Pork Rib Soup is our favourite quick & easy Thai soup to make at home.
Our easy Pork Rib Soup recipe features tender braised pork, tomatoes, vermicelli rice noodles and crunchy bean sprouts.
The dish is flavoured with cilantro, dried chilies, paprika, garlic, ginger, shallots, shrimp paste, fish sauce, chicken stock, scallions and fried shallots.
We’ve traveled extensively through Thailand and eaten at all of the best Thai restaurants in Toronto. We’ve taken Thai cooking classes in Chang Mai and learned expert cooking techniques courtesy of the executive chef at JW Marriott Phuket Resort.
Cooking Thai food at home is quick and easy. Our flavourful Pork Rib Soup recipe takes under 2 hours to prepare and keeps in the fridge for several days. You’ll love loitering over these spicy Thai soup leftovers!
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What Is Soup?
Soup is a liquid food, generally served warm or hot (but can also be served cold like gazpacho), that is prepared by combining meat or vegetables with stock or water.
Hot soups are additionally characterized by boiling solid ingredients in liquids in a pot until the flavours are extracted, creating a rich broth.
Soups are similar to stews, and in some cases there may not be a clear distinction between the two. Soups generally have more liquid (broth) than chunkier and heartier stews.
In traditional French cuisine, soups are classified into two groups: clear soups (bouillon and consomme) and thick soups (purees, bisques, veloutes).
Purées are vegetable soups thickened with starch; bisques are made from puréed shellfish or vegetables thickened with cream; cream soups may be thickened with béchamel sauce; and veloutés are thickened with eggs, butter, and cream.
History of Soup
Evidence of the existence of soup can be found as far back as about 20,000 BC. Boiling was not a common cooking technique until the invention of waterproof containers, such as clay pots. To boil the water hot rocks were used.
The word soup comes from French soupe (broth), which comes through Vulgar Latin suppa (“bread soaked in broth”) from a Germanic source, from which also comes the word “sop”, a piece of bread used to soak up soup or a thick stew.
The word restaurant (meaning “restoring”) was first used in France in the 16th century, to refer to a highly concentrated, inexpensive soup, sold by street vendors, that was advertised as a cure to physical exhaustion. In 1765, a Parisian entrepreneur opened a shop specializing in such soups. This prompted the use of the modern word restaurant for eating establishments.
In America, the first colonial cookbook was published by William Parks in Williamsburg, Virginia, in 1742, based on Eliza Smith’s The Compleat Housewife; or Accomplished Gentlewoman’s Companion, and it included several recipes for soups and bisques.
English cooking dominated early colonial cooking; but as new immigrants arrived from other countries, other national soups gained popularity. In particular, German immigrants living in Pennsylvania were famous for their potato soups. In 1794, Jean Baptiste Gilbert Payplat dis Julien, a refugee from the French Revolution, opened an eating establishment in Massachusetts called The Restorator, and became known as the “Prince of Soups”.
What Is Pork Rib Soup?
Pork Rib Soup is one of our favourite hearty meals to cook for friends and family.
Many cultures prepare their own unique Pork Rib Soup recipe by flavouring the broth with local spices, herbs and vegetables.
All Pork Rib Soup recipes use the same cooking method: slowly boiling pork ribs in liquid to tenderize the meat until it falls off the bone.
Some of these recipes feature floating pork riblets, which are prepared by having your butcher chop a pork rib in half. This makes it easier to pick up the pork ribs with chopsticks or a spoon.
Other recipes, like this one, instruct you to cook the ribs in liquid until tender. You remove the meat and add it back into the soup broth before discarding the bones.
Our Pork Rib Soup is inspired by a trip to Thailand and features a spicy broth, tender vermicelli rice noodles and fresh herbs.
Travel to Thailand by Cooking Pork Rib Soup at Home
After my contract ended in Seoul I travelled throughout southeast Asia for 6 months, visiting India, Indonesia, Japan, Philippines, Vietnam, Myanmar, Malaysia, Cambodia, Laos, Singapore, Macau and the Maldives.
On my first visit I spent over a month backpacking through Thailand. I’ve revisited Thailand two times since as a food and travel journalist and always love to discover new regional dishes. Over the years I’ve explored Thai destinations such as Ko Phi Phi, Krabi, Chiang Khong, Chang Mai, Sukothai and Bangkok.
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Where To Eat Pork Rib Soup
Haven’t traveled to Thailand before? It may be helpful to first sample Pork Rib Soup at a local Thai restaurant to better understand how the dish is served. You can also assess the variety of ingredients used and sample the correct texture before trying to make the dish at home from scratch.
I spent months researching the best Thai restaurants in Toronto, visiting popular restaurants that serve authentic Thai dishes such as Sabai Sabai, Sukothai, Khao San Road, Pai, Kiin, Bangkok Garden, Mengrai Thai and Favorites Thai BBQ. If you’re looking to sample authentic Pork Rib Soup in Toronto try visiting one of these award-winning restaurants for inspiration.
Pork Rib Soup Health Benefits
Our Pork Rib Soup recipe is packed full of healthy ingredients!
