs The Craft Humpy
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