It’s no secret that i am a sucker for fish soup recipes (Canh chua or Canh chua cá). This is probably due to the fact that in Vietnamese tradition, there are either vermicelli bowls or soups generally. It was all I grew-up eating, and I was not displeasured about it. One soup that’s my favorite is called canh chua ca that is the version we have of our sweet and sweet soup. It’s made of catfish, pork, and lots with traditional Vietnamese vegetables. It’s not just healthy, but it’s also easy to prepare and delicious making it the ideal soup to enjoy for the holiday season.
How do you define canh chua ca?
Canh chua is often referred to as Vietnamese sweet and sweet and sour soup, originates from the Mekong Delta in southern Vietnam. It is a tamarind-based broth packed by seafood (typically catfish) from the delta, pineapples along with tomatoes, elephant ear stalks and bean sprouts. The dish is usually served with the white rice as well as Ca Kho To. Similar to many Vietnamese dishes there are tons of interpretations and each family has its individual recipe.
One of the difficulties of cooking the dish Western countries is the availability of ingredients. Many families in these nations are forced to alter their recipes to use the ingredients they have available. My family, for instance, prepares both the traditional and modern version. In the past I shared an contemporary recipe of the recipe using ingredients such as Okra, salmon and celery. It’s the classic version that I ate the most. It contains catfish and elephant ear stalks, and the rice paddy herb. These ingredients are difficult to locate even in major cities like LA which is why I have included substitutes in the next section.
Ingredients, Substitutions and Adjustments
- Pork Pork is the main ingredient in the broth and is only used to add flavor. It is possible to use any pork cut you like, however I suggest using a cut with a bit of bone in it. Bones make the most rich, most delicious broths. The most recommended cuts include bone in pork chops as well as pork ribs.
- Onion It adds sweetness the soup.
- Tamarind Tamarind is the main ingredient of canh chua, and that is what makes it sweet and tart. Fresh tamarind is found in pods, which look similar as snappeas. This fruit has a brown pulp that has seeds in it. It is possible to use fresh tamarind, or half of the mix of tamarind soup.
- Salt to season food
- Pineapple – adds sweetness to soup. You can either use one pineapple or a can (20 grams) of fresh pineapple.
- Ginger Helps cover the fishy flavor of catfish.
- Catfish You can use any catfish cut to make this recipe. I prefer catfish cut into steaks however, you can only get it in specialty stores. If you cannot find catfish anywhere else I’d suggest substituting salmon. Because salmon has more of an edgy taste than catfish, I’d soak the fish in boiling water prior to making the soup.
- The elephant’s stalk of the ear (Bac ha) – This is one of the most classic Vietnamese vegetable that provides texture to soup. If you’re unable to locate the ear stalk, I’d suggest substituting it with celery. Make sure you remove the skin from the vegetable prior to cutting it into pieces.
- Tomatoes You can use any variety of tomato you’d like. Personally, I like Roma tomatoes.
- Bean sprouts add texture to soup. If you are unable to find beans sprouts, then I’d take it out.
- The sugar is granulated provides sweetness to soup.
- rice paddy plant (Ngo Om) – This is an Vietnamese herb with the flavor of citrus. An alternative to this is to sprinkle a bit of lemon basil or cumin.
Which fish do I choose to use?
We are fond of the meatier varieties like cod, grouper catfish, salmon and cod however, Grandma has also used tailors previously. A few families also create a soup with just bone and the head from the fish similar to what we use with the recipe for our Chinese Fish Soup.
It is likely that the flesh close to the bone is more silky than steaks. However, it all comes down to your individual preference!
Why this recipe works
- Fresh tomatoes and fresh pineapple add the flavor of a natural zing to your broth.
- By adding fried garlic, you can keep the flavor extremely aromatic.
- Fish steaks are a great choice because you can have it two ways for meals or soup.
Understanding and using the concept of tamarind
Tamarind is perhaps the most crucial component in the canh chua ca soup since it gives the soup its distinctive sweet and sour flavour. As I said earlier tamarind is available in pods which look like snap peas. Inside the pod are brown pulp, and seeds. Sometimes, it’s the form of a dried brown pulp. This is what you can see above. When making this recipe, it is essential that the pulp and seeds aren’t absorbed in the soup as they can cause cloudiness. In order to prevent this from happening boiling the pulp, then strain it through an fine mesh sieve prior to making it into the soup.
