Vietnamese Soup Recipes

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Canh Bi Do Tom Recipe (Vietnamese Pumpkin and Shrimp Soup) Recipe

Canh bí đỏ nấu tôm tươi literally translates to "pumpkin soup cooked with fresh shrimp". The natural sweetness from the shrimp pairs wonderfully with pumpkin. My mom’s trick to give the shrimp a better consistency is to blend in a few baby squid with the shrimp. If that scares you, you can omit it; the soup will still be yummy.

Soup is the quintessential Vietnamese comfort food, and this is a very tasty example. It is but one of many variations of soups that are served as a component of a typical Vietnamese meal. Traditionally, a Vietnamese meal is composed of jasmine rice, a meat or seafood dish and a bowl of soup on the side. If you’re planning a Vietnamese feast, consider serving it with grilled chicken.


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Canh Bap Cuon (Stuffed Cabbage Soup Recipe) Recipe

Canh bắp cải cuốn, which literally translates to stuffed cabbage wrap soup is my way of using the leftover potsticker filling I recently made. I stuffed the leftover mixture into whole cabbage leaves that were previously softened by par-boiling. I served them phở-style, meaning that I brought them to the table in bowls and then covered them with celery and carrot broth just before everyone dug in.

Creating little cabbage “gifts” is a great way to vary the vegetarian meals we've been having this week for Tết (Vietnamese Lunar New Year, on February 3rd). I tied the cabbage with green onions strings. The entire thing is edible and looks very playful.


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Bun Bo Hue Recipe (Hue-Style Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup) Recipe

If you're familiar with phở, bún bò Huế is another beef rice noodle soup. The beef soup dish originated in the city of Huế, the old imperial capital of Vietnam. Like traditional phở bò, the broth of bún bò Huế is simmered with beef bones and Asian spices such as ginger, but the similarities pretty much end there. The real difference is that the broth is finished with lemongrass and red chiles.

I made a very basic soup with thinly sliced beef shanks, but some people are more adventurous and add pig knuckles, congealed pig blood called huyết (which I do not like), and serve shrimp paste on the side as a condiment. I garnished the soup with the commonly used bean sprouts, lime wedges, cilantro and raw sliced white onions, thinly sliced purple cabbage and shredded iceberg lettuce. Purple cabbage makes sense because it most closely resembles the texture of banana flowers, which are traditionally included in bún bò Huế. The taste is obviously different though.

Once the dish is prepared, everyone should roll up their sleeves and commence slurping down the bowl of beef broth in front of them. This is not a subtle dish; your taste buds will be bombarded with sweet, savory and spicy flavors. My mouth waters just thinking about it!


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Bun Rieu Chay Recipe (Vietnamese Vegetarian Vermicelli Rice Noodle Soup) Recipe

Bún riêu cua is traditionally a vermicelli rice noodle soup made with tomato broth, meat, crab and shrimp paste. I'm not a very big fan of the meat flavors with shrimp paste so I usually make it meatless, using a paste of soybeans (and add the crab separately). The visuals and texture resemble the crab patties and the broth has the same fragrance from the sweet tomatoes.

The soup is typical Vietnamese comfort food. It's paired with the usual Vietnamese aromatic herbs and topped with other vegetables and fried tofu for a complete meal.


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Vietnamese Asparagus Crab Soup (Sup Mang Cua Recipe) Recipe

Súp măng tây nấu cua (white asparagus crab soup) was always a festive dish when I was a child. We would have it whenever my parents had non-Vietnamese friends to our house for dinner. I would help with cracking the crab and gathering the crab meat. Corn starch, used as a thickening agent, gives the velvety, thick broth gives the dish a unique texture. While white asparagus doesn't provide a lot of color contrast to the crab, it does complement the flavor quite well.

The authentic version of this soup requires shark fin, but given how expensive it is, crab alone is used instead. The dish still has a luxurious quality, and as such, white asparagus crab soup often appears on the menu at Vietnamese weddings. Now you don't have to crash a Vietnamese wedding to try this dish; make it the next time you throw a dinner party, and I guarantee it will be the highlight of the meal.


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