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Feel-Good Soup Kaotommoo - Thai boiled rice soup with pork

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Feel-Good Soup Kaotommoo - Thai boiled rice soup with pork

Feel-Good Soup Kaotommoo - Thai Boiled rice soup with pork. An alternate to chicken soup when you feel under the weather

Yesterday I made tomyumghai with the left over sticky rice that had been turned into kaotomkaoniew. The tomyum is gone, but I still have quite a bit of kaotomkaoniew left over, enough to make another meal. The more I think about it, the more I like the texture and the taste of kaotom that is made from kaoniew or sticky rice over that made from regular jasmine rice. The sweetness from the rice makes a nice addition to the flavor, and the thick, rich texture tends to hold together the flavor of any dish that goes on top of it - unlike the 'flat' feeling of boiled rice made from regular rice. I am aware of the high amount of carbs that are in the sticky rice - but this is why it is a 'feel-good' food. I also learned there is a Korean soup dish that makes use of sticky rice, and I hope to try that some day.

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So I have a lot of boiled sticky rice, and my little ones are still down with the flu. I decided to make yet another boiled rice soup, and this time I will make boiled rice with pork or kaotommoo. - An alternate to chicken soup when you feel under the weather. A dish that is served for breakfast all over Thailand and is very simple to make.

Thais are accustomed to having rice in our breakfast, usually boiled with a protein source (such as fish, chicken, or pork) and vegetables as condiments. If people are still maintaining the true Thai lifestyle, they have boiled rice with light meat and veggies in the morning, followed by noodle soup with some light meat and veggies for lunch (and maybe a small bowl of crushed ice on top of cut-up small pieces of fruits floating in sweetened coconut milk added for dessert). A small snack, such as fried banana in coconut batter, fried taro, or fried tofu skin with dipping sauce can be consumed throughout the day. Dinner is a big family gathering, as Thai relatives are close to each other as part of an extended family. There will be five or six dishes of fried, steamed, and stir fried food, and soup, curry, mole, with a variety of steamed and fresh vegetables. Thais put the food on top of the rice - the center piece of our food . Rice, to the Thais, is like bread to the westerners. Almost always, we will end each meal with fruits to "cleanse the palette"

I spent my first fourteen years in my homeland and was sent over to the United States for no reason good enough to convince me (why they sent me). My parents bought a house here in Easton and visited me -at least- four times a year, and I spent every holiday -short and long- in Thailand with my family. While I remained "Thai" from head-to-toe, I still couldn't help but adapt and adjust many of my Thai habits, especially those having to do with the food tradition. For example, since I didn't have all my relatives with me there wasn't a need to put a variety of food on the table anymore. The lack of hired help was also a huge factor. I grew up in a household with at least two generations of hired help. I would see people cleaning and tidying up all the time, and the kitchen preparation seemed to be going on all day long. The pleasure of cooking within me wasn't discovered until I moved back to Bangkok with my husband and our three month old son. Before I knew it, my four-level townhome had become the center for all the relatives.

There, I cooked; but, even with help to clean up afterwards, I didn't make several dishes for each meal any more. Instead, I got into the habit of making fewer dishes but in larger quantities. Yes, I know how to feed an army. At the same time, congee and boiled rice were no longer just breakfast: we'd have them anytime of the day. Since they are such "feel-good" foods soon enough, after a long tired day at work, I would make either one for supper.

Enough of this lengthy introduction.- Let me show you how easy it is to make kaotommoo - our "feel-good" soup.

Thai boiled rice with pork and leek

Feel-Good Soup --Kaotommoo--

Thai sticky rice
First, I will have to add more water to the rice and re-cook it. My choices are throwing it into a pot and cooking it on the stove-top or putting it back in the rice cooker. I choose the rice cooker. Add water, plug it in, turn it on, and wait for it to beep.

A pack of ground pork was taken out from the freezer in the garage and is already thawing. I just have to see what I have for condiments. I look into the refrigerator for supplies. I take out fresh ginger: we're going to need that in the broth today. If you recall from yesterday, I put away my cilantro roots for later use. Well, the time is now. I look for scallion...nope...I ran out, so I take out three stalks of leek. The way I see it, leek is the giant scallion. Now I just have to grab some garlic and have black peppercorn ready; oh, and oyster sauce and nampla bottles are in their stand-by spots.

Alright, the rice is steaming in the rice cooker. I start by cleaning the leek - cut both ends off and julienne them into tiny shreds, then put them aside. I then peel and cut a few slices of ginger.

Take a pot out and half fill it with water. Put in the ginger and about ten shakes of nampla (you know, when you shake and the liquid comes out of the tiny hole on top), and leave the pot on the burner. DO NOT bring on the heat yet.

Cilantro roots

I soak the cilantro roots in the water then scrub each of them with my fingers, peeling out the dark, dead root and stem. When you buy cilantro at your regular store, please ask for a bunch on which the roots are still attached. Roots are the part that have the beautiful aroma and add a third dimension to an otherwise typical garlic and pepper scent.

Garlic-Black peppercorn-Cilantro roots
Get out your mortar and pestle, but if you don't have them then set up your chopper/blender -not my first choice but that will do. If you own your m and p, take 4-5 piece of garlic, run them through water and pound them in the mortar until the skin falls off, pick out the skin and throw it away. Put in as many or as little black peppercorns as you like - I have only around 10-20 or it'd be too hot for Kaitlyn. Pound the peppercorn so it breaks and mixes with the garlic. Now, it's time to grind the cilantro roots. Grind until the three ingredients blend well together. This is a great arm exercise - switch arms if you'd like the muscles on both sides to be the same size!

Woohoo! What a work out - see what you'd miss if you use a blender? But, if you do use a blender, remember to peel the skin off the garlic before you blend with peppercorn and cilantro roots. The aroma and the blend won't be as good as using the mighty m and p; but, as I said, that will do.

By now I hope the ground pork is thawed. Mine wasn't quite ready so I popped it in the microwave on low power. Please do not cook the pork or your broth won't be sweet and will smell 'porky'.

Mix ingredients with pork
Put it in a mixing bowl and pour in your ground garlic-pepper-cilantro roots. Add one heaping tablespoon of oyster sauce and three tablespoons of nampla. Mix with your hand until everything blends well and your hand is all messy and sticky- but no, this isn't cookie dough, so please do not lick your fingers.

Pork mixed with ingredients
Use your other hand - the one that isn't messy with the pork mix - to turn on the heat under your prepared pot that waits for you on the stove, keeping the heat at medium-high.

Now, the fun of making pork balls begins. Pick a small portion from the mixing bowl with your three fingers and roll each ball at any size your heart desires! The Thais like them very small. Again, it has to do with a Thai's delicate bite. Drop each ball into the pot as you go.

When you finish, put in the leeks. Now you have time to go check your text messages and feed your hamsters, but please wash your hands thoroughly with soap, first!

Pork Leek
Pork and leek are cooking Thai boiled rice with pork and leek

The rice beeps just in time for the pork and leek to be floating up to the top. Let the soup boil for a few minutes. Taste it: you will probably want to do another ten shakes of nampla. When you have the flavor that you like, simply put two or three spatula-fulls of rice in a bowl and put the soup in on top. I hope you will enjoy its aroma - and the taste - yum!

Thia boiled rice with pork and leek

Please let me know how your "feel-good" soup turns out: I'll be looking forward to hearing from you!

Have a happy, healthy Chef-Me-Not! meal!

Pradichaya Gafaae Poonyarit Pradichaya Gafaae Poonyarit
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