Canh Recipes

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Canh Chua Tom Recipe (Vietnamese Shrimp Soup) Recipe

Canh chua tôm literally translates to "sour shrimp soup" in Vietnamese. The name and the flavor come from the combination of kaffir lime leaves, tamarind and pineapple. A hint of spiciness from Thai chiles makes the soup especially soothing. I've been a bit under the weather the past few days and the warm broth worked wonders on my congestion.

There are many variations of this seafood recipe. In this particular version, I mixed oyster mushrooms and fresh water chestnuts, which added crunch to the soup. I served it as a main course, so I added rice round noodles to make the meal complete. If you decide to serve it at an Asian-themed dinner, this canh (soup) is a light way to start a meal.


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Canh Khoai Mo Recipe (Vietnamese Yam and Shrimp Soup) Recipe

Khoai mỡ is an exotic yam that originates from Asia. The root vegetable has a rough, charcoal-colored skin with a creamy flesh. It's grated and cooked until soften. The texture is unique once it's cooked. It's resembles pork fat, hence the word "mỡ", which means "fat" ("khoai" means "potato"). Like many other Buddhist vegetarian dishes, this ingredient is used to imitate meat. However, this time I served it with shrimp balls and taro pieces ("khoai cao") in a soup.

This vegetable was not available in France, so I didn't have it as a child. I first tasted it in a temple in Saigon. It’s very versatile, and can be served either as a dessert or in a "canh" ("soup" in Vietnamese). Khoai mỡ is one of those ingredients that are quite expensive in America but cost almost nothing in Saigon. In Vietnam, this type of root vegetable are planted in great abundance but here, in the US, canh khoai mỡ is more a nostalgic dish that takes you down memory lane if you grew up in Vietnam.


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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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