Khao Tom Koong - rice soup with shrimp

khao tom is a staple in Thailand, being widely eaten as a breakfast 
dish, as well as an accompaniment to lunch and dinner. 

It can be cooked plain (without the shrimp), or as here with shrimp. It 
can also be made by simple substitution with chicken, pork, or any 
combination of seafood that you have to hand. 

It can be made with cooked left over chicken/shrimp etc, or as here with 
fresh ingredients. It is however almost always made from pre-cooked rice 
(though not always left-overs: the cook will often simply ladle enough 
rice from the electric rice pot to make the soup shortly before serving 

Made with chicken it is a popular meal for recovering patients who still 
feel a little queasy. 

I make no apolgies for also posting this to the chile heads mailing 
list: it is one of the best cures I know for the fire of an over hot 
chili dish! 

In Thailand the rice is almost always cooked until it starts to "fall" 
and the liquor turns milky. When my wife worked as the chef at the 
Bangkok Oriental Cuisine in Merrimack, New Hampshire, they found that 
the customers preferred it with the rice less cooked. If you also want 
the rice to stay "intact", then limit the heating before adding the 
shrimp to 2 or 3 minutes, which is enough to ensure that it is heated 
through ready to eat. 

Maggi seasoning, also known as Maggi sauce, is a dark - almost black - 
seasoning sauce, made by the Maggi company of Switzerland, and widely 
used in Asian cooking. It should be available from asian supermarkets in 
case of difficulty. If it can't be found at all, then mix a little 
Worcestershire sauce with an equal volume of dark soy sauce. The taste 
isn't quite the same, but it will do. 

The celery used in Thailand is Chinese Celery (the plant of which 
celeriac is the root ball). If this isn't available you can use 
"western" celery. 

Cooks in Thailand make this in a wok - but I'm not convinced that it is 
entirely safe to balance this much fluid in a round bottom wok on a 
skimpy western stove-hob. So perhaps for safety you should use a large 



2 cups of water 
1 cup of cooked white rice 
1 cup of thinly sliced Chinese celery (including the leaves) 
2 tablespoons of fish sauce 
1 tablespoon Maggi seasoning 
1 tablespoon garlic, thinly sliced 
1 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground (or to taste) 

You also need 4 large (8 to the pound) shrimp, or half a pound of 
smaller ones, shelled, deveined, and butterflied, or half a pound of 
other flavor ingredient. 


In a very small amount of oil sautee the garlic until golden brown and 
beginning to crisp up, then pour in the water, and bring to the boil, 
next add the celery, Maggi sauce, and fish sauce and pepper, and stir 
until it boils again. Now add the rice and return to the boil, 
continuing to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the rice begins to 
"fall" and the water turns a milky white (note comment above). 

Now add the shrimp, and cook until they turn pink. 

Transfer to a serving dish, and garnish with chopped coriander/cilantro 
Special thanks to - Muoi Khuntilanont.