Saturday, July 5, 2014

Canh Chua

Reid and I have been growing a couple of vegatables in our raised beds and have now been able to get a good harvest of green beans, lettuce, okra, tomatoes, jalepenos, and herbs (mint, basil, rosemary, sage, green onions).  There's nothing that quite compares to the freshness of being able to cut your own vegatables or herbs to use on hand while cooking. Knowing the work you've put into the products and what is (or isn't in it, like pesticides) makes everything taste better, too. This summer we were so lucky to get lots of rain, that I ended up with tons of okra.  So, I asked my mom to teach me how to make Canh Chua, Vietnamese sour soup.  Having always loved sour foods, it was one of my favorite soups growing up.  It is savory, fishy, sweet, and warming and is great over rice.

Ingredients:
1/2 lb shrimp
Cat fish (optional)
3 kefir lime leaves, halved and slightly bruised to release oils
4 green onions, sliced in two inch pieces
1/2 lb okra, trimmed and cut in half
2 tomatoes, quartered
32oz chicken or seafood broth
2 tbs Fish sauce
2 rock sugar
1 Thai bird chili
A quarter pineapple,  chunked
Fried garlic
Fried onion
2 tbs Knorr or Sarap brand tamarind soup mix
Fresh cumin
Bean sprouts

Directions:
1. Bring broth and kefir leaves to a boil.  Add fish sauce, rock sugar, and tamarind mix; adjust to taste. 
2. Once broth is boiling, add pineapple, tomatoes, and okra. 
3. Add shrimp (and/or fish) and cook until done, about 1-2 minutes for shrimp.
4. Adjust fish sauce, tamarind mix and rock sugar to achieve balance of salty, sour, and sweet. 
5. Serve over rice and bean sprouts, top with lime juice, fried garlic, fried onion, and Thai red chili.