Khao Tom (Thai Rice Soup)
Yield: 4 Servings


6 cups chicken stock
1 tbl Minced fresh gingerroot
2 lrg Shallots, minced and crushed
1 stalk lemon grass, cut into 2" pieces
3/4 cup Rice
250-300 g Minced ground pork
2 tbl Thai fish sauce
1 x Cubes firm bean curd, for garnish
Sliced spring onions, for garnish
Deep-fried shallots and or garlic, for garnish
Sliced chillis in fish sauce/soy sauce for seasoning/garnish
1 sprg fresh cilantro/coriander, for garnish

In a large saucepan combine stock with gingerroot, shallots, lemon grass, rice and salt to taste. Bring to a boil and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20 to 30 minutes, or until soup is a porridge- like consistency. Remove and discard lemon grass. Add the pork and fish sauce and simmer 5 minutes more. Garnish with spring onions, chilli, shallots and cilantro.

Larb with Minced Pork
Yield: 4


1 oz Dried snow fungus (I use dried shitake)
500-600 g Ground pork
2/3 cup Lime juice
6 tbl Fish sauce
1 tbl Sugar (I use Thai palm sugar, the soft one)
6 tbl Julienned fresh ginger
3 tsp Ground dried thai chilis
12 tbl Sliced scallions
2/3 cup Coarsely-chopped roasted peanuts unsalted
4 tbl Chopped mint
4 tbl Lemongrass, tender inner leaves minced
2 tsp Finely-minced fresh hot chili (to 6 tspns)
2 x Green leaf lettuce heads leaves separated,
rinsed and dried
4 tsp Toasted Rice Powder see * Buy of make yourself

Soak the mushrooms in hot water until softened, about 15 minutes, then slice them in 1-inch pieces (I cut them finer). Boil the pork in a sieve set into a pot of water for about 1 minute, or until cooked. Remove and drain. (I used a wok to sear, finishing cooking with a little chicken stock)

In a mixing bowl combine the lime juice, fish sauce and sugar. Add pork and mix. Add the ginger and ground chili. Add 6 tablespoons of scallions, the nuts, mint, lemongrass, mushrooms, fresh chilis, and mix.

Put 3 leaves of lettuce on each serving plate. Divide and mound the pork mixture on top of the lettuce. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon Toasted Rice Powder on each portion, then divide the remaining scallions between 4 plates. Spoon the liquid left in the bottom of the pork mixture bowl equally over each portion, and serve.

You can roll the mixture up in the lettuce and eat it out of hand, or use a spoon and fork.

This recipe yields 4 large appetizer portions.
Suggested drink: Mekong Whisky, we drank a bottle of Rockford Basket Press Shiraz 1995, the spicy food brought out sweet fruit elements that weren't obvious before, a good match, this one is getting close to peak drinking.

The leftover Khao Tom made a delicious breakfast on a cold Canberra morning, try this and you'll never touch british-style porridge ever again!