JOIN! 12 Weeks for $1

Thai Rice Soup (Khao Tom)

4 Servings

35 minutes

Made This Recipe? Write a Review.
Thank you for submitting your review! A member of our team is confirming the review meets our site's Community Guidelines. It will be posted on the site shortly.

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.




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.

35 minutes


  • 8

    ounces ground pork

  • 3

    tablespoons fish sauce, divided, plus extra to serve


Pardon the interruption

You need to be a Milk Street Digital Member to see the full recipe


and get access to all of our recipes and articles online, as well as in print.

How we use your email.

Your email address is required to identify your subscription. We will use it for customer service as well as other communications from Milk Street. We will not share, or rent your email address.

Jonathan P.
February 12, 2024
Great recipe!
The fried shallot recipe was a total bust. Other than that, fantastic, spot on flavor!
Kathy J.
September 3, 2022
Brings back memories
I lived in Chiang Mai for a year between high school and college years ago and it was wonderful. I was lucky enough to hook up with some American students doing a year abroad with one semester in Thailand. So I spent a week living with a Thai family as part of that group. This soup is so similar to what we often had for breakfast. I do wish you also had done a segment on khow soi which is a well known Chiang Mai spicy soup that the old king dearly loved. The most popular shop was just down the road from my parents' house so we ate there on a regular basis. And Chiang Mai sausage that is wonderful along with som tom and sticky rice (khow neo).
Ramona W.

I'm not sure when you added comments feature to the recipes, but I am thrilled! I've been a MS member from the get go, and favorite the recipes that we have made. So now I can go back and comment on them.

We made this, I was tasked with the meatballs, onions, and eggs; while hubby made the rest. We cook a lot together and absolutely loved this recipe. The taste was unique for me, but he has been to Thailand before and it brought back memories. So Thank You, for bringing us recipes from across the World that we can recreate at home with ingredients we can find easily.

PS I now steam all eggs instead of boiling, such a difference.

Sandra H.

I’ve made this soup several times and LOVE IT! I’ve found that it doesn’t freeze well and wondering if you have any suggestions as this always makes more than I need for one meal.

Alex L.

Love this soup. Do yourself a favor and double the meatballs and make the fried shallots.

Bodi L.

This soup was amazing. I didn't have lemongrass so added in lemon zest and cilantro stems. Also doubled the meatballs - great advice!

Mary O.

This is an amazing recipe that is easy and can be made in under an hour. Family asks for it now. I don't even bother pre making the jasmine rice. I just start the rice first then go to it with the rest of the recipe and it is perfectly fine. Never have leftovers unfortunately!