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Napa cabbage and shrimp soup

Updated: Apr 25, 2021

Yes, I do occasionally cook some super simple dishes, and this soup is exactly what you need on a cold lazy day without any effort. A light Vietnamese soup with delicate, divine flavors, this soup warms the soul. I love Vietnamese cuisine, this distinct cuisine spans the spectrum from delicate, like this soup and pho to deep flavors like claypot catfish. I have quite a few Vietnamese cookbooks on my bookshelf, and definitely don’t cook from them often enough. I used extra-large shrimp and was very happy with them in this soup. I also prefer the Napa cabbage with a touch of crunch, so I added it last rather that earlier on. The light broth, the crunchy greens and tender shrimp are perfect together. I love this cookbook, it has quite a few of the usual recipes, as well as, many others, all of which I cannot wait to try. This is an excellent cookbook for an introduction to this beautiful culture.

For more recipes from this cookbook click here.


1 tablespoon neutral oil

1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced

1 heaping tablespoon dried shrimp, rinsed under hot water and chopped (optional)

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon fish sauce

6 cups water

3 cups firmly packed thinly sliced napa cabbage (1/4-inch wide ribbons)

1/2 pound large or medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

1/8 teaspoon white pepper

1 scallion, green part only, thinly sliced

In a 4-quart saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook gently on medium heat stirring occasionally, for about 4 minutes, or until fragrant and soft. Do not brown the onions. Add the dried shrimp if using, salt, and fish sauce and cook for about 30 seconds to develop the flavors. Add the water, raise the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. If you are not serving the soup right away, turn off the heat and cover.

Just before serving, return the soup to a simmer. Drop in the shrimp. When the shrimp have turned pink and curled, 4-6 minutes depending on size, add the pepper. Taste and add extra salt or fish sauce, if necessary. Add the cabbage and simmer for 30 seconds. Ladle into a serving bowl and garnish with the scallion. Serve immediately.

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