Canh Chua - Vietnamese Sour Tamarind Soup


1/4 cup peanut oil
4 garlic cloves
1.5 L water
1 Tbs tamarind paste
1/4 cup (50g) palm sugar
2 Tbs fish sauce
1 cup fresh pineapple, cut into small segments
300 g fresh tiger prawns*
2 celery stalks, cut finely at an angle
1 large tomato, cut into wedges
1 cup fresh bean sprouts
Rice paddy herb, finely chopped (substitute with a pinch of cumin)
Coriander, finely chopped
Extra fish sauce for taste
Chopped chilli (optional)


Place peanut oil and garlic in a small frying pan over medium heat. Once the garlic turns golden pour the oil into a small glass bowl. Leave to cool.

Bring the water to a simmer in a saucepan. Add the tamarind paste and palm sugar. Stir gently until the paste and sugar dissolves and the stock comes to a boil. Add the pineapple and allow to simmer for a minute. Add the prawns, once the soup comes back to a simmer take the pot off the heat and add celery and tomato.

Place the bean sprouts in a large soup bowl. Gently pour the soup over the bean sprouts. Sprinkle some rice paddy herb (or cumin) and coriander over the soup. Also, pour a tablespoon of the garlic oil over the soup. Serve with side dish of fish sauce with chopped chilli (optional) and bowls of rice.

Note: you can replace the prawns with any fatty fish (catfish, silver perch or salmon)

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