Canh Recipes

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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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Tofu Miso Soup Recipe

Tofu Miso Soup

03.17.10 by Jackie

Tofu miso soup is very soothing. My little munchkin caught a bad cold and I thought the simple, clear broth would help with her congestion. To make the soup, I started by preparing a kombu dashi (Japanese stock) with fresh ginger. To make the traditional non-vegetarian version, just add shavings of bonito flakes, or dried and fermented tuna.

Once the stock was ready, I seasoned it with white miso paste. No salt is necessary as the miso paste is already well seasoned. Miso soup can be served with cubed tofu and accompanied with other vegetables such as soybean sprouts, enoki and shiitake mushrooms or baby spinach.

Miso paste is a fermented rice and soybean combination. I chose white miso paste which is fermented for a few weeks as opposed to regular miso (several months). I find the flavor to be less salty with a subtle sweetness. Don't be frightened by the size of miso containers sold in markets. Miso paste stores well in the refrigerator and you can make other dishes with it such as Asian salad dressing, other soup broths and vegetarian gravy.


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Vietnamese Fried Bean Curd Soup (Hu Tieu Chay) Recipe

Lulu calls hủ tiếu chay (fried bean curd soup in Vietnamese) the ultimate Asian comfort food. The hearty broth is flavored with bold Asian ingredients, such as ginger, garlic and mushroom seasoning salt. There are a couple of uncommon elements; I used Fuji apples and rock sugar to add a touch of sweetness to the broth, and a Vietnamese variety of cured daikon radish (củ cải khô) that provides the signature flavor of hủ tiếu broth.

The real treat though, is the addition of fried tofu skin. It's used throughout vegetarian Vietnamese cuisine as a substitute for fried pork or chicken skin in mock meat dishes. The texture is crispy, yet chewy, and really shows off the versatility of tofu.

Bean Curd Noodle Soup


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Korean Tofu Soup with Rice Cakes Recipe

Rice cakes are made from glutinous rice flour. We buy them at the Korean market. They're a great alternative to bánh phở or ordinary noodles. What I love most about this product is  that they're made with no additives or preservatives. They're a favorite at our house. The texture is very nice, and works well in a simple, clear vegetable broth. If you're looking for a healthy meal, this is not your average diet cabbage soup.

Korean Tofu Soup with Rice Cakes Recipe with Picture


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Vietnamese Spinach and Shrimp Soup (Canh Mong Toi) Recipe

Canh tôm rau mồng tơi, literally a soup made with tôm, or shrimp and mồng tơi, or spinach, is usually served as a side dish along with steamed jasmine rice and a dish of meat. 

Rau mồng tơi is a tender and sweet leafy vegetable that is unknown in Western cuisine. In Vietnam, it is a staple of lower income people. In fact, there is a saying using this leaf, "Nghèo rớt mồng tơi!", which approximately translates to "dirt poor". Like rau muống, another Vietnamese leafy vegetable, it is quite expensive in America. I've probably said it in the past: immigrants crave the foods of their childhood and are willing to pay more for the memories. And this soup fits the bill.


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