Delicious Vietnamese Spicy & Sour Soup Recipe

Welcome to my kitchen, where I specialize in crafting delicious Vietnamese and Asian cuisine. Today I’ll be sharing with you one of my favorite recipes – Vietnamese hot and sour soup, or “canh chua” as it’s known in Vietnamese.

This flavorful soup is bursting with tangy and spicy notes, making it a refreshing yet hearty addition to any meal. With its combination of fresh herbs and vegetables, succulent seafood, and sweet-and-sour broth, this soup is the perfect balance of savory and sweet that will tantalize your taste buds.

But not only is this soup delicious, but it’s also incredibly healthy. Made with fresh ingredients such as tomatoes, pineapples, bean sprouts, and okra, this recipe is packed with vitamins and minerals that can provide numerous health benefits.

The star of the dish, the sour shrimp or fish sauce, adds a natural immunity boost thanks to its high levels of probiotics. This soup is perfect for those looking for a guilt-free meal that’s both nutritious and satisfying.

So put on your apron and let’s get cooking! This recipe is quick and easy to make, so let me guide you through the ingredients list and recipe instructions to create a deliciously healthy Vietnamese hot and sour soup that will keep you coming back for more.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Vietnamese Spicy & Sour Soup
Vietnamese Spicy & Sour Soup

Are you looking for a soup recipe that packs a punch of bold flavors and textures? Look no further than this Vietnamese Spicy & Sour Soup Recipe. Trust me when I say, once you try this soup, you won’t be able to get enough!

Firstly, this soup is bursting with fresh, healthy ingredients like bean sprouts, pineapple, tomatoes, celery and okra. Not only do these vegetables add layers of flavor and texture to the dish, but they also make it incredibly nutritious. You won’t have to sacrifice taste for health with this recipe.

Secondly, the combination of sour and spicy flavors in this soup are a match made in heaven. The tartness from the tamarind paste perfectly balances out the spiciness from the red chilies which gives it a unique and unforgettable taste unlike anything else you’d find in your standard chicken noodle soup.

Lastly, this soup is quick to prepare and easy to make. Whether you’re an experienced chef or someone who’s completely new to the kitchen, this recipe is straightforward to follow and doesn’t require any fancy equipment or complicated steps. It’s also versatile so whether you’re cooking for one or cooking for many you can adjust the recipe accordingly.

In summary, what’s not to love about this Vietnamese hot and sour Canh Chua Soup recipe? The fresh ingredients combined with the sweet and sour flavors make for a truly authentic Vietnamese experience right in your own kitchen. Don’t settle for boring soup when you can have something bold and flavorful that will keep your family coming back for more!

Ingredient List

 Tangy tamarind and fiery chilies make this Vietnamese Spicy & Sour Soup a real winner!
Tangy tamarind and fiery chilies make this Vietnamese Spicy & Sour Soup a real winner!

Let’s start with the ingredients! Here is what you’ll need to make this Vietnamese Spicy & Sour Soup Recipe:

Main Ingredients:

  • 5 cups of water
  • 2 tablespoons of tamarind paste or 1/4 cup of tamarind pulp
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh pineapple
  • 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 shallots, sliced thinly
  • 1 inch ginger, sliced thinly
  • 1 celery stalks, sliced thinly on an angle
  • 6 okras, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 red chili, sliced diagonally (remove seeds for less heat)
  • 2 oz fresh medium shrimp or normal shrimp and fish fillet

Soup Base:

  • 4 cups chicken stock or vegetable broth made with bouillon cubes
  • 2 tablespoons of Thai fish sauce or soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Thickening Agent:

  • Cornstarch mixture made with:
    • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
    • 1 tablespoon of water

To Garnish:

  • Bean sprouts
  • Fresh coriander leaves
  • Lime wedges

These ingredients can easily be found at a grocery store. You might even have a few sitting in your pantry or fridge right now!

The Recipe How-To

 A true taste sensation, this soup is made with fresh herbs, spices and citrusy accents.
A true taste sensation, this soup is made with fresh herbs, spices and citrusy accents.

