Kuy teav, a rice noodle soup with Chinese origins, is traditionally served for breakfast in Cambodia. It takes on layers of flavor from shrimp, pork and vegetables. This dish is also popular during celebrations, including Lunar New Year (there is a large Chinese-Cambodian population in Cambodia and throughout the world). Noodles are a symbol of longevity, and when combined with the rich stock over crisp lettuce leaves, herbs, sliced chiles, soy sauce and lime, it’s the perfect soul-satisfying celebratory dish.
Place 1 cup of the dried shrimp in a small bowl. Add warm water to cover and let stand for 30 minutes, then drain.
Position an oven rack directly under the broiler. Line baking sheet(s) with aluminum foil and heat the broiler to high. Toss the white and light green scallion parts, garlic head halves, onion, sweet potato, carrot, bok choy and daikon with the vegetable oil and lay in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet(s). Char under the broiler, turning every 3 to 4 minutes, until blackened, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to a large stockpot.
Add the soaked shrimp, squid, whole pickled radish, pork neck bones, pork rib bones, chicken drumsticks, rehydrated shiitake mushrooms, fish sauce, soy sauce, chicken bouillon and sugar to the stockpot. Add 6 to 8 quarts of water (or more, if needed, to cover) and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer about 30 minutes. Using tongs, transfer the pork rib bones to a plate and let cool slightly; cover and refrigerate. Continue to simmer the broth until well flavored, another 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
Meanwhile, place a fine-mesh strainer over a small heatproof bowl. Heat 1/4 cup of the neutral oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chopped garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is golden and the oil is hot and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Strain the oil into the prepared bowl and reserve. Reserve the fried garlic.
Heat 2 tablespoons neutral oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the ground pork, sprinkle with salt and black pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until cooked through and browned, about 10 minutes. Scrape into a medium bowl. In the same skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon neutral oil over medium-high heat. Add the remaining 1/2 cup dried shrimp and cook, stirring often, until the shrimp are bright pink and crisp, about 2 minutes.
Fill a large pot with water and fit with a colander. Bring to a boil. Blanch the bean sprouts for 10 seconds (or steam them if preferred); transfer to a medium bowl.
Return the water to a boil, add the shrimp and cook until just pink, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain and transfer to a medium bowl.
Using tongs, transfer the shiitake mushrooms and chicken drumsticks from the stockpot to a medium bowl; reserve.
Pour the broth through a fine-mesh strainer into a large pot; discard the remaining solids. Bring to a simmer and season with salt. Add the reserved pork rib bones and cook until warmed through, about 5 minutes. Remove the pork rib bones to a work surface, remove the meat and thinly slice. Coarsely shred the chicken meat; discard the skin and bones.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the vermicelli per the package instructions until al dente, then drain, rinse under cool water and pat dry. Toss with the reserved garlic oil and 1 teaspoon of the reserved fried garlic.
Divide the lettuce leaves among 4 to 6 large bowls. Top the lettuce with the noodles and ladle the broth over the noodles. Top with the sliced pork, shredded chicken, ground pork, cooked shrimp, dried shrimp, shiitake mushrooms and fried garlic. Serve with the bean sprouts, reserved julienned scallion greens, finely diced pickled radish, sawtooth coriander (culantro), pickled chiles, sliced chiles, lime wedges, soy sauce, granulated sugar, salt and ground Kampot pepper or black pepper.
Char your vegetables over an open flame, if possible, for a deeper-flavored broth before adding to the stockpot. Shiitake mushrooms contain natural “MSG” to further enhance flavor.
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