A Deliciously Tasty Kapoon (Khao Poon) Soup Recipe

Savory soup recipes that originated in Asia flood the internet daily, but there is one soup that must be sampled over all the rest. It has layers of flavors, a creamy texture, and a delectable slurp of noodles all in one bowl. You need to try an original kapoon soup recipe.

A Soup by Any Other Name – Is Likely the Same

Even if you think you’ve never heard of or seen a kapoon soup recipe, that might not be true. This soup can also be known as ka poon, khaub poob, khao poon, or kao poon. But, no matter the name in a recipe’s title, you can count on this being a soup that must be added to any meal rotation.

Traditional Kapoon Soup Origins

This soup originated in Laos, which is located in the central northeast mainland in SE Asia. While the country is landlocked, one of the main ingredients in traditional kapoon soup is fish!

This dish is a classic recipe served at weddings and festivals. It’s also become a popular feature on menus across Asia, prompting creative variations on the traditional recipe. The most common variation on the recipe tends to be the heat added to accommodate those who cannot tolerate it.

Benefits of Eating Kapoon Soup

Soups are known as all-around healthy meals to indulge in, but not every soup has an outstanding flavor profile that also brings plenty of nutritional value! Traditional kapoon soup is one of the ultimate nutritious soups you can enjoy. It has a rich, creamy broth that may trick those new to the soup into thinking it’s unhealthy.

The main ingredient that you’ll see in most recipes is vermicelli-style rice noodles. These noodles give a broth a little extra starch to chew on while slurping in the other delicious and nutritious ingredients.

Most other ingredients in the soup help increase a person’s daily vegetable intake. Everyone knows they should eat more veggies, and kapoon does the job without sacrificing flavor and satisfaction!

Traditional Kapoon Soup Recipe

Unless your grandma has her own kapoon soup recipe, finding an authentic, traditional one can be tough. Yet the more you search, you’re likely to find that all kapoon soups have a fairly standard base. Here’s a basic, traditional kapoon soup recipe:


  • 12 cups of water
  • 13.5-ounce can of full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 tsp to 2 tbsp red curry paste (adjust to preferred taste)
  • 1 inch diced or shredded galangal
  • Thai noodle sauce
  • 1 stalk of finely sliced lemon grass
  • Vegetable bouillon (12 cubes or measured paste according to package directions)
  • ¼ cup minced garlic
  • Bamboo shoots in chili oil
  • Kaffir lime leaf
  • Vegetable oil
  • Vermicelli rice noodles (cooked according to package directions – be sure to stir while cooking to avoid sticky noodles)
  • Pork blood cubes (optional)


  1. Add the water, bouillon, and lemongrass to a large pot. Bring to a boil. If you are adding the pork blood, add it here to your soup base. Cook covered for about 30 minutes, then remove from heat.
  2. In another pot, add a splash of vegetable oil along with the red curry paste and Thai noodle sauce and cook on medium-low heat for about two minutes. Add the paste and sauce in small increments until you get the heat and flavor level that’s best for you.
  3. Add the minced garlic and galangal to the pot and cook for another minute.
  4. Turn up the heat to medium-high and add the bamboo, kaffir lime leaf, and salt to taste to the pot. Continue cooking for another two minutes.
  5. Add the coconut milk and cook for an additional two minutes.
  6. Now, add your broth from earlier into the curry pot. Stir and let the flavors boil for about ten minutes. When done, remove from heat.
  7. Now it’s time to assemble your bowls. Place the cooked vermicelli noodles in the bottom of a soup bowl. (Some people like to shape them into little nests and set them in the bowls, while others are happy to plop them in without ceremony).
  8. Once you’ve set your noodles into the bowl, ladle around 2 to 3 cups of the curry soup over the top. This is where you may want to add extra sauces or curries to your soup. So flavor your soup and enjoy!

Although countless versions exist today, this traditional recipe represents the foundations of all kapoon soups. There are many other ways to put together the soup by adding a diverse range of ingredients, sauces, and toppings. Let’s discuss those now.

Different Kapoon Soup Variations

The best way to approach different ways to adjust your soup to meet your needs is to start with the meal’s protein. Traditional soups used pork blood cubes or fish to bulk up their meals, which can also be done today.

As the soup evolved and became westernized in some ways, the soup often featured chicken. The chicken is boiled, shredded, and added to the finished soup during the assembly process. You would also want to consider switching out a vegetable bouillon or base with chicken to enhance the meat’s flavor.

You can also substitute tofu for any meat in this soup. Many people find that they prefer tofu to other protein sources because tofu takes on the rich, satisfying flavors of the curry.

Additional items that find their way into different versions of this soup include:

  • Bean sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Shallots
  • Green onion
  • Lettuce
  • Lime juice
  • Mint
  • Sliced banana blossom
  • Dried chiles
  • Mung beans
  • Water chestnuts
  • Any veggie you like

These are just a few suggestions for delicious additions to your own soup. If in doubt, make the basic, traditional soup and add your own ingredients one at a time.

The best part about having a hearty, flavorful, simple soup is that you can personalize it over time. Every time a new ingredient knocks it out of the park, you may find yourself inspired to make more variations!

Kapoon Soup Toppings and Sauces

Most people ladle their soup out of the pot, sit down, and have their meal. While that’s perfectly fine for some, you can make a soup more exciting when you play around with toppings and sauces!

