The first time I tasted this soup was in Central Vietnam a few years back. It was a welcome and unexpected change from all the Pho we had been having. Canh chua is often made with seafood, especially in the Southern Delta area, but this simple vegetarian version, is popular in Central and Northern areas. Its clean bright flavors feel very healing. Even though tomatoes are sadly out of season, I make an exception for this recipe, because I’ve come to crave it so much. Plan ahead and let the tomatoes soften and ripen on the counter for a few days before making the soup.
( based on 4 servings)
Vietnamese Hot and Sour Soup
Hot and Sour Vietnamese Soup with Tamarind
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 15 mins
- Total Time: 25 mins
- Yield: 2-4
- Category: Soup
- Cuisine: Vegan
- ½ onion- diced (1 cup)
- 1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil
- 3-4 cloves garlic chopped
- 2 Cups sliced mushrooms (shiitakes or cremini)
- 4 Roma or vine ripened tomatoes- diced into 1 inch pieces
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp kosher salt plus more to taste
- ½ tsp fresh cracked pepper
- 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce ( if using veggie stock)
- 8 oz firm tofu, cut into ¾ inch cubes
- 1 Tablespoon tamarind paste (or tamarind concentrate) or sub lime juice
- ¼ Cup chopped cilantro
- ¼ Cup chopped chives or scallions
In a Medium pot, heat oil over medium high heat, add diced onions. Saute until tender, stirring often, about 4 – 5 minutes. Turn heat to medium, add garlic, and mushrooms. Saute until mushrooms are just tender, about 3-4 more minutes. Add tomatoes, sugar, salt and pepper. Saute until tomatoes begin to melt, about 2-3 minutes.
Add stock and soy sauce (optional). Add tofu and tamarind paste ( or lime juice). Bring to a boil, and let simmer for 3-4 minutes. Taste for balance. Add salt to taste.
Serve in a bowls with chopped cilantro and chives and chili flakes.
Serves 2 for dinner or 4 as a starter.