It is only recently that scientists have begun to identify the components responsible for garlic’s myriad health benefits. Rich in phytochemicals and potassium, garlic helps boost your immune system, fight cancer and protect your heart.
Ginger contains at least 14 phytochemicals, many of which have impressive antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It also has a good source of copper, which supports your bones, blood and nervous system.
Shallots and other members of the onion family are a humble vegetable packed with vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. Regular consumption of onions can help boost digestive health and reduce the risk of developing heart disease.
Rich in a group of phytochemicals called carotenoids, tomatoes may help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, and provide protection against cancer. Tomatoes are also a good source of immune-boosting vitamin C.
Pork is an excellent source of protein and provides several important vitamins and minerals. It’s an excellent source of thiamin, selenium, niacin, vitamin B-6 and phosphorus, zinc, riboflavin and potassium.
A good source of bone-strengthening vitamin K, cilantro is also rich in antioxidants that help protect the eyes from damage by free radicals.
Paprika is rich in vitamin A, capsaicin, and carotenoid antioxidants. These substances may help prevent inflammation and improve your cholesterol, eye health and blood sugar levels.
Tips for Making Thai Pork Rib Soup
If it’s your first time making Pork Rib Soup we suggest you start by reading the ingredients list and recipe directions below.
Pork Rib Soup is the perfect quick & easy lunch or last minute dinner to make when you’ve got a busy week and find yourself unable to cook for hours on end. From start to finish it take under 2 hours to cook the recipe at home in your kitchen.
You can substitute the chicken broth for beef, mushroom or vegetables stock.
We like using cherry tomatoes but you can also use beefsteak tomatoes, plum tomatoes or grape tomatoes.
Vermicelli is a traditional Thai soup noodle but you could also substitute for a fresh Chinese egg noodle.
We’ve topped this Thai noodle soup bowl with fresh cilantro and scallions but you could also use mint and Thai basil.
What To Serve with Pork Rib Soup
Pork Rib Soup is typically enjoyed as a hearty lunch or as an appetizer at a more elegant multi-course Thai feast.
If you’re hosting a large Thai-themed dinner party, serve homemade Pork Rib Soup with other popular regional dishes like Papaya Salad, Thai Beef and Pumpkin Curry, Thai Red Prawn Curry, Pad Kra Pao, Grabong Northern Thai Pumpkin Fritters, Gai Pad Med Mamuang Thai Cashew Chicken, Authentic Massaman Curry Recipe with Beef, Nam Tok Authentic Thai “Waterfall Beef” Salad, Gaeng Keow Wan Thai Green Curry Chicken, Thai Pork & Beef Mince Curry Khua Kling or Chiang Mai Noodles “Khao Soi.”
The soup keeps well in the fridge for 2-3 days so store it in an airtight container.
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Best Pork Rib Soup with Rice Vermicelli Recipe
Thai Pork Rib Soup with Rice Vermicelli Noodles
- Large pot
- Spatula or Wooden Spoon
- measuring cups
- measuring spoons
- French knife
- Large Bowl
- 4 cups Water
- 1 lb Pork Spare Ribs
- 5 Cilantro roots/stems
- 1 tsp Kosher salt
- 5 Dried Red Chilies seeded
- 1 tbsp Paprika
- 3 tbsp Garlic thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp Ginger thinly sliced
- 3 tbsp Shallots thinly sliced
- 1.5 tbsp Shrimp paste
- 20 Cherry tomatoes sliced in half
- 2 tbsp Canola oil
- 300 g Ground pork
- 1 tbsp Fish sauce
- 300 g Thin Dried Rice Vermicelli Noodles
- 3 cups Chicken Stock
- 1 cup Bean sprouts
- 1/4 cup Cilantro leaves chopped
- 2 Green onions
- 1/4 cup Fried shallots
- In a large pot, combine the water, pork ribs, cilantro roots, and salt. Bring to a boil over high heat. Once the water boils, reduce heat to medium, cover and continue to boil for 1 hour.
- Once the ribs are fully cooked, strain the contents of the pot through a colander into a large bowl. Remove the pork rib meat from the bone and chop with a French knife. Place the chopped pork rib meat back into the pot along with the reserved broth. Discard the pork bones and cilantro roots.
- PREPARE THE PASTE: Using a food processor blitz the dried chiles, paprika, 2 tbsp garlic, ginger, shallots and shrimp paste. Add the tomatoes and blitz until you've achieved a smooth mixture.
- Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the remaining 1 tbsp of garlic and cook until fragrant, 10-15 seconds. Add the tomato mixture and cook for 2 minutes stirring frequently. Add the ground pork and mix well for 5-6 minutes until fully cooked.
- Transfer the tomato pork mixture to the broth. Turn the heat to medium then add the fish sauce and chicken broth. Mix well and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cook the rice vermicelli noodles according to the package directions. Drain and rinse under cold running water to stop the noodles from cooking. Divide the noodles into 4 bowls and ladle soup over the noodles.
- Top each bowl with bean sprouts, cilantro, green onions and fried shallots. Serve hot.
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