Cambodian Phnom Penh Noodle Soup

It was a year ago that I’ve shared my Phnom Penh Noodle Shortcut recipe. Since then I’ve been wanting to tackle a recipe that is as close to authentic as possible. I was not born in Cambodia and my trip in 2006 only last about 10 days. During that 10 day trip I tried Phnom Penh Noodle Soup once in Battambong province on my way to Banteay Mean Chey province. That was probably where my love for Phnom Penh Noodle Soup started.

Cambodian Phnom Penh noodle soup is different in that the broth is made of pork bones. You can also use chicken but preferably pork. In addition the broth it is flavored with onion, garlic, black peppercorn, coriander and preserved radish. Season with a bit of fish sauce and soy sauce and you have a delicious basic Phnom Penh noodle broth. Add some additional seasonings and garnishes and it will give this noodle soup a wide appeal.

Last week while I was recovering from a cold I had a chance to make my long awaited (close to) authentic Cambodian Phnom Penh noodle soup. While you can make it on a regular stove top I choose to use my slow cooker to do the work. The difference would be the cooking time. I was not in a rush and spent most of my time recovering in my sleep so I did not want to worry about spill over. I just set my slower cooker on HIGH for 4 hours and forget about it. It’s ready by the time I wake up. :) When using a slow cooker you don’t loose as much liquid so keep it about 1 inch below the top line. You can solely use pork bones but I happen to have the ones with some meat on it so I just used that and reserve the cooked tender meat for the toppings.

Cambodian Phnom Penh Noodle Soup (makes 4-5 servings)
(Kuy Teav Phnom Penh) គុយទាវភ្នំពេញ

Ingredients
1 lb fresh rice noodles (if using dried make sure to pre-soak it in warm water for 30 minutes)
10-12 cups of water
1½-2 lbs pork with/without bones
½ tablespoon black peppercorn
½ tablespoon coriander seeds
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 Knorr pork/chicken cube (depending on the meat you use)
1 medium onion, peeled and cut in half
rock sugar, thumb size
1 cup preserved radish
2 tablespoons fish sauce
½ tablespoon Golden Mountain seasoning sauce

Seasonings and Garnishes (pictured below)
cooked shrimp
mung bean sprouts
ground red chili peppers
sliced preserved radish
lime wedges
fried garlic
cooked ground pork
chopped mixed cilantro/green onions
Golden Mountain seasonings (optional)
Sugar (optional)

How to make Phnom Penh Noodle Soup Broth:
This is an optional step but I really want to extract all the flavors that I can. In a mortar & pestle pound the black peppercorn, coriander seeds, and garlic into a coarse paste. You can put it directly into the pot but I choose to put it in a tea mesh because I don’t plan on straining my broth. Most of the solids will sink to the bottom of the pot.

In a stock pot add the pork and bones, Knorr cube, onion, rock sugar, preserved radish, and water. If cooking on a stove top bring it to a hard boil for about 10 minutes and skim off any froth then simmer for 2 to 3 hours until all the flavor of the bones is released. If using a slow cooker just set it to HIGH and cook for 4 hours or on LOW for as long as your slow cooker can handle. A slow cooker generates a gentle boil so little liquid will evaporate and barely any froth produces. For this reason you can add water up to about ¾ from the top.

Once the broth is done you can strain and discard the bones and other solids. Taste and season the broth with fish sauce and Golden Mountain seasoning sauce. Keep the broth on a low simmer ready to be ladle onto individual noodle bowls.

Noodle Bowl Assembly:
Boil enough water in a pot that accommodate the strainer and the noodle. Add rice noodles into the strainer. Shake the strainers so that the boiling water coats all the noodles. Cook for 1-2 seconds (depending if you are using fresh or dried pre-soak noodles). Shake off excess water and transfer to a bowl.

You can create your noodle bowl by adding and arranging garnishes such as cooked shrimp, pork, sliced preserved radish and fried garlic. If you like your mung bean sprouts to be a bit cooked then add that too. Otherwise, reserve it for last. Ladle enough broth over just to cover. Top your bowl off with chopped mix cilantro and green onion, ground red chili peppers, and some squeeze lime juice. Use your chopsticks to mix the ingredients together. ENJOY!

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