Kuy Teav is a Cambodian pork and seafood noodle soup, much like the Vietnamese Pho; in fact this dish is enjoyed in Vietnam, under the name Hu Tieu Nom Vang (“Phnom Penh Noodle Soup”). While I’m a huge fan of Pho (it’s in my cookbook), sometimes it’s a little too beefy for my tastes; Kuy Teav serves as an excellent break from the norm.
It’s believed that this dish originated among Chinese immigrants living in Cambodia, and later spread to the rest of the country. It’s also a popular breakfast meal. Like many Asian soups, there is no one way to prepare this dish. Feel free to experiment with all sorts of add-ins, including meat balls or any leftover meat you may have.
This dish sits firmly in the Perfect Health Diet spectrum of Paleo since it uses rice noodles, but feel free to use sweet potato noodles (or even zucchini noodles) instead. One of these days, I’ll help convince the Paleo world that rice is indeed Paleo, but until then, I’ll continue to use my favorite little hashtag: #teamwhiterice.
Kuy Teav (Cambodian Pork and Seafood Noodle Soup)
1 handful bean sprouts
1 handful cilantro, chopped
4 green onions, chopped
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp hot sauce (Sriracha, etc)
1 lime, sliced into wedges
1. In a stockpot, boil the pork bones for 5 minutes, then drain and rinse the bones and stockpot. Place the pork bones on a baking sheet, and broil in the oven until darkened and crispy, about 8 minutes. Return the bones to the stockpot and fill with enough water to cover the bones by at least 1″.
2. Add the dried shrimp to the pot. Simmer on low until the meat tears off the pork bones easily, about 2-3 hours. Be sure to skim any foam from the surface of the broth and replenish any water that evaporates. Alternatively, you can use a pressure cooker for this step, for 45 minutes to get the same effect. While the broth is cooking, hard-boil a few eggs and set aside.
3. Remove the bones from the broth, let cool for 5 minutes, then pull the meat from the bones and set aside. Discard the bones. Add the fish sauce to the broth, then taste it; add salt and pepper as needed until it tastes perfect. Keep it simmering on low as you prepare the rest of the meal.
4. Bring a separate pot of water to boil, and cook the noodles. If using rice noodles, cook for 30 seconds then drain and rinse with cold water until cool to the touch. If using sweet potato noodles, cook for 5 minutes then drain and rinse with cold water until cool to the touch.
5. Warm a skillet or wok over med/high heat, then add the ground pork. Break the pork into chunks, then add the wine, tamari, and honey. Pan-fry, stirring often and breaking up chunks, until cooked through and the liquid evaporates, about 7 minutes. Add in the pork bone meat and sesame oil at the end of cooking. Once the pork is cooked, set it aside.
6. Bring the broth to boil over med/high heat. Place the raw shrimp in a strainer, then dip the strainer into the simmering broth. Cook until pink, then set aside. Distribute the noodles into four bowls, and add the pork, cooked shrimp, and garnishes to each bowl. Ladle the broth into each bowl, then serve with whatever remaining garnishes you’d like. Don’t forget the hardboiled eggs from step #2!
** Dried shrimp is a key component to making a distinct, flavorful broth. We like to store ours in the fridge. Typically you’d soak them for 30 minutes in warm water (like reconstituting dried mushrooms), but since we’re boiling them in broth I eliminated that step.
** To save on time, you can use pre-made pork stock (you’ll need about 2 quarts). Bring it to a simmer, add the dried shrimp, and proceed directly to step #4.
** This dish can be enjoyed as a dry noodle dish, perfect for hot days. To do so, boil some rice vermicelli in water until soft, about 1 minute, then rinse in cool water. Prepare the ground pork like in step #5, and cook the shrimp like in step #6, but in water instead of broth. Distribute the vermicelli into four bowls and serve with all the other garnishes.
** Bean sprouts initially sound scary (legumes!), but I can’t find any solid evidence that they’re actually harmful to your digestive system in the same way that legumes are (thanks, lectins). And since sprouted legumes have significantly less lectins than regular legumes, it stands to reason that bean sprouts may have an insignificant amount of lectins. Again, this is just me using common sense, folks. If you have any evidence one way or the other, I’m all ears. Until then, I’m going to keep eating them since they don’t appear to give me any digestive distress.