Making Canh Chua Ca
First clean your pork. Put the pork in the soup pot. Fill the pot with water to ensure that it over the pork. Bring it to a boil, then let it simmer for ten minutes. Remove the pork, and discard the liquid. This will clean the pork. Rinse the pot, then put the pork in. The pork should be covered with water that is fresh until it covers the meat. Bring it to a simmer.
After that add the onion, and let it simmer until 1.5 hours. Be sure to check each 30 minutes for impurities. Scoop away any you see. As the soup simmers mix 1 cup of liquid and the tamarind into the small saucepan. Bring the soup to a boil and allow to boil until the tamarind disintegrates. It is possible to accelerate this process using handle of an ice cube in order to break the tamarind. The tamarind is then poured through an fine mesh sieve into the bowl of a small size. Set aside.
When the soup is simmered 1.5 hours After that, add the pineapple into the soup. It will simmer for another 20 minutes. After that, add the catfish in the pan and cook for ten minutes more until it’s cooked. Finally, add the veggies and the tamarind. The soup should be brought to a boil , then serve.
Do you keep your Canh Chua Ca?
If you’ve got leftover soup ensure that you store the fish in a separate container away from soup. If you let it in the soup over night the soup will soften and become soft. Keep it inside an air-tight container within the refrigerator for up 3 days.
What is the best thing to serve canh chua?
Canh chua is typically served along with the ca kho to as well as white rice. Since you’re using catfish already in the soup you can add extra catfish for making ca kho to. Rice that is white can be the ideal for both meals since the blandness of rice is a perfect balance to the strong flavors of the two dishes.
Did you cook this dish?
Disclosure: Should you buy any item through the hyperlink on this website I could earn a small amount of commission from your purchase, at no expense to you. I will also only recommend products I personally utilize. Thank you for all your help!
Other Vietnamese Canh
- Canh Khổ Qua – Stuffed Bitter Melon Soup
- PUMPKIN SOUP (CANH BI DO)
- Canh ca chua trung – Tomato egg drop soup
Canh Chua Ca Recipe- Vietnamese Sweet & Sour Fish Soup
- 1 1/2 lb pork
- 1. Yellow onion Yellow onion
- 1 1/2 oz fresh tamarind
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 Can of pineapple 20 oz
- 1 inch ginger 1 inch in length
- 1 1/2 lb of catfish cut into pieces of 1 inch
- 8-10 oz elephant ear stem cut into chunks
- 3 tomatoes quartered
- 12 oz bean sprouts
- 1 teaspoon sugar granulated
- 1 oz rice paddy herb
- Put the pork in the large soup pot. Fill with water to the point that it over the pork. Bring it to a boil, then let it simmer for ten minutes. Remove the pork, and discard the liquid. This will clean the pork. Rinse the pot, then return the meat. The pork should be covered with water that is fresh until it covers the meat. Bring the water to a boil.
- Add the onion, and cook until 1.5 hours. Be sure to check every 30 minutes for any impurities. Scoop away any you see.
- As the soup simmers while the soup is simmering, mix 1 cup of water and tamarind in a small pot. Bring it to a boil and allow it to boil for a while until the tamarind dissolves.
- You could accelerate this process using spoon's handle in order to break the tamarind. Put the crushed tamarind in the fine mesh sieve and into an ice-cold bowl. Set aside.
- Once the soup has simmered for 1.5 hours After that, add the ginger and pineapple into the soup. Let it simmer for another 20 minutes.
- Add the catfish to the pan and let it simmer for ten minutes or so until cooked to perfection.
- Finally, add the vegetables and the tamarind from step 3. Let the soup come to a simmer and serve it with white rice. Be sure that you taste the soup for the seasoning, and add salt if you find it bland.
- You can make any cut of pork that you prefer to cook this dish. I suggest making use of cuts of pork that have bones, such as bone in pork chops, or pork ribs.
- If you’re unable to locate fresh tamarinds, I suggest you take half of a box of Tamarind soup mix.
- If you’ve got leftover soup ensure that you store the fish in a separate container in a separate container from your soup. If you let your fish inside the soup over night it will turn into mush.
- To add a bit of umami taste Serve this soup with portion of fish sauce to accompany the soup. The catfish can be dipped in the sauce made from fish.