Southeast Asia—Vietnamese Pineapple-Fish Soup

 

Vietnamese Souppineapple-soup

Pineapple–Fish Soup
Can mang Chua Thom
(Serves 4-6)

An elegant sweet-sour and spicey soup.


12 oz. cod or halibut (bite-size pieces)
1 tsp. sea or kosher salt
2 C water
______________

2 T oil
1 medium onion (sliced thin)
1 1/2 C fresh pineapple (1" pieces)
1 medium tomato (peeled, seeded, chopped)
8-oz. can bamboo shoots (drained)
1 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. fresh ginger (grated)
1 1/2 tsp. tamarind paste (see sidebar)
1/4 C water
1/8 tsp. dried hot pepper flakes (crushed)
4 C chicken stock
1/4 C lime or lemon juice
salt & pepper to taste
1 T fresh mint leaves (chopped)—garnish

Fish: sprinkle fish with salt, and let sit 15 minutes. In a medium saucepan, boil 2 C water, add fish pieces, and simmer gently till fish is opaque, 3-5 minutes. Remove fish and reserve liquid. Set both aside.

Soup: heat oil in skillet or wok over medium heat, add onion, and cook 5 minuites. Add pineapple, tomato, bamboo shoots, and sugar. Dilute tamarind paste in 1/4 C water and add to pineapple mixture, along with pepper flakes. Add chicken stock and simmer gently over low for 5 minutes.

Assembly: add fish and its liquid to pineapple/chicken broth. Add lime or lemon juice, salt & pepper to taste. Simmer 2-3 more minutes.

Serve: ladle the hot soup into bowls and sprinkle with fresh mint.

| See more SE Asian recipes |

Tips & Glossary

Southeast Asian cuisine seeks a balance of hot, sour, sweet, and salty—all in a single dish. Adjust to suit your taste perferences.

Many of the ingredients below are unfamiliar to Westerners, but you can find most in any local Asian market.

Fish Sauce: a liquid made of fermented anchovies and bottled (like soy sauce).

Galanga: a root related to ginger though with deeper tones of citrus and pine. Tough to slice...use a sharp knife. (If galanga is not to be found, use ginger root.)

Lemon Grass: tall, stalky, critus-flavored grass. Prior to cooking, pound or crush gently to release flavor.

Rice Sticks: aka rice noodles or vermicelli; thin dried noodles from rice flour. Soak before using, about 1 hour, or less, (depending on how soft or chewy you like your noodles.)

Shrimp Paste: fermented, ground shrimp. It carries a pungent aroma but is essential in cooking.

Taffir Lime: a lime bush native to the region. The leaves and pebbly rind (as zest) are used for flavoring, but not the juice. The leaves can be bought dried.

Tamarind: tropical tree grown in Africa and Asia; its fruit pulp is used as souring agent. It’s also found in Worcestershire sauce and some ketchup.

 

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