Vietnamese Sweet & Sour Soup with Salmon
Whenever I went to a Vietnamese restaurant I usually stuck to what I knew I liked, Pho. One time my husband decided to order a Sweet & Sour Clam soup to share, and it was love at first bite (sip?). This recipe is an adaptation of that. It's one I make often (almost every week) because it's healthy and full of flavour. As I mentioned, the more traditional soup I tried had clams in it. I swapped those for salmon because I like the taste of salmon better, it's a great source of omega-3 fatty acids (healthy fat), it's a little easier to find, and easier to clean and cook with. If you prefer a different fish or clams you can go for that instead of salmon. Also I should mention, there is fruit in this soup. I found this really weird at first because I had never seen or tried it before, BUT I'M TELLING YOU, it's amazing! Maybe it's like the pineapple on pizza idea..it's not for everyone, but somehow it works, and you should try it before you form an opinion on it. The fruit adds this sweet essence to the other salty, spicy, sour, and herby flavours to give that complex, rich taste of asian cuisine that I love. I like mine with a lot of dill because its adds an aromatic, fresh, delicate oomph to the dish. I always make a big batch of this recipe and warm up leftovers for lunch days after, I never get sick of it.
OK, LETS GET TO IT.
Yields 4-6 servings. Prep time: 20, Cook Time: 20 minutes Total: 40 minutes
*To make this vegetarian or vegan, omit the salmon, use vegetable stock instead of chicken, and a vegan fish sauce.
- 4 packs of fresh salmon fillet (the regular sized fillet portions you buy in the supermarket) (omit if vegan)
- 1 block of firm tofu
- 2 tomatoes, cut into wedges
- a handful of spring onion, chopped
- 30g of tamarind pulps (I explain what that is below)
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- small handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
- big handful of fresh dill, chopped (I like to use the stems too)
- 2-3 fresh red chilies, sliced, seeds removed
- 1/4 pineapple, thinly sliced
- 1-2 green star fruit, thinly sliced (if you can't find this it's ok, I've made it without it and it still tastes great- sometimes these are hard to find).
- 1 tbsp of fish sauce (or vegan fish sauce)
- 1/2 cup of boiling hot water
- 2 cups of chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
- 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 3 tsp of sugar
After reading the ingredients, your first question may be: what's tamarind pulp? ....because mine was.
Tamarind pulp is a kind of fruit used as a souring agent in food. It's popular in East Indian, Middle Eastern, and Asian cuisines, and it's also an ingredient in Worcestershire sauce. Basically, this is going to put the 'sour' in our 'sweet and sour' soup.
- Chop up all of your ingredients and have them ready so that the recipe goes fast, smooth, and nothing is overcooked.
2. Soak the tamarind pulps in boiling hot water, stirring it around to break up the chunks. Set it aside.
3. in a large soup pot, heat up the vegetable oil, then add the tomatoes and fry for a couple of minutes until they are tender.
4. Add in the garlic and fry until slightly golden.
5. Add 1 cup of water and bring to a boil.
6. Add the pineapple, starfruit, and tamarind water (discard the chunks).
7. Pour in the 2 cups of chicken stock, and sugar. Bring to a boil
8. Add in the salmon, tofu, dill and spring onion. Cover with lid, bring to a boil and cook for 3 minutes (until salmon is cooked)
9. Add 1 chopped red chilli (half of what you chopped-save other half for garnish, so you can adjust the spice according to your liking). Stir and cook for another 5 minutes.
10. Pour into a bowl. Optional garnish: fresh cilantro and chopped fresh red chillies.
This soup is hearty and filling on it's own, but you could serve some steamed rice with it because strong flavours with simple steamed rice match really well. Another option is to add some vermicelli noodles into the soup.
Let me know your thoughts if you make this! Or if you make any changes to make it even tastier!