This is a typical canh - a clear broth
form the north of Vietnam. It is designed to be light, to balance a meal
that may include some heavier meat or poultry dishes. As the soup is
reliant on a well-flavoured, aromatic broth, the basic stock needs to be
rich in taste.
Dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in water for 20 minues
Shallots, halved and sliced
Thai cilies, seedes and slices
Fresh root ginger, peeled and grated or finely chopped
Tofu, rinsed, drained and but into bite-size cubes
Tomatoes, skinned, seeded and cut into thin strips.
Ground black pepper
Coriander (cilantro), stalks removed, finely chopped, for garnishing
Meaty chicken carcass or pork ribs
Dried squid or shrimp, soaked in water for 15 minutes
Onions, peeled and quartered
Fresh root ginger, coarsely chopped
Sea salt, or to taste
To make the stock, put the chicken carcass
or pork ribs in a deep pan.
Drain and rinse the dried squid or shrimp.
Add to the pan with the remaining stock ingredients, except the salt,
and pour in 2 liters water.
Bring the water to the boil, and boil for
a few minutes, skim off any foam, then reduce the heat and simmer gently
with the lid on for 1 1/2 - 2 hours.
Remove the lid and continue simmering for
further 30 minutes to reduce. Skim off any fat, season with salt, then
strain and measure out 1.5 liters.
Squeeze dry the soaked shiitake mushrooms,
remove the stems and slice the caps into thin strips.
Heat the oil in a large pan and stir in
the shallots, chili and ginger.
As the fragrance begins to rise, stir in
nuoc mam, followed by the stock.
Add the tofu, mushrooms and tomatoes.
Bring the stock to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5-10
minutes. Season to taste and scatter the finely chopped fresh coriander
over the top.
Serve piping hot.