Fish broth & rice noodles (Num Pachok Somlar Khmer)

Preparation: 45 mins
Cooking: 15 mins
Complexity: difficult
Serves: 5


Fish broth

  • 2 heads of salmon
  • 2 large fillets of baramundi fish
  • ½ cup fresh or frozen minced lemongrass
  • 2 stalks spring onion chopped
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh or frozen galangal root
  • 2 whole frozen or fresh finger rhizome roots sliced thinly
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder or grated fresh turmeric root
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tbsp fermented fish (prahok)
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 6 cups of water

Seasoning and Garnishes

  • 400g thin rice vermicelli noodle
  • 5 birds eye chili sliced thinly
  • 1 lime cut into small quarters
  • 200g of fresh bean sprouts
  • 1 bunch of mixed herbs (spearmint, sweet basil, fishworth, asian coriander)
  • ¼ white cabbage shredded finely
  • 1 cucumber julienne 1 inch length
  • ¼  banana blossom sliced thinly
  • 5 long string bean sliced thinly


Fish Broth

  1. In a large pot bring to boil 6 cups of water and add the fish. Cook for 15 mins.
  2. Strain the cooked fish from pot keeping the fish stock simmering in the pot.
  3. Break apart the cooked fish into fine pieces using a fork and set aside.  The salmon heads can be disposed.
  4. In a mortar and pestle pound into a paste the garlic, finger rhizome root, lemongrass, galangal root, turmeric, spring onion. Alternatively use a blender with 1 cup of the fish broth, blend well and set it aside.
  5. In a large heated pot add the oil and fry the blended spices.
  6. Add the fish and combine well with the spices.
  7. Pour in the fish broth and cook for 10 mins.
  8. Add the fish sauce, sugar and prahok. Simmer for 15 mins.


  1. In a large pot bring to boil 8 cups of water and add the rice noodles. Cook until tender but firm.
  2. Drain the rice noodles and rinse under cold water. Grab a handful to shape into a circle for single portion and set aside on a platter. Continue until all noodles used.
  3. In a bowl, place a single portion of noodles and the vegetable garnishes as desired.
  4. Using a ladle, pour over the noodles enough hot fish broth to cover all ingredients.
  5. Squeeze a quarter of lime and add chili as desired.

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