The HOT AND SOUR FISH soup Recipe the tangy soup, canh chua ca, is found throughout south eat asia with the balance of hot, sweet and sour flavours carying from cambodia to vietnam. Chillies provide the heat, tamarind produces the tartness and the delicious sweetness comes from pineapple.


1 catfish , sea bass or red snapper,
about lkg/2 1f4 Ib, filleted
30m l/2 tbsp nUDe mam
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
25g/10z dried squid, soaked in water
for 30 minutes
15mlll tbsp vegetable oil
2 spring on ions (scallions), sliced
2 shall ots, sliced
4cm/11f2in fresh root ginger, pee led
and chopped
2-3 lemon grass stalks , cut into str ips and crushed
30m 1/2 tbsp tamarind paste
2-3 Tha i chilli es, seeded and sliced
15m 1/1 tbsp sugar
30-45ml/2- 3 tbsp nUDe mam
225g/80z fresh pineapple , pee led
and diced
3 tomatoes, skinned, seeded and rough Iy chopped
50g/20z canned sliced bamboo
shoots, drained
1 sma ll bunch fresh coriander
(cilantro), sta lks removed, leaves
fi ne ly chopped
salt and ground black pepper
115g/40zf1!2cup beansprouts and
1 bu nch dill, fronds rough Iy chopped , to garnish
1 lime, cut into quarters, to serve

1 Cut the fish into bitesize pieces, mix with the nUGe mam and garlic and leave to marinate. Save the head, tail and bones for the stock . Drain and rinse the soaked dried sq uid.

2 Heat the oil in a deep pan and stir in the spring on ions, sha llots, ginger, lemon grass and dried squid . Add the reserved fish head, ta il and bones, and saute them gently for a minute or two. Pour in 1.2 litres/2 pints/5 cups water and bring to the boi l. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

3 Strain the stock into another deep pan and bring to the boi l. Stir in the tamarind pa ste, chi ll ies, sugar and nUGe mam and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Add the pineapple, tomatoes and bamboo shoots and simmer for a further 2-3 minutes. Stir in the fi sh pieces and the chopped fresh coriander, and cook until the fish turns opaq ue.

4 Season to taste and ladle the soup into hot bowls. Garnish with beansprouts and dill, and serve with the lime quarters to squeeze over.

• Depending on your mood, or your pa late, you can adjust the balance of hot and sour by adding more chil li or tamarind to taste. Enjoyed as a meal in itse lf, the soup is usually served with plain steamed rice but in Ho Chi Minh City it is served with chunks of fresh baguette, which are perfect for soaking up the spicy, fruity, tangy broth.

• Other fresh herbs, such as chopped mint and basil leaves, also complement this soup.

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