One doesn’t usually associate pineapple with soup, but in southern Vietnam, Canh Chua is a popular soup that incorporates fish or shrimp. I associate it with winding bus trips down the mountains through the towns on the way to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). It’s been more than a decade since I’ve had it, but with the healthy recipe challenge to use pineapple and greens, I decided it was time to try making this colorful soup at home.
Finding the Vietnamese greens and herbs in my neighborhood stores was not possible, so I used turnip greens and cilantro instead of the traditional Vietnamese herbs and vegetables. The results were still delicious, thanks to the tang of the tamarind, pineapple, and tomato.
This soup is my second entry into the Fiesta Friday Healthy Recipe Challege!
Vietnamese Shrimp and Pineapple Sour Soup
- 12 to 16 ounces (340 to 450 g) raw shell-on shrimp, deveined
- 3/4 cup turnip greens or napa cabbage, chopped
- 2 Roma tomatoes, cut into 2-cm pieces
- 1 cup fresh pineapple, cut into thin, bite-sized pieces
- 3/4 cup fresh bean sprouts or thinly sliced napa cabbage
- 3/4 cup fresh or frozen okra*, sliced, optional
- 1 to 2 stalks lemongrass, bruised and cut into 2-inch pieces
- 2 to 3 teaspoons (or more to taste) seedless tamarind
- 1 shallot, diced
- 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons cooking oil
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- fish sauce, to taste
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro sprigs, optional
*Sliced Chayote squash may be substituted for okra if desired.
- Sauté shallot, garlic, lemongrass, and tamarind in a soup pot or large sauce pan. Add 4 to 5 cups of water and heat to boiling. Meanwhile, remove shells from shrimp and add shells only to the hot water to make stock. Let simmer for 15 to 20 minutes before removing shrimp shells. Reserve the raw shrimp to add later.
- Add tomatoes, greens, pineapple, and okra (or squash) to stock and let simmer until softened. Add salt and fish sauce to taste. Add shrimp and cook until they change to pink in color. Turn off heat. Add bean sprouts just prior to ladling soup into bowls. Top soup with fresh cilantro.
Recipe adapted from Wandering Chopsticks