I don’t often travel, but February and March brought me on the road and away from my people for nearly two weeks! Anh is completely self sufficient, but the mom-guilt set in hard for the second trip and I spent the day before heading to SXSW in the kitchen preparing easy meals.
Our new go-to canh (soup) is one of Anh’s favorites from his mom. I can’t always find the right greens, but yu choy (similar to Chinese broccoli) is almost always available. Here’s the foundational recipe.
Vietnamese Greens and Shrimp Soup
Canh cải ngọt nấu tôm
- 12 oz chicken broth (or equivalent water + chicken bouillon)
- 1 shallot, thinly sliced
- 1 inch ginger, finely minced
- 1 bunch Yu Choy, chopped in 2 inch pieces
- 1 tbs dried shrimps, soaked in hot water for at least 15 minutes (reserve water)
- 1/4 – 1/2 lb shrimp
- 3 green onions, white bottoms and green tops sliced and separated
- 3 tbs Fish Sauce (to start, the rest to taste)
- 4 tbs Sugar (to start, the rest to taste)
- 2 tbs Mushroom Seasoning (to start, the rest to taste)
- 1 tbs neutral oil
In a stock pot, heat the oil on medium high and add the sliced shallot and minced ginger until fragrant (approx 30 – 60 seconds). Pour in the chicken broth, rehydrated shrimp, fish sauce, sugar and mushroom seasoning.
Bring to a simmer and add shrimp — reducing heat to medium low — and cook until they begin to turn opaque. This time I used the last of a bag of langostino tails, which are delicious, meaty bites. You also could skip the shrimp and opt for firm tofu cubes.
Add in the Yu Choy and taste broth, adjusting seasoning to taste. Go slow and allow the flavors to develop and incorporate before adding more. Simmer for five-ish minutes until the greens are cooked but stems still have a bite.
Serve with a bowl of rice and protein. Grilled pork chops or caramelized ginger chicken are excellent companions for this daily soup.
When we came home with our little one, we were so blessed to have both families nearby to prepare food for us so we could focus on settling in as a family and not worry about nutritious food. My sister in law made a soup I had never tried before to go along with the dry lemongrass pork ribs that Anh loves. Way easier than I thought, Canh Cai Dau Hu – Tofu, Mustard Greens and Pork soup – has quickly become a staple. It cooks up fast and will fill you up even if you don’t have time to prepare a protein. In other words, most days that involve back-to-back nursing sessions, botched naps and blowouts 🙂
Simple and straightforward soup
Canh Cai Dau Hu
Serves 4 with two other dishes, or 2 with plenty of leftovers!
- 1 bunch baby mustard greens, rough chopped
- 1/4 – 1/2 lb ground pork (you can also use chicken)
- 1 package soft tofu, cut in cubes
- 1 small shallot, finely minced
- 4 inch knob ginger, minced and divided
- 6 cups water
- 3-4 tbl Fish Sauce
- 2-4 tbl Sugar
- 1-2 tbl Mushroom seasoning
- 1 tbl neutral oil
Heat oil in a 5 court pot and cook shallot until fragrant. Add 1/3 of the minced ginger, 1 tbl fish sauce and ground pork and mix well until cooked through.
Add water, 2 tbl sugar,1 tbl mushroom seasoning and 1tbl fish sauce and bring to a simmer for 5 minutes. Skim any gunk that rises to the top for a clearer broth. Then you may add the rest of the ginger and cubed tofu. Simmer another 5 minutes and taste, adjusting as needed.
Gently stir in the mustard greens and cook for another 5-7 minutes. Make any final flavor adjustments and top with black pepper.
Serve with rice on the side or in the same bowl.
It’s been a while since I tried a new dish, and this super flavorful soup came to mind as something nice to make my Mr. Bun Mang Vit (boon mong yit) Duck and Bamboo Noodle Soup one of his favorite soups, and we have to visit specific restaurants to get a good serving. After a cursory search on the Web, this dish appeared to be surprisingly simple. Instant win.
There are a lot of steps, but it works out as you can do them in order and the whole meal takes around 45 minutes. Not bad for a from-scratch soup that comes out looking and tasting as delicious as this:
My last recipe post featured one of my favorite meals, Canh Kho Qua (Stuffed Bittermelon Soup), so this weekend for my future hub’s birthday BBQ I made a gigantor pot of Bun Rieu Cua (boon ree-ewe coo-uh), Crab and Tomato Noodle Soup. This is one dish that I got right my first try, and is his favorite Vietnamese soup that I’ve tackled.