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Vietnamese buddhist sour soup

When I think of healthy food I think of this soup. It is a super simple soup to make but has great flavour. Buddhist cooking has always been quick and easy but is also known for its nutritional value. This soup is a great example of that style of cuisine.

The soup flashes with tartness from the tamarind but the flavours change to herb and it finishes with a gentle spice. The pineapple adds a touch of sweetness that makes this soup so addictive. The light broth is very flavourful and packed with nutrition from all the vegetables and herbs. I love to add edamame beans to this soup, it adds colour and a wonderful flavour, but it was not in the original recipe.

This is a soup for everyday healthy living, but also when you are sick.

This was the first cookbook I bought by Naomi Daguid, and was immediately transported to wonderful meals at small tables across Thailand, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. A wonderful collection of recipes in a beautiful, coffeei-table cookbook, mine stays in the kitchen! There are tons of recipes to explore, and lots of anecdotes and stories to tie the cuisine to the land and culture. One of my favourite cookbooks!

For more recipes from this book click here.


2-3 tablespoons tamarind paste

5 cups water

1 generous cup pineapple cut into small chunks

2 medium tomatoes cut into small wedges

3 tablespoons sugar

1 boxes firm tofu

2 - 3 baby bok choi or 1/2 cup Napa cabbage

1/4 cup edamame (optional)

1 teaspoon soy sauce

Salt, as needed


Cilantro, minced

2-3 Thai Chillies, minced

Bean sprouts

Basil leaves, roughly torn

Fried shallots

Add water, tamarind pulp, tomato and pineapple and bring to a boil. Bring to a boil and simmer for 6 minutes. and add the sugar, salt and tofu and simmer gently for 2 more minutes.

Add the soy sauce and simmer for 1 minute. Turn off the heat. The tomatoes should still be whole and barely cooked.

When ready to serve, heat up and add the bok choi and allow to sit for 2-3 hours to allow the flavours to mingle. Serve in bowls with all the garnishes so that each guest can top the soup to their liking.

Note: To fry the shallots, thinly slice them and sauté in 1-2 tablespoons of oil till a light brown. Remove and drain on paper towels.

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