Canh Chua Ca Vietnamese Sour Soup

Canh Chua Ca- a popular sweet, sour and spicy soup from the Mekong Delta of Vietnam is often served as an accompaniment of a larger meal and most often it is served at the end of the meal before dessert.

It is great served with fish or prawns or both, often it contains okra, pickled bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, giang leaves and elephant ear leaf stem or bac ha as it is called in Vietnamese.


Canh Chua Ca Sour Soup with Prawns

Yield: 4 servings


1.5 qts fish stock or sub prawn stock or water
12 prawns peeled and deveined
4 ounces tamarind pulp, seeds removed
1/4 mostly unripe pineapple, peeled, sliced into bite-sized pieces
2 small ripe tomatoes, cut in wedges
100 g palm sugar (2 discs)
2 tbs koshar salt, plus additonal to taste
2 oz fish sauce
1-2 bac ha (elephant ear stems), peeled and sliced 1/2in thick
1 cup okra, sliced
1 red thai chilli thinly sliced
1/2 cup of bean sprouts
10 springs rice paddy herb, roughly chopped or substitute cilantro/culantro stems and leaves chopped
fried garlic


Dissolve the tamarind pulp in equal amounts of hot water, strain and discard the seeds reserving the pulp.

In large pot bring the stock to a boil and then add prawn shells, simmer for 20 minutes and discard the shells. Add the tamarind pulp, tomatoes, pineapple, okra, fish sauce, salt and sugar and bring back to a light simmer for 20 minutes.

Seasoned the shelled prawns with salt and pepper then poach in the soup until done. Finish with the bean sprouts and back ha, adjust seasoning with fish sauce and or sugar to achieve a sweet, sour and savory balance.

Remove from heat and transfer to serving bowl. Finish with rice patty herb or cilantro, fried garlic and chili.

Canh Chua Ca Saigon, Vietnam