1–6 Red Chilies (Bird’s Eye preferred, but any small hot red chilies will work), to taste – roughly chopped
2–3 Asian Red Shallots – peeled and thinly sliced (use 1/4 red onion if unavailable)
1 Lemongrass stalk – outer tough layers removed and finely minced (substitute with 1 TBLS lemongrass paste if unavailable)
3 Kaffir Lime Leaves – destemmed and finely minced
2 TBLS Canola Oil (or any other cooking oil)
5 cups / 1183ml Water
1 TBLS Fish Sauce
1.5 TBLS Low Sodium Light Soy Sauce
½ TSP Ground White Pepper
½ TSP Kosher Salt, to taste
½ TSP Thai Chili Powder (optional), to taste
120 grams / 4.2 ounces Mung Bean Vermicelli (also known as glass noodles, cellophane noodles, and bean threads) – soaked in water according to package instructions and drained
¼ cup roughly chopped Coriander
2 Spring Onion – cut into 1.5-inch pieces
To Serve (optional): Blanched Asian greens (bok choy, choy sum, Chinese broccoli or kale, etc.), boiled store-bought or homemade wontons, store-bought fried shallots, Chinese chili oil
For the Meatballs:
Make the chicken and prawn mixture: Roughly chop the garlic, shallots, red chilies, Prik Kee Nu green chilies (if using), and coriander roots. Using a mortar and pestle, pound into a coarse paste. Mince half of the prawns into a paste, and coarsely chop the other half. Transfer the garlic chili paste to a large mixing bowl, and add the minced and cubed prawns, ground chicken, ground white pepper, fish sauce, low sodium light soy sauce, and sesame oil. Mix until combined well. Scoop the meat mixture up with a large spoon and drop it so that it slaps against the bowl. (Note: You can also combine the meat using your hands instead, which is the traditional way.) Repeat a few times until the texture becomes smooth and everything has come together. Set aside.
For the Thai Glass Noodle Soup:
Prepare the ingredients: Roughly chop the garlic and red chilies, then pound into a coarse paste using a mortar and pestle. Thinly slice the shallots, and finely mince the lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves. Soak the mung bean vermicelli in a bowl with room temperature water as per package instructions, then drain well. Cut the noodles with kitchen shears into more manageable lengths (so that they are easier to eat).
Make the soup: Heat the canola oil in a large stockpot of Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the shallots and sauté for 30 seconds until slightly softened. Then add the garlic chili paste mixture, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves and sauté for a minute until fragrant. Pour in the water and season with fish sauce, low sodium light soy sauce, ground white pepper, kosher salt, and Thai chili powder (if using). Once the water starts to boil, turn the heat down to medium. Use a teaspoon to scoop up the chicken and shrimp meat mixture, and another to slide it off the spoon and into the soup. Repeat until all of the meatballs are in the soup. Simmer for 2-3 minutes, or until the meatballs are just cooked. Give the broth a taste and adjust seasoning by adding more fish sauce, soy sauce, or kosher salt if needed. When you are ready to serve, add the noodles and stir in the chopped coriander and spring onion. Then switch off the heat.
To Serve: Divide the noodle soup and meatballs evenly into bowls. Briefly blanch Asian greens of your choice and add to the bowls. Serve with fried shallots and Chinese chili oil if desired.
Thai ingredients:Fresh lemongrass stalks, kaffir lime leaves, and glass noodles can be found in Asian supermarkets or Thai grocery stores, or online.
Meatballs: Feel free to use all chicken (340 grams / 12 ounces) if you prefer not to use prawns/shrimp. You can also use ground pork or turkey, or do a combination of chicken and pork if you like.
Chilies: Prik Kee Nu Green chilies are listed as optional as they may be hard to find outside of Asia, and also because they are fiery hot. Adjust the quantity of fresh red chilies and Prik Kee Nu green chilies to taste. Or omit them and the Thai chili powder entirely if you are not big on heat.
Make it vegetarian/vegan: Use firm tofu cubes instead of chicken and prawns for the protein, and use more soy sauce to flavor the meatballs and broth instead of fish sauce. You can also add veggies like diced carrots, sliced mushrooms, or chopped cabbage to the soup.
Make it gluten-free: Use a gluten-free soy sauce or soy sauce substitute (i.e. coconut aminos or tamari). Double check your fish sauce to make sure it is gluten-free as some brands aren’t.
Mortar & pestle: Pounding ingredients in a mortar and pestle helps the aromatics to release their oils and makes their flavors more prominent and tastier. If you don’t own one, smash the aromatics with the flat side of a knife and finely chop the ingredients. Or give them a whiz in a mini blender or coffee grinder until a coarse paste-like texture is achieved.
If not serving immediately: Do not add the noodles into the soup or they will turn to mush if not eaten immediately and soak up all the soup. Remove the pot from the heat after the meatballs have just cooked through. When ready to serve, reheat the soup on the stovetop for 2-4 minutes or until heated through. Then stir in the noodles, coriander, and spring onion just before serving.