Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Khao Bune Ba - Festive Fish Curry Noodle Soup

The host of a Lao gathering who calls for a celebration like a birthdays, weddings, new years and Christmas will serve khao bune soup. Khao Bune soup is traditionally made with either fish or pork and I've given you the fish recipe.

If you are serving this soup to Thai or Lao guests they will help themselves so serve the garnish, herbs and sauce in a baffet style. Any left over shredded banana blossoms, shredded red cabbage, Thai basil, and Vermicelli noodle bundles may be rolled into making spring rolls made with rice paper.

For non Thai and Lao guests, I recommend having the individual bowls ready with noodles, garnish and herb. When everyone is at the dinner table, pour the broth into the bowls, add squeezed lime juice and fish sauce. Let the guests mix the soup.

Soup Recipe: Khao Bune Fish Broth
2 lbs grouper or any fresh water white fish like cat fish
2 litres cold water
1 inch galangal
3 kaffir lime leaf
2 inches lemongrass
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
2 tablespoons oil
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons Thai Lao Curry Paste
1 to 1 1/2 cups fresh coconut milk

Side Garnish, Herbs, and Sauce:
Vermicelli noodle bundles
Shredded red cabbage
Shredded long beans
Shredded banana blossoms
Bean sprouts
Chopped green onions and cilantro
Thai basil
Lime wedges
Dried chili flakes
Fish sauce

Making Khao Bune broth: In a pot over high heat, add water, fish, galangal, kaffir lime leaf, lemongrass, and salt. Bring to boil and cook 20 minutes. Remove foam that rises to top. Remove fish from broth and save the broth reduce heat to medium. Once fish cools, remove the bones and skin. Mince the fish meat by using a food processor, mortar pestle, or just a fork.

In a wok over high heat, add oil and garlic. Crisp the garlic before adding chopped tomatoes. Stir fry for 2 minutes. Add minced fish and stir fry for 2 minutes. Add Thai Lao Curry Paste and stir fry for 2 minutes. Add fresh coconut milk and stir fry for 2 minutes.

Add fish coconut curry into reserved fish broth. Bring the heat to maximum when ready to pour red curry fish broth to khao bune noodle serving bowls.

Making Khao Bune soup individual bowls: In a large serving bowl, add 2 vermicelli noodle bundles. Add small handfuls of garnish and herbs. Boil khao bune broth and ladle about 2 cups into bowl or until it just covers the noodles. Add 3 tablespoons fish sauce, 1 tablespoon squeezed lime juice, and 1 teaspoon dried chilies. Mix and enjoy.