Friday, May 5, 2017

Khao Poon Gai

Whole 30 Paleo Compliant Lao Khao Poon

Khao Poon Gai is a Lao curry noodle dish. It's fragrant, spicy, and so satisfying. The creamy coconut milk makes the broth silky smooth, the red curry paste gives it a aromatic kick. Traditionally this is serve with rice vermicelli noodles and there is bamboo in it. I'm doing a Whole 30 this month, and my family doesn't like bamboo, so there you go.  If you prefer rice noodles or veggie noodles I hope you'll try this soup. It's so good.

Lao Khao Poon ingredients.
The ingredients for this soup aren't really that hard to find. I keep ginger, galangal, kaffir leaves, and lemon grass in my freezer. I also keep curry paste either in my freezer or in my pantry. Thai kitchen has a good red curry paste. I do have a kaffir lime leaf plant, it's doing fairly well but I have a freezer stock. The ghee is not traditional, any cooking oil you use will work.
Use a mortar and pestle to pound the chicken or shred it by hand.
The chicken for this dish can be hand shredded small or even left in bigger hand shredded pieces. Traditionally it is pounded in a mortar and pestle. A stand mixer works well also. Do what works best for you.
Veggie noodles, zoodles, zucchini noodles, yellow squash noodles. Whatever you want to call them.
My husband and oldest daughter like this better with the veggie noodles, I make those with a spiralizer using zucchini and yellow summer squash. I like a mixture of the vegetable noodles and the rice vermicelli. The quail eggs are optional but my oldest girl and I love them. I also like this with pork blood cake but didn't have any on hand and I'm not even sure if it's Whole 30 compliant. I should find out. I can't see how it couldn't be, unless there's sugar in it.


Like I said before I hope you'll try this soup. I love the flavors from Laos and I think more people should try Lao foods!

Yellow Curry Noodle bowl
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Khao Poon Gai

1 tablespoon ghee, or other cooking oil
2 inch piece galangal
3 inch piece ginger, peeled
1 stalk lemongrass, tough outer leaves removed
4-5 kaffir lime leaves
1 shallot, minced or 0.5 tablespoon freeze dried shallot
1 chicken, cut into pieces
6-8 cups stock, or water
2 chopped tomatoes
1 can coconut milk
1/4 cup red curry paste, more or less depending on taste
Salt or Nam Pla (Fish Sauce) to taste
*Thai chili powder an be added for more spice
Optional:
Sliced bamboo shoots
Hard boiled quail eggs
Pork blood cake

Noodles:
Rice vermicelli noodles, cooked
Zucchini and or yellow summer squash noodles

Garnish:
Cilantro leaves chopped
Scallions, chopped
Holy basil leaves
Thinly sliced purple cabbage
Bean Sprouts
Lime wedges
Thinly sliced jalapenos
Sliced Thai bird chilies
Thai chili powder


Instant Pot method

  1. On SAUTE mode melt the ghee and add the galangal, ginger, lemongrass, and shallot until fragrant.
  2. Add chicken, tomatoes, and enough stock to cover the chicken. Reserve the rest of the stock.
  3. Cancel the saute mode on the Instant Pot and press the MANUAL button on HIGH for 12 minutes.
  4. While the chicken is cooking put the solid part of the coconut milk (or the whole can if it is already shaken and combined) into a small sauce pan. 
  5. Heat the coconut milk and add the curry paste until boiling.
  6. Remove the curry paste from heat and set aside.
  7. Once the Instant Pot is done let the pot naturally release pressure for 15 minutes, then slowly let the remaining pressure out.
  8. Remove the chicken meat from the bones, save the bones for more chicken stock later, discard the skin.
  9. Shred the chicken into pieces and pound the chicken with a mortar and pestle, a stand mixer works also (optional).
  10. Add chicken and curry paste mixture to the Instant Pot, adding remaining stock. (Add bamboo shoot and pork blood cake if desired.)
  11. Heat the stock on SAUTE mode, or use the MANUAL setting for 1-2 minutes on HIGH.
  12. Prepare garnishes while the stock is cooking. (Add quail eggs after stock is finished to heat through.)
  13. To serve add noodles to each bowl, ladle with stock and garnish. 

Stove Top method

  1. In a stock pot on medium heat melt the ghee and add the galangal, ginger, lemongrass, and shallot until fragrant.
  2. Add stock and bring to a boil.
  3. Add chicken and tomatoes, simmer until chicken is cooked through.
  4. While the chicken is cooking put the solid part of the coconut milk (or the whole can if it is already shaken and combined) into a small sauce pan. 
  5. Heat the coconut milk and add the curry paste until boiling.
  6. Remove the curry paste from heat and set aside.
  7. Remove the chicken from the stock pot, and remove the meat from the bones, save the bones for more chicken stock later, discard the skin.
  8. Shred the chicken into pieces and pound the chicken with a mortar and pestle, a stand mixer works also (optional).
  9. Add chicken and curry paste mixture to the pot and simmer. (Add bamboo shoot and pork blood cake if desired.)
  10. Prepare garnishes while the stock is cooking. (Add quail eggs after stock is finished to heat through.)
  11. To serve add noodles to each bowl, ladle with stock and garnish. 
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