[Recipe] Super Easy & Quick Khao Poon/Kapoon


In some cultures, families get together to eat noodles to symbolize a long, prosperous life. For the last 4 years, I’ve done some sort of pasta but this year I made a traditional Southeast Asian dish called khao poon/kapoon.

There are many ways to spell the spicy curry noodle dish. In Hmong, you can spell it as Khaub Poob, but I have seen the phonetic spelling turn into kao poon, khao poon, kapong, etc. But however you spell it, it always means good, hearty, spicy comfort food. Again, this is my super simple, I-miss-home-cooking version and so, it will mostly be ingredients that you can find at your local grocery store, and the best thing about it is that it’s super quick.

Super Quick Khao Poon

Serving size: 4 – 6 servings

Building the broth:
2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
2 finely chopped cloves of garlic
1 Rotisserie Chicken
1 Can of Coconut Milk
2 oz of Red Curry Paste
4 cups of chicken broth
16 oz can of sliced bamboo shoots (drained)
1 package of somen noodles

For Taste:
1/2 cup of Fish Sauce
2 tablespoons of Salt

For garnish:
Green Onions
Green Cabbage

Get the ingredients from Amazon.com here:

Making the Broth:

  1. Take the store bought rotisserie chicken and take the breast, legs, and thigh meat. Remove the skin and bones and discard everything else. Leave off to the side for now.
  2. In a stock pot, add in olive oil and set the heat to medium high. Once the olive oil is heated, add in the finely chopped garlic until slightly browned, about 2 minutes. Make sure to stir constantly to ensure that the garlic does not stick to the bottom of the pot.
  3. Add in the curry and continue to stir until the curry breaks down and is mixed in well with the oil and garlic, about another 1 minute.
  4. Add in chicken and stir into the curry mix until all of the chicken is mixed. Try not to break up the meat as it breaks down in the broth over time, should take about a minute.
  5. At this point, add in the coconut milk and mix for until the chicken is covered with the coconut milk.
  6. Add in the chicken broth and bamboo shoots and bring to a boil. After the broth is at a rolling boil, turn down to medium and let sit to cook down for another hour or so. At this point, feel free to add in the salt and fish sauce. Add more for taste. This will reduce over time, so don’t over do it and make it too salty up front. Continue to add little bits more of curry paste to make spicier if desired.

Preparing the Noodles:
The noodles are typically prepared way ahead and left to the side to wait until everything is ready to eat. Because these dishes are typically made to be consumed by 10+ other people, I will note the special shape but it may not be necessary.

  1. Open the package of somen noodles and prepare as noted by the package. Once complete, drain the noodles into a colander and then place back into pot. Fill the pot back up with cold water and ensure that the water is cool to the touch before continuing onto the next step.
  2. Once the water bath for the noodles are chilled, grab a clump of noodles with your index and thumb. Pull the noodles out and back into the colander, bundling into a circular shape. These make them serving size and easy to pull for your own convenience.
    • NOTE: Once the noodles try, they are very hard to pull a part, so do this will help to ensure that you can be able to go back for seconds, thirds, fourths, etc…
  3. Do this until all of the noodles are bundled and then set to the side. Feel free to add a lid do the colander so that the noodles don’t dry out.

Putting It Together:
While the broth boils down, start making the garnish that will accompany the dish. It is optional but will make the dish have a great aroma and look great. The following are the most commonly used. Sprinkle into the dish as little as a small pinch or a large dollop.

  1. Mint: Tears leaves from stalk and chop. Discard of stalk.
  2. Cilantro: Pick leaves from stalk. If desired leaves can be chopped. Discard of stalk.
  3. Green Onion: Take a fork and take it length-wise from the top of the whites of the green onion until the ends. This will help to make the leafy portion more fine. Cut the whites of and cut the butt/root off. Slice into centimeter length. Slice the leafy green portion to the same size as the whites.
  4. Green cabbage: Quarter the head and cut against the grain to great thin strips of cabbage. Alternatively, purchasing the coleslaw, pre-sliced package will work just fine as well.
  5. Limes: Quarter the limes and set to the side. These will be squeezed into individual bowls.
  6. Combine each into a bowl. Season to your liking and enjoy!

Did you try this recipe? Let me know what you think in the comments below or tag your experience with #HmodernHmong.