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Tamarind Soup (Canh Chua Me)

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Product Description

Canh chua is a sour soup indigenous to the Mekong Delta of South Vietnam. It is typically made with fish from the Mekong River Delta, pineapple, tomatoes, okra, taro stems (bac hà), and bean sprouts (giá), in a tamarind-flavored broth.  It is garnished with the lemony-scented herb ngò ôm (Limnophila aromatica), caramelized garlic, and chopped scallions (cilantro), as well as other herbs, according to the specific variety of canh chua; these other herbs may include rau ram (Vietnamese coriander), ngò gai (long coriander), and rau que (Thai basil).

When made in style of a hot pot, canh chua is called Lau Canh Chua.

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Mother of Perpetual Help Parish
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Garland TX  75044

Serves 4-6


  • 5 cups shrimp or fish stock (see Directions for Fish Soup Stock below)
  • 2 oz (60 g) sugar
  • 4 tbsp (tablespoon) fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp tamarind powder
  • 1 tbsp sour shrimp paste or Tom Yam paste (instant hot and sour paste).
  • 6 oz (170 g) white fish fillets such as catfish, cod or halibut
  • 1 cup sliced pineapple
  • 4 fresh okra pods
  • 1 tomato, wedged
  • 2 cups bean sprouts
  • 2 cups sliced fresh taro stem

Garnish:  Fresh mint leaves, shredded Chili peppers, sliced

Sour Shrimp Paste:  Thick paste made from shrimp, garlic, sugar, vinegar and chili pepper.  It is used as a base for spicy pot dishes or soups.  Those bottles of sour shrimp paste are usually sold in Asian grocery stores.


  1. Cut fish fillets into serving pieces
  2. Slice okra and taro stems diagonally.  Cut drained pineapple into chunks.
  3. In a large pot, place the stock and seasonings.  Stir and bring to a boil.  Add the fish pieces and cook for 3 minutes over medium heat.
  4. Add all vegetables except for mint leaves and chili.
  5. Continue to cook for 5 minutes.  Serve hot garnished with mint leaves and chili.

Fish Soup Stock – Makes about 12 cups:

  • 1-2 fish heads
  • Some fish bones
  • 1-2 dried chili
  • 1 stalk celery
  • ½ onion
  • 1 slice fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon (tbsp) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon  (tsp) salt

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