With tamarind, pineapple, sugar and rice paddy herbs, this soup is very rich with contrast, and a signature Southern Vietnamese dish. It provides a sweet and sour edge; while bean sprouts, taro stems, okra and tomatoes offer some crunchy, spongy and soft textures. This soup is served over vermicelli round rice noodles or jasmine rice.
Serves 2 as a main, or 6 as part of a shared feast.
10 1/2 oz tamarind paste or 1/4 cup Tamarind Liquid
1 cup warm water
4 cups fish stock
1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup bite size chunks fresh pineapple
1 medium whole catfish, cut into 3/4 inch slices or 3/4 lb catfish fillet, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 tomato, seeded, cut into wedges
1 wood ear mushroom, sliced on the diagonal
10 okra, sliced in half on the diagonal
2 cups bean sprouts
1/2 taro stem, peeled off skin, sliced into 1 inch pieces
1 bunch rice paddy herb, chopped
1 tbsp fried shallots
2 tsp fried garlic
1 bird’s eye chili, chopped
5 or 6 sprigs cilantro, coarsely chopped
Dissolve the tamarind paste in the water. Work the paste until dissolved and then strain the liquid through a fine sieve, discarding the paste. Combine the fish stock, tamarind liquid, fish sauce, pineapple and sugar in a large clay pot and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer, add the catfish pieces to the pot and simmer for 5 minutes, or until the catfish are tender but still firm. Taste and add extra salt or fish sauce, if necessary. If you’re not serving the soup right away, turn off the heat and cover.
Just before serving, add the tomato, wood ear mushroom, okra, bean sprouts, and taro stems to the pot and return to a boil again. Garnish with the cilantro, rice paddy herb, fried shallots, fried garlic and chili. Ladle into a serving bowl and serve immediately. Serve with jasmine rice or vermicelli noodles.
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Tags: asian cooking, asian food, can chua ca, canh chua ca recipe, sour fish sauce with tamarind recipe, viet food, vietnamese cuisine, vietnamese food, vietnamese recipes, vietnamese soup, vietnamese sour soup