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Vietnamese sweet and sour fish soup

canh chua fish mekong delta recipe rice vietnamese food

Recipe & Photos: Lili Tu

Canh chua is a light and refreshingly fragrant soup from Mekong Delta region. It’s the best to use fatty fish like salmon, silver perch or kingfish cutlets for the soup. Pair it with caramelised clay pot fish and steam rice or serve it with rice vermicelli as one pot wonder for a weekday meal.

Tamarind water can be bought in Asian groceries or can be made with tamarind paste. Simply dissolve ½ teaspoon of tamarind paste with 2 tablespoons of water to create enough tamarind water for this recipe.   

Canh chua recipe

Main Ingredients: 

  • 2 salmon cutlets
  • ½ pineapple, peeled, sliced into bite-sized pieces
  • 200g okra, sliced ( optional )
  • 1 taro shoot
  • ¼ cup tamarind water
  • 2 tomatoes, cut into wedges
  • 250g bean sprouts
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch rice paddy herbs, chopped
  • 2 spring onions, chopped
  • Chilli and fish sauce to serve


  1. Peel the outer layer of taro shoots and slice them on the diagonal. Slice the okra on the diagonal as well. Rinse the bean sprouts. 
  2. Peel and slice the taro shoots. Fry the garlic in a pan with 1 tablespoon oil until golden. Take off the heat and put aside.
  3. In a saucepan, bring 1litre water to the boil. Add pineapple, tomato and cook for few minutes until the tomato tender. Add fish, tamarind, okra, salt and bring back to boil again. Skimming off any foam that floats to the surface.
  4. Season with fish sauce and sugar then remove from the heat. Transfer the salmon to serving plate and soup to serving bowls and top with rice paddy herb, spring onion, fried garlic and optional chilli.
  5. Serve hot with steam rice and bowl fish sauce with chilli on the side.

Note: If using canned pineapple, add the syrup to the soup as well but reduce the tamarind and sugar when seasoning. 

canh chua


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