Toppings for Kapoon

  • Croutons: Garlic croutons would be a fantastic addition to enhance the underlying heat
  • Cheese: Shredded or crisped, cheese can bring a more profound richness to your soup
  • Potato Strips: Peeled and baked, you can add more crunch and seasoning
  • Fried Herbs: Imagine a fried sage, basil, or other leaf satisfying your crispy and flavor needs
  • Fresh Herbs: Just the excellent flavor and nothing else
  • Green Chips: Baked kale or seaweed to satisfy salty cravings
  • Dairy: Add a plop of sour cream or swirl in some plain yogurt to help cut the heat
  • Fried Onions: With or without shallots in your soup, these crispy bites only bring out more savory goodness
  • Seeds: Sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, or other seeds add extra nutrition along with a uniquely satisfying texture
  • Nuts: Not all nuts work on a soup, but imagine some pine nuts, cashews, or walnuts atop this rich recipe
  • Bacon: If you’re not opposed to meat in this soup but can’t stomach the thought of pork blood cubes, try frying up some salty bacon to crumble on top
  • Fresh Veggies: Veggies have a place in soup, and on top of it, like shredded cabbage or edamame
  • Crispy Noodles: Chow mein noodles are made for dishes like this
  • Roasted Chickpeas: Season them however you like, and this is another avenue to add more nutrition and texture to an already great dish
  • Dumplings: It might seem obvious, but this isn’t a go-to addition for many chefs, and it should be
  • Fried Egg: This is yet another one that can be perfect with this soup but is rarely done

Sauces for Kapoon

  • Sriracha: if you love layering heat, this is the ideal recipe for you to add this sauce to
  • Soy: Add a splash if you’re looking for a rich, salty undertone
  • Tamari: This brings a smoother, less salty effect to your soup than soy
  • Sweet Chili Sauce: Use this sauce to add a touch of sweetness to your heat
  • Fish Sauce: If you’re making your soup with fish or a vegetarian version, fish sauce gives the soup a boost of that seafood flavor
  • Mango Sauce: Give your soup a tropical kick with this sauce
  • Yuzu Sauce: This is a soy-based sauce with a citrus tang
  • Ponzu Sauce: This sauce takes soy sauce to another level
  • Chili Hot Sauce: When you need more heat but a different kind than the red curry, this is the sauce to go with

Hopefully, this list will inspire you to create your ideal bowl of soup! Be sure to try out your own ideas, too. The more you do to help you enjoy your own recipe and share it with others can make this a beloved dish for you.

Quick and Easy Kapoon Soup Recipe

The traditional soup recipe is worth all the effort it takes to prepare when you have time. But you can enjoy an alternative, faster recipe when you need a bowl but don’t have the time for all the steps in the original recipe.

Remember that you can replace or omit ingredients to help you adhere to your dietary needs or preferences! This recipe is fast and easy, making it an excellent fit for all.


  • Splash of olive oil
  • Prepared noodles of preference
  • 3 cans of chicken or an entire store-bought Rotisserie Chicken (omit for vegan or vegetarian)
  • 1 13.5-ounce can of full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 tsp to 2 tbsp of red curry paste (start small if heat sensitive)
  • ¼ cup of chopped or minced garlic
  • 4 cups of vegetable or chicken broth, depending on your preference
  • 1 16-ounce can of sliced bamboo shoots


  1. If using canned chicken, open cans and drain any liquid. For the rotisserie chicken, remove all of the meat from the bird. Set aside.
  2. In a large pot, heat the olive oil on medium-high. Add the garlic and saute until it’s lightly browned.
  3. Put in your desired amount of red curry and move it around with the garlic. Continue to combine the garlic and curry for about one minute.
  4. If you’re adding chicken, add it next. Gently move the chicken to combine with the curry paste for about a minute.
  5. Put in your coconut milk, moving the chicken around until it’s all covered in the milk.
  6. Add in your broth (whatever you prefer) and bamboo. Bring the soup to a boil, turn the heat down to medium and let the soup cook for about 1 hour. If you want to add sauces or other curries, now would be the time to do so.
  7. Once the soup is done cooking, pour it on top of your noodles in your soup bowl.

While this soup takes about an hour to cook, most of the work has been cut down from the traditional recipe. This fast, accessible version would be great for when you need to study, get work done, or just don’t want to be present at every step while it’s cooking!

Different Method of Cooking Kapoon Soup

The original stovetop recipe is, by far, the best way to prepare the soup. However, if you want to attempt to make it in the slow cooker over a long period, it can be done.

Simply add the ingredients to the crockpot, cover, and cook on low for around 8 hours, or high for 4 to 6 hours. This will give you a great flavored soup, but it won’t have the depth that comes from the care taken to infuse flavor in every step like the original recipes.

Where to Buy Unusual Ingredients?

Many grocery stores have expanded international food sections and carry more ingredients than ever. So check out your grocery store, taking time to see what kind of inventory they have for the ingredients you need.

If you can’t get your supplies at the grocery store, see if you have an international or Asian market in your area. These are fantastic stores to check out and shop in.

If you’re not sure about an item, always ask an employee. They’re often quite helpful and can get you what you need.

When you’ve struck out in your local stores, you always have choices on the internet. From major retailers to small, independent online shops, you can always get your ingredients with a bit of searching and patience with shipping.

Enjoy Your Kapoon Soup!

When trying this recipe, remember that all ingredients can be adjusted to your tastes. Once you get the heat level you want, you can start thinking about how to play around with it the next time you make it!

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