By Gaoli Moua, Staff Writer and Copy Editor
One dish that reminds me of home is khov poob. A mix of sweet, spicy and salty, the thickness of the coconut milk in combination with the tinge of the curry calms the spirit. Its ingredients – noodles, mint, bamboo shoots, lime and palm sugar – are reminiscent of a time in Asia.
Khov poob, or curry coconut noodle soup, is often the entree of choice when it comes to Hmong family gatherings because it is easily customizable to different taste buds. Although it is originally a Laotian dish, the Hmong have made it their own.
Nearly all Hmong women own pots big enough for a young child to sit in comfortably and large ladles used for making soups such as khov poob, because the more, the better.

Ingredients for 5 servings:

  1. Vermicelli noodles (12 oz.)

  2. 3-4 spoonfuls red curry paste

  3. ¼ head of shredded cabbage

  4. A handful of hand shredded(or sliced) bamboo shoots

  5. Water

  6. 1 can of coconut milk

  7. Chicken breast or 1 lb. of chicken thighs

  8. 1 tablespoon. salt

  9. 2 green onions (minced)

  10. Handful of rinsed mint leaves

  11. Sliced lemon/lime

  12. 2 tablespoons of palm sugar

  13. ¼ cup of Thai fish sauce, or more for taste

  14. Optional: 1 stalk of lemongrass

  15. Optional: 5-10 Kaffir lime leaves

  16. Optional: 1-2 bay leaves


1. Boil water in a pot. When it starts boiling, add in the noodles. Stir occasionally for around 10-20 minutes. Pinch and bite a strand to see if it has softened. Make sure it is truly soft throughout. When the noodles are softened, drain and rinse noodles with running water and then set aside.

Curry Soup

2. Prepare a bigger pot of water (about 10-12 cups of water). Add chicken, lemongrass stalk, bay leaves and Kaffir lime leaves. When the chicken is cooked, take it out and pound it in an mortar until it is shredded. Put the shredded chicken back in the pot of broth, add salt for taste and add the fish sauce. Make sure it is a bit saltier than your usual preference, as this will make up for the unsalted vermicelli noodles.

2. At the same time the meat is cooking, boil the coconut juice in a separate pot and add 1 palm sugar chunk. Let boil for 45 minutes to an hour at medium heat, occasionally stirring to get a desired thickness. Transfer over to the main pot and add red curry paste to the main pot as well. Add fish sauce, taste and add more if not salty enough.

In your serving bowl, add the noodles, lime, green onion, a few mint leaves and cabbage. Pour soup into the bowl with a ladle.

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