Papaya Soup Recipe (Canh Du Du)
I love incorporating fruits in savory dishes. Soups are a great way to do it, and today I made a soup similar to Vietnamese pumpkin soup (canh bí), but substituted ripe papaya for the pumpkin. It's called "canh đu đủ" in Vietnamese. I made the soup using chicken stock; you could use fish stock, vegetable broth or any other of your favorite flavorings. The natural sweetness from the papaya balances the flavors of a soup broth very well. At first sight, the beautiful orange color is reminiscent of fall colors due to the presence of carotenes in papaya. The flavor is quite different though. If you're looking for a healthy, flavorful soup, this is it.
In addition to tasting delicious, in Asian culture, old wives' tales say that papaya soup increases lactation for breastfeeding women. True or not, if you've just given birth, this recipe could help.
Yields: 8 servings2 tablespoons canola oil (or any neutral oil)
1 (2-inch) chunk fresh ginger
½ yellow onion, thinly sliced
6 chicken carcasses
1 large ripe papaya, peeled and diced
3 tablespoons green onions, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon cilantro, finely chopped
1 chunk rock sugar (about 1 ounce), (to taste)
4 dried dates (see tips)
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper, freshly cracked
2 tablespoons nước mắm, optional
Prepping the ginger: Cut the ginger root in half. Remove any dirt from one piece, peel it with the edge of a spoon, then thinly slice it. Place the ginger slices and dried dates in a teabag (optional).
Frying onions: Slice the onion. Heat the oil in a pan. Fry the onions, stirring frequently to prevent the onion from burning, until the color is evenly golden brown.
Preparing chicken stock:
Wash the chicken carcasses.
Fill a large stockpot with 4 quarts of water. Bring to a roaring boil. Add the ginger teabag and fried onions to the pot. Bring the liquid back to a boil. Add the chicken carcasses to the broth. Cook for about 15 minutes. Regularly skim the impurities rising to the surface of the broth using a fine mesh strainer. Season with salt. Lower the heat to a bubbly simmer. Cook for about 45 minutes. Adjust seasoning. Add rock sugar. Stir well. The broth is ready.
Peel and cut the papaya into 1-½" cubes. Gather about 3 cups.
Bring the broth back to a boil. Add the diced papaya. Cook over low heat for about 10-12 minutes. Bring the broth back one more time to a boil. Add the green onions and cilantro. Turn off the heat. Cover and let the soup sit for about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with black pepper.
Remove and discard the teabag.
Serve hot. Drizzle nước mắm over the broth to finish (to adjust the seasoning).
Frying onions is easy. Chop the onion. Heat about 1 inch of canola oil in a skillet. Fry the onion in the oil, stirring frequently to prevent it from burning until the color is evenly golden brown. Drain the oil on paper towels. I always make extra so that I can vacuum-seal and store them in the freezer for future use. I place about one cup per bag. You can store them up to 3 months.
Adding fried onions gives natural sweetness to the broth. I increase the sweetness using dried dates and rock sugar, depending on how the broth tastes.
You can find both rock sugar and dried dates in most Asian markets. Dried dates are sold in 6-ounce packages.
if you don't have rock sugar, you can replace it with 1 teaspoon granulated sugar.Published By: on November 15, 2011.