Cao Lầu Recipe | Vietnamese Noodle Bowl

Cao Lầu is a traditional Vietnamese noodle dish that originates from Hội An, a UNESCO World Heritage city in central Vietnam. It's characterized by its unique blend of textures and flavors, featuring thick rice noodles, slices of tender pork, fresh greens, bean sprouts, and crispy rice crackers, all bathed in a savory, slightly smoky broth. What sets Cao Lầu  apart is its noodles, which are crafted using water from specific ancient wells in Hội An, believed to lend the dish its distinct taste and texture. This local specialty reflects the cultural fusion present in Hội An, showcasing influences from both Chinese and Vietnamese culinary traditions. Here is a recipe of Cao Lầu for you:

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Ingredients of Cao Lầu:

For the noodles:

  • 250g rice flour
  • 1 tablespoon tapioca starch
  • 175ml water
  • 1/2 teaspoon lye water (potassium carbonate) or baking soda

For the broth:

  • 500ml pork or chicken stock
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon five-spice powder (blend of cloves, cinnamon, pepper, anise and ginger)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the toppings:

  • 200g pork loin, thinly sliced
  • Mixed greens (lettuce, mint, basil)
  • Bean sprouts
  • Fried crispy rice crackers

Instructions of Making Cao Lầu:

1. Prepare the noodles:

  • Mix the rice flour, tapioca starch, water, and lye water (or baking soda) in a bowl to form a dough.
  • Roll out the dough thinly and cut it into strips resembling noodles.
  • Bring a pot of water to a boil, then blanch the noodles for about 3-4 minutes until they are cooked. Drain and set aside.

2. Make the broth:

  • In a saucepan, heat a bit of oil and sauté the garlic and shallot until fragrant.
  • Pour in the stock and add soy sauce, fish sauce, sugar, five-spice powder, salt, and pepper. Let it simmer for 15-20 minutes.

3. Prepare the toppings:

  • Marinate the pork slices with a bit of soy sauce and five-spice powder. Then stir-fry until cooked.

4. Assemble:

  • Arrange a serving of cooked noodles in a bowl.
  • Top the noodles with the cooked pork slices, mixed greens, bean sprouts, and crispy rice crackers.
  • Pour the hot broth over the toppings in the bowl.

5. Serving of Cao Lầu:

  • Cao Lầu is traditionally served hot, allowing the flavors to meld together. Mix the ingredients before eating to enjoy the various textures and flavors.

Feel free to adjust the seasoning and ingredients to suit your taste preferences. Enjoy your homemade Cao Lầu!

 Recipe Card
Cuisine: Vietnamese, Prep Time: 30 minutes, Cook Time: 20 minutes, Total Time: 50 minutes, Servings: 4


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