Canh Tan O Recipe (Vietnamese Chrysanthemum and Shrimp Soup)

Canh Tan O Recipe (Vietnamese Chrysanthemum and Shrimp Soup) Recipe

Canh tần ô is a very common Vietnamese soup. It consists of chrysanthemum leaves and shrimp balls in a thin broth. It's a very healthy, light meal. I added a few scoops of steamed jasmine brown rice to make the meal complete. 

I'm giving losing the baby weight another go, and this is my "day 1" meal. Wish me luck!



Yields: 8 servings

2 tablespoons canola oil (or any neutral oil)
1 yellow onion
1 (10.5 ounce) can chicken broth
½ teaspoon tapioca starch (or corn starch), diluted in a little water
1 (16-ounce) bunch tần ô (chrysanthemum leaves)
10 ounces medium rawshrimp, thawed and cleaned
¼ teaspoon red chili powder
3 tablespoons green onions, thinly sliced
1 sprig dill
1 chunk rock sugar (about 1 ounce), or 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
2 tablespoons nước mắm


Frying the onions: Cut one half of the onion in thick slices and the other part in thin slices. Heat the canola oil in a small pan. Fry the onions in the oil, stirring frequently to prevent them onion from burning, until the color is evenly golden brown. Reserve the oil. Drain the onions on paper towels. Set aside.

Seasoning the broth: Combine the chicken broth and 3½ cups water in a saucepan and bring to a boil in a 2-quart pot. Add the tapioca starch, rock sugar and fried onions. Lower the heat to medium-low and cook for about 15 minutes. 

For the shrimp balls: In a bowl, season the shrimp with half the amount of fried onions, salt, red chili powder, black pepper and 1 teaspoon of dill. In a food processor or a mini-blender if you have one, blend the shrimp and about 2 teaspoons of the onion-infused oil. Add a teaspoon of green onion. Form ping pong-sized shrimp balls.

Assembly time: Bring the broth back to a boil. Add the shrimp balls, one at a time. Cook for about 2-3 minutes. Add fish sauce (nước mắm) and bring the broth back to a boil. Add the tần ô, coarsely sliced onions and a drizzle of the reserved onion-infused oil. Cook for a minute, then add the rest of the green onions. Turn off the heat. Cover and let the soup sit for about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with more black pepper.

Serve hot with dill. Drizzle more nước mắm over the broth to finish (to adjust the seasoning).

Bon appétit!


The addition of fried onions into the broth prevents the soup from being tanh ("fishy") when the shrimp balls are added. It's a good trick when cooking seafood or meat in broth.

You can find tần ô (chrysanthemum leaves) in most Asian specialty markets.

Published By: Jacqueline Pham on April 30, 2012.


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