Now, let’s dive into the juicy details of making this delicious Vietnamese Spicy & Sour Soup. Follow these steps carefully to create a hot, sour and savory soup that will warm your soul.

Ingredients You’ll Need:

  • 5 cups of water
  • Chicken stock (soup base)
  • 1 garlic clove (minced)
  • 2 shallots (minced)
  • 1-inch ginger (sliced)
  • 1 tablespoon of tamarind paste
  • 1 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon of sugar (divided)
  • 1 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon of fish sauce (divided)
  • Salt
  • 2 oz of okra (trimmed and sliced diagonally)
  • 1 cup of tomato wedges
  • 3 red chilies
  • Pineapple chunks
  • Celery stalks
  • 1 lb medium shrimp (head-on, shell-on)
  • 2 tablespoons of cornstarch slurry (cornstarch mixed with water)
  • Bean sprouts for garnish
  • Fresh coriander leaves for garnish
  • Lime wedges

How to Cook:

  1. Bring 5 cups of water and a chicken stock cube to a boil in a large pot. Reduce the heat to low and let the broth simmer.

  2. In a mortar, mash minced garlic, minced shallot, sliced ginger along with the 3 red chilies until a smooth paste forms.

  3. In a separate bowl or container, mix together 1 tablespoon tamarind pulp, 4 cups water, then strain and reserve the liquid.

  4. Add the garlic paste to the boiling broth and stir well. Simmer for another minute or two.

  5. Add sliced okra, tomato wedges, pineapple chunks and celery stalks to the broth. Season with 1 teaspoon sugar, 1 teaspoon fish sauce, and salt. Let them cook for about 5 minutes or until they’re tender.

  6. In a separate pan, sauté the shrimp with a little oil, garlic and shallots until they turn pink. Then, add them to the soup pot.

  7. Add 1 tablespoon sugar and 1 tablespoon fish sauce, then stir in 2 tablespoons of cornstarch slurry to thicken the soup.

  8. Turn off the heat and let the soup infuse for another 5 minutes. Adjust seasoning according to your taste by adding more salt or lime juice.

  9. Ladle the hot and sour soup into bowls, top with some bean sprouts, chopped coriander leaves, lime wedges and serve immediately.

Enjoy a bowl of this quick and easy Vietnamese hot sour soup as a light summer meal, or pair it with steamed rice for a filling dinner. Don’t hesitate to modify this Vietnamese sweet sour soup recipe with your own selection of protein such as chicken or mushroom, or add

Substitutions and Variations

 With a few simple ingredients, you can recreate this popular Vietnamese dish at home.
With a few simple ingredients, you can recreate this popular Vietnamese dish at home.

Ah, the beauty of cooking lies in its endless possibilities. One can always experiment with ingredients and techniques to make something new and exciting. In this section, I’ll show you how to experiment with some substitutions and variations for this Vietnamese Spicy & Sour Soup recipe.

If you are allergic to seafood or simply not a fan, you can try a vegetarian version of this soup by swapping the shrimp with some mushrooms. Shiitake mushrooms work particularly well as they hold up well in soups and have an earthy taste that pairs well with the sourness of tamarind.

For those who don’t like spicy food, fear not! You can still enjoy this soup by simply leaving out the red chilies or reducing their quantity according to your preference. The soup will still be deliciously sour without being too hot.

If you prefer sweeter flavors or want to experiment with new tastes, try adding some fresh pineapple chunks to the soup for a tropical twist. The sweetness of pineapple complements the sourness of tamarind beautifully creating a pleasant taste experience that’s unforgettable.

If you can’t find okra, you can substitute it with some kale leaves or spinach. Both greens are excellent sources of nutrients and their mild flavors work well in soups without overpowering other ingredients.

If you’re feeling adventurous and looking to spice things up, try using Chinese vinegar or rice vinegar instead of tamarind pulp in your soup base. This would give your soup a unique flavor while still maintaining the sour taste typical of this Vietnamese classic.

