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Ginger, lemon grass and lime transform a simple soup
Milk Street Bowtie Thai Rice Soup (Khao Tom)

Thai Rice Soup (Khao Tom)

35 minutes

Free

Savory pork meatballs and jasmine rice give this Thai soup heft, but its aromatic broth—made with plenty of shallots, garlic, lemon grass and ginger—has excellent flavor on its own. The soup is a sort of blank canvas for garnishes; the recipe calls for our favorites, but feel free to offer only those that appeal to you. The fried shallots, however, are a must.

8 ounces ground pork
3 tablespoons fish sauce, divided, plus extra to serve
2 tablespoons chili-garlic sauce, divided, plus extra to serve
1 3/4 teaspoons ground white pepper
3 tablespoons lard or refined coconut oil
5 large shallots, peeled, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced (2 cups)
8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3 lemon grass stalks, trimmed to bottom 6 inches, dry outer leaves removed, smashed
2 tablespoons finely grated fresh ginger
2 1/2 quarts low-sodium chicken broth
4 cups cooked and chilled jasmine rice
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons lime juice (2 to 3 limes), plus lime wedges, to serve
Fried shallots, to serve
Soft- or hard-cooked eggs, peeled and halved, to serve
Ingredients
  • 8

    ounces ground pork

  • 3
  • 2

    tablespoons chili-garlic sauce, divided, plus extra to serve

  • teaspoons ground white pepper

  • 3

    tablespoons lard or refined coconut oil

  • 5

    large shallots, peeled, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced (2 cups)

  • 8

    garlic cloves, thinly sliced

  • 3

    lemon grass stalks, trimmed to bottom 6 inches, dry outer leaves removed, smashed

  • 2

    tablespoons finely grated fresh ginger

  • quarts low-sodium chicken broth

  • 4

    cups cooked and chilled jasmine rice

  • 1

    cup chopped fresh cilantro

  • 3

    tablespoons lime juice (2 to 3 limes), plus lime wedges, to serve

  • Soft- or hard-cooked eggs, peeled and halved, to serve

Directions
  1. 01
    In a medium bowl, mix the pork, 1 tablespoon of the fish sauce, 1 tablespoon of the chili-garlic sauce and ¾ teaspoon white pepper. Form the mixture into 20 meatballs (about 2 teaspoons each), rolling each between the palms of your hands. Place on a large plate.
    See Demo
  2. 02
    In a large Dutch oven over medium-high, heat the lard until shimmering. Add the shallots and ½ teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the lemon grass and ginger and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the broth and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits, then reduce to medium and simmer uncovered until the flavors blend, about 15 minutes.
    See Demo
  3. 03
    Remove and discard the lemon grass. Add the meatballs, stir gently to combine and simmer over medium until the meatballs are just cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the rice and cook until heated through, about 1 minute. Off heat, stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons fish sauce, the remaining 1 tablespoon chili-garlic sauce, the remaining 1 teaspoon white pepper, the cilantro and the lime juice. Ladle into bowls and serve with fried shallots, egg halves, chili-garlic sauce and lime wedges.
    See Demo
    Thai Rice Soup (Khao Tom)
Tip: Don’t use freshly cooked rice, as the grains will turn mushy. Rice that was cooked at least a day in advance, then chilled held its shape better than rice that was cooked the same day. To chill just-cooked rice, mist a parchment-lined baking sheet with cooking spray and spread the hot rice on it evenly. Let cool to room temperature, cover and refrigerate for at least one or up to three days.
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Thai Rice Soup (Khao Tom)

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4

Servings

35 minutes

Tip

Don’t use freshly cooked rice, as the grains will turn mushy. Rice that was cooked at least a day in advance, then chilled held its shape better than rice that was cooked the same day. To chill just-cooked rice, mist a parchment-lined baking sheet with cooking spray and spread the hot rice on it evenly. Let cool to room temperature, cover and refrigerate for at least one or up to three days.

Ingredients
  • 8

    ounces ground pork

  • 3
  • 2

    tablespoons chili-garlic sauce, divided, plus extra to serve

  • teaspoons ground white pepper

  • 3

    tablespoons lard or refined coconut oil

  • 5

    large shallots, peeled, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced (2 cups)

  • 8

    garlic cloves, thinly sliced

  • 3

    lemon grass stalks, trimmed to bottom 6 inches, dry outer leaves removed, smashed

  • 2

    tablespoons finely grated fresh ginger

  • quarts low-sodium chicken broth

  • 4

    cups cooked and chilled jasmine rice

  • 1

    cup chopped fresh cilantro

  • 3

    tablespoons lime juice (2 to 3 limes), plus lime wedges, to serve

  • Soft- or hard-cooked eggs, peeled and halved, to serve

Step 1 of 3

Form the meatballs

8
ounces ground pork
1
tablespoon fish sauce
1
tablespoon chili-garlic sauce
¾
teaspoon ground white pepper

In a medium bowl, mix the pork, 1 tablespoon of the fish sauce, 1 tablespoon of the chili-garlic sauce and ¾ teaspoon white pepper. Form the mixture into 20 meatballs (about 2 teaspoons each), rolling each between the palms of your hands. Place on a large plate.

Step 2 of 3

Heat and simmer

5
large shallots, peeled, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced (2 cups)
½
teaspoon kosher salt
8
garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3
lemon grass stalks, trimmed to bottom 6 inches, dry outer leaves removed, smashed
2
tablespoons finely grated fresh ginger
quarts low-sodium chicken broth

In a large Dutch oven over medium-high, heat the lard until shimmering. Add the shallots and ½ teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.


Stir in the lemon grass and ginger and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the broth and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits, then reduce to medium and simmer uncovered until the flavors blend, about 15 minutes.

Step 3 of 3

Add the meatballs, finish cooking and serve

4
cups cooked and chilled jasmine rice
2
tablespoons fish sauce, plus extra to serve
1
tablespoons chili-garlic sauce, plus extra to serve
1
teaspoon ground white pepper
1
cup chopped fresh cilantro
3
tablespoons lime juice (2 to 3 limes), plus lime wedges, to serve
Fried shallots, to serve
Soft- or hard-cooked eggs, peeled and halved, to serve

Remove and discard the lemon grass. Add the meatballs, stir gently to combine and simmer over medium until the meatballs are just cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the rice and cook until heated through, about 1 minute.


Off heat, stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons fish sauce, the remaining 1 tablespoon chili-garlic sauce, the remaining 1 teaspoon white pepper, the cilantro and the lime juice. Ladle into bowls and serve with fried shallots, egg halves, chili-garlic sauce and lime wedges.

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