I love all types of noodle dishes, especially if it’s homemade because homemade everything is simply the best – YEE-HAW! 1
From classic chow mein to pad Thai, pho to spaghetti, ramen to bird’s nest (yes, these are the common ones but they’re also some of my favourites) – I find the long, curly carby strands of noodle simply irresistible.
Whether it’s dry or wet, stir-fried or souped up, I find so much enjoyment in munching and crunching noodles or slurping and burping them up, making horrendous sounds and covering the sides of my mouth with oily sauce or broth as a result. You know exactly what I mean, don’t you?!
There are several delicious noodle dishes in Lao cuisine, from ‘khao piak sen’ (handmade noodle soup) to ‘khua mee’ (stir-fried noodles). Another popular way to enjoy noodles, specifically rice vermicelli noodles, is to incorporate them in a tum som – giving it the title of ‘tum khao poon’ which translates to ‘pounded rice vermicelli noodles’.
My seasoned Lao foodie folks reading this post are probably thinking, ‘Meh! This is such a simple recipe. Nothing interesting here folks. Let’s move right along’.
OK, fair enough. This is a simple (yet classic) Lao dish and you’re right – once you know how to make tum mark hoong, you can pretty much make tum khao poon or any other form of tum som that your heart desires without too much trouble.
But before you leave dear Lao folks/moo 2 (and my non-Lao folks/readers), I’ve included a few extra ingredients in this salad/recipe to give it more colour, character, texture and flavour. Along with green papaya, I’ve also added carrot, Kermit eggplant, crunchy radishes, cherry tomatoes, padaek/fermented fish sauce and a pinch of MSG to taste (which is optional of course!). 3
It is a simple recipe, but this brew/concoction is definitely delicious and addictive, and packs a funky punch! We enjoyed it with beef jerky, cabbage and watercress but you can enjoy it with any of your favourite protein/meats and leafy greens/veg.
There are so many great seasonal veg to try and add to your tum som so don’t be shy to give them a go, and don’t just limit yourself to the more traditional ones. I hope you give this tum khao poon recipe a try. We enjoyed it immensely and I’m pretty certain that you’ll like it too. Sern saab and please visit again. bigsmile
- 100 grams of rice vermicelli (boiled)
- 1 green papaya/pawpaw (you only need half for this recipe)
- 1 carrot
- 10 hot chilies (or as many as you like)
- 3 garlic cloves
- 8 Kermit eggplants
- 8 radishes
- 10 cherry tomatoes
- 1 lemon or lime
- 1 TBS of fish sauce
- 1 TBS of padaek/fermented fish sauce
- 1 tsp of shrimp paste
- 1 tsp of salt
- 1 tsp of sugar
- 1 tsp of MSG (optional)
- Prep all of the ingredients before you start making the salad.
- First, either cook the rice vermicelli in boiling waiter in a saucepan until it is soft and tender, or place it it a large bowl and submerge it in boiled water until it is soft and tender. When it is cooked, strain and let cool down completely.
- Peel half of the green papaya, and then wash it under cold water to remove any excess sap. Shred the peeled half of the papaya with the KOM-KOM miracle knife, or a cleaver/knife. Store the remaining half of the papaya for another dish. Peel and shred the carrot with the KOM-KOM miracle knife.
- Wash and slice the Kermit eggplants. Wash and thinly slice the radishes. Wash the chilies. Peel the garlic cloves. Wash and halve the cherry tomatoes. Quarter the lemon/lime.
- Peel the garlic cloves, wash the chilies, slice the lemon/lime into wedges, halve the cherry tomatoes.
- In a Lao/large mortar, add the chilies, garlic cloves, shrimp paste, salt, sugar and MSG (optional). Carefully pound the ingredients with the pestle to a medium consistency. Be careful so that the ingredients do not splatter into your eyes.
- Add the sliced Kermit eggplants and gently pound to mix into the ingredients. Use a spoon to help mix and stir the ingredients together. Add the shredded papaya and carrot and gently pound to mix into the ingredients. Add the sliced radish and gently pound and mix into the ingredients. Add the halved cherry tomatoes and gently pound and mix into the ingredients. Squeeze in the lemon/lime juice. Add the fish sauce and padaek/fermented fish sauce. Gently pound and stir/mix the ingredients together.
- Taste the salad and adjust the flavour to suit. What you're aiming for is a delicious savoury/salty/sour/spicy mix of flavours. Flavoursome, intense, punchy and funky!
- Then, add the cooled/cooked rice vermicelli, and very gently mix into the ingredients with the pestle and spoon.
- That's it! With a large spoon, carefully and neatly transfer the salad and sauce to a serving bowl or plate. Serve with cooked meat and fresh leafy vegetables of your choice. Sern saab!!smile
- The photo of the rodeo cowboy in this post is of ‘Canadian equestrian Pete Knight riding Silver King at the 1935 Calgary Stampede. Knight was the Rodeo Association of America’s World Champion Bronc Rider for 1932, 1933, 1935, and 1936’. Source: Original publication: 1935 Calgary Stampede. Author: “Oliver” (first name unknown), (Life time: unknown). It was obtained from Wikipedia. Permission: Photographs created in Canada before 1949 are all in the public domain. ↩
- ‘Moo’ is Lao for ‘friend’.smile ↩
- The Muppet character, Kermit the Frog. Source: Disney.com. It was obtained from Wikipedia. © Disney. ↩