Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Ca Nau Ca Chua (Vietnamese Dilled Tomato-Fish Soup)


This fragrant soup is very light, subtle, and extremely low calorie. Served in large bowl portions, it is an excellent appetite suppressant. Don't be put off by the fish sauce (nuoc mam or the like)--added to broth it merely acts, like salt, to season the dish. Serve hot to 4-6.

  • 1 Tablespoon peanut oil
  • 1 pound fish fillets, cut in triangle shapes (cod, snapper, perch, or whatever looks fresh)
  • 3 tomatoes, peeled and cut into triangle shapes
  • 1 onion, cut into eighths
  • 2 Tablespoons nuoc mam or other fish sauce
  • 2 quarts water
  • 2 celery stalks, cut into a fine julienne
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh dill, minced
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • Garnish: additional nuoc mam, sprigs of dill, and, for heat, stir in Vietnamese chili-garlic sauce (tuong ot toi Viet Nam).
  • Heat the oil in a large pot and add fish--saute til lightly browned. Add the tomatoes, onion, and nuoc mam and simmer for 5 minutes. Pour in the water and bring to a boil. Cook at a low boil for 15 minutes.
  • When ready to serve, stir in the celery, the dill, and the black pepper. Let cook a minute or two then ladle into bowls. Top each with a dill sprig. Serve with extra nuoc mam and with chili-garlic sauce for those who like it hot.

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