A Sweet & Sour Vietnamese Soup

Tessa shares a recipe for canh chua, a delicious sweet and sour soup from her childhood.

"This is a traditional soup from South Vietnam where my mother and Chan were born. I grew up eating it a lot as a kid and recently rediscovered it as an adult. It’s a light, flavorful soup with bright and contrasting flavors — the sweet tamarind, acidic pineapple and the savory fish. I like to put in a few tablespoons of cooked white rice into each bowl before serving to make it heartier but you can skip it if you wish."


— Tessa

Ingredients:

— 2 oz of fresh tamarind or ½ pack of tamarind powder
— ½ pineapple, cut into 1 ince pieces
— 1 lb salmon filet cut into 1 inch cubes
— 1 ½ cup okra
— 3 roma tomatoes quartered
— 1 cup of bean sprouts
— 1 teaspoon of salt
— 1 teaspoon of sugar
— Black pepper to taste
— 1 bunch of mint
— 1 bunch perilla
— ½ cup of chopped cilantro
— ½ cup of chopped green onion
— 2 cups of bean sprout

Preparation:

1. Add 8 cups of water to a pot, and turn the heat on high. Add the salmon to the pot.
2. In a separate sauce pan, combine 1 cup of water and the tamarind. Bring to a boil and lit it simmer until the tamarind dissolves. Pour the tamarind through a mesh sieve into a bowl and set aside. If you don’t have access to fresh tamarind, you can use ½ a pack of tamarind powder or tamarind soup base (found in Asian supermarkets)
3. Once the pot of water is boiling, you’ll see fat and residue from the salmon float to the top. Skim the top layer of the soup. You want the soup to be clear.
4. Add the tamarind, salt, sugar and pepper. Lightly stir making sure not to break up the fish. Taste the broth and add more salt, sugar and pepper to taste. You want the soup to be the perfect amount of sweet, sour and peppery.
5. Add the okra, tomatoes and pineapple. One the soup begins to boil, turn down to a simmer and partially cover for an additional 10-15 minutes unit the okra, tomato and pineapple is tender but not overcooked.
6. Pour soup into bowls and garnish with bean spouts and fresh herbs and green onion. The herbs are optional but I love the taste fresh herbs bring out in the soup. Bon appétit!