Cooking a favourite Lao dish — Khao Poon

Khao Poon is a nutritious noodle soup, much loved by many Lao, who often prepare it for family celebrations. We have given the tasty dish a vegetarian spin, and have added loads of greens. Try it at home with our step by step recipe. The World Food Programme’s Nutritionist in Laos, Khan is a pro at cooking delicious Khao Poon and she will show us how. Let’s cook!

WFP’s Nutritionist is ready to help us to cook! Photo: WFP/Ildiko Hamos

1: Soak yellow split peas in water for two hours, steam them and pound them in the mortar, into a powder. Wash and finely chop any type of mushroom, according to your liking.

2: Slice galangal into fine rounds, boil with cubed taro, sweet potato, pumpkin and kaffir lime leaves in water with salt. This will be the soup base.

3: Pound shallots and garlic in the mortar, set aside into a dish. Pound dried chilies into a paste, set aside.

4: Finely chop vegetables and leaves of your liking. We have used cabbage, long beans, morning glory and banana flowers. We also used mung bean sprouts in whole. All these will be used raw, as condiments. We have also used finely chopped boiled young bamboo shoots.

5: In a wok, boil coconut milk until the oil separates from the liquid. Put the onion-garlic paste and the chili paste into the coconut milk, and fry it together. Add kaffir lime leaves and soy bean paste, continue frying. Set aside.

6: Fry the chopped mushrooms in the wok, then add the split pea powder, fry together. Set aside.

7: When the vegetables in the soup are soft, add the coconut milk and chili mixture into the soup, then the split pea and mushroom mix. Take the soup off the fire.

To eat, first put thin rice noodles into your bowl, add the chopped fresh vegetables, ladle the soup on top and add sprinkle with finely chopped herbs such as coriander leaves, Siamese green basil, long coriander and mint leaves. A squeeze of lime and additional fresh chilies can be added.

Enjoy your meal! From Khan and the WFP Laos team.

All photos: WFP/Ildiko Hamos

Written by Ildiko Hamossohlo

Read more about WFP’s work in Laos.

Fighting hunger from Afghanistan to Fiji. Regional office based in Bangkok.

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