Canh Chua Tôm – Sour soup for the soul

“She said that this soup would cool you down in a hot summer day, I believed it then, and I still believe it now.”

Every summer, my mom would make us “canh chua cá lóc” aka sour soup with snakehead for lunch. She said that this soup would cool you down in a hot summer day, I believed it then, and I still believe it now. Besides that, who doesn’t love a colourful bowl of soup with different types of veggies and a big piece of fish? Dip the fish in fish sauce with chillies, slurp a spoonful of the hot broth, eat a piece of colocasia gigantea‘s petiole (don’t leave yet, it is actually the petiole of Indian Taro aka dọc mùng) then sweat it all out because of the heat. This sour soup has always been on my list of favourite summer dish!

Now that summer is slowly leaving London, but the sun still stays to hang out for a while, the weather makes me want to have a bowl of canh chua. But mom is not here, and the snakeheads are not easy to find, I have decided to make the alternative: Sour soup with Shrimps! Even It was missing beansprouts and rau ngổ (Limnophila aromatica), the soup came out so nice and beautiful considering this is the first time I try to make this 😁

And the ingredients are:

1. 300gr shrimps, peeled, then marinate in 1tsp salt, 1tsp fish sauce, 1/2tsp black pepper, 1/2 tsp chilli flakes (optional), 1tsp oil

For the veggies, we need:


Don’t forget these petioles!

 I bought the dried one because the fresh ones are hard to find! I soak a handful of them in hot water before cooking. You can add it directly to the soup without soaking it first, but I prefer mine moist and soft like the real ones.  
And this! the soul of this soup! I bought tamarind paste with seeds from the Thai shop, soaked 100gr in a cup of hot water, drained the mixture and got this tamarind juice.

Now, everything is ready for us to cook! 👩‍🍳👩‍🍳👩‍🍳

Step 1: Stir fry the shrimps with some oil and chopped garlic, then put them in a bowl, set aside.


Step 2: In the same pot, stir fry the tomatoes and okras, then pour in 2 cups of water and bring it to a boil. The reason I choose to stir fry these guys first because the tomatoes will give the soup a nice colour and the okras would be less gooey. 


Step 3: Add in the rest of the veggies and the stir fried shrimps along with the tamarind juice.  Add in 1 tbsp of fish sauce and 2 tsp sugar. Taste and adjust the flavour as you like by adding more fish sauce or sugar.

Step 4: Serve yourself a bowl, and don’t forget to garnish with chopped spring onions!

You can eat this with rice if you like! 🍚🍚🍚


I hope you enjoy this, and hopefully this Vietnamese sour soup with shrimps will be a dish you consider making in the summer from now on! 🤣🤣🤣

——–Bon appétit! 👩‍🍳——-




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