As always, have fun experimenting in the kitchen and let your creativity guide you. Remember there are no limits when it comes to cooking; only endless possibilities waiting to be explored!

Serving and Pairing

 This soup is perfect for those chilly, rainy nights when you need a little warmth and spice.
This soup is perfect for those chilly, rainy nights when you need a little warmth and spice.

Now that you’ve made this delicious and savory Vietnamese Spicy & Sour Soup, it’s time to enjoy it with the perfect pairings. Here are some tips on how to elevate your sour soup experience.

First off, serving the soup with a side of steaming hot rice to soak up all the delicious broth is an absolute must. Alternatively, if you’re looking for a lighter option, try serving it alongside some vermicelli noodles or bean thread noodles.

When it comes to pairing wine with hot sour soup, opt for a crisp and refreshing white wine such as Riesling, Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc. These wines complement the tangy and spicy flavors in the soup beautifully without overpowering them.

If you prefer beer, a crisp and light beer such as pilsner or lager would be an excellent choice. The clean taste of the beer will balance out the spiciness of the soup.

For those looking for non-alcoholic options, try serving iced tea or coconut water alongside your sour soup to quench your thirst and enhance your meal.

As for garnishing your soup bowl, fresh coriander leaves or Thai basil leaves add a refreshing touch to cut through the heat while bean sprouts add a satisfying crunch. Don’t forget to serve with some lime wedges on the side for an added zing!

With these pairing tips in mind, enjoy your Vietnamese Spicy & Sour Soup to its fullest potential.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 Get ready for a flavor explosion with every spoonful of this vibrant and tantalizing soup.
Get ready for a flavor explosion with every spoonful of this vibrant and tantalizing soup.

Now that you’ve crafted this delicious Vietnamese Spicy & Sour Soup Recipe, it’s important to know how to store, reheat and perhaps even make-ahead some servings.

If you want to make-ahead some portions, you can cook and assemble the soup base without adding the shrimp. Store the soup base in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. When ready to serve, bring the base to a boil before adding in the shrimp and other fresh ingredients.

When storing any leftover soup, ensure to store it in sectioned containers with a tight-fitting lid as it will easily take in strong flavors from other foods in your fridge or freezer. The delicate balanced flavors of your Vietnamese sour soup should not have any overpowering smells or flavors clinging onto it.

To reheat the soup, heat only what is needed so as not to overcook or diminish the original flavors. Heat over low-medium heat in a covered pot until hot. Do not boil the soup, as too much heat can destroy its complexity of flavors.

If you find that your broth has become too thick after storing, add small amounts of additional water while stirring occasionally until you have reached your desired consistency. Don’t be tempted to add too much extra water at once – this could cause an unbalanced flavor profile.

Remember that while this Vietnamese Sour Soup recipe is easy to make and store if done correctly, it is best served fresh and hot for optimal taste and texture.

Tips for Perfect Results

 Whether you're a fan of spicy or sour foods, this soup is sure to satisfy your cravings.
Whether you’re a fan of spicy or sour foods, this soup is sure to satisfy your cravings.

Preparing a hot and sour soup with the perfect balance of flavors requires some secrets that I’d like to share with you. So, let me walk you through some tips that you should keep in mind while making the Vietnamese Spicy & Sour Soup.

First, it is essential to have fresh ingredients because the vegetables and herbs add the freshness and depth of flavor to the soup. The coriander leaves, tomatoes, okra, pineapples, celery and bean sprouts should be purchased fresh and chopped just before cooking. Moreover, when cooking the soup, sauté the shallots until they are translucent before adding garlic cloves and ginger so that they release their full flavors.

Second, use a good quality chicken stock or soup base that provides the foundation of your soup’s flavor. However, do not add too much salt at the beginning as fish sauce can be salty already. When adding fish sauce or tamarind paste to the soup, make sure to taste it frequently to adjust the seasoning accordingly.

Thirdly, while cooking shrimp for this recipe, make sure not to overcook them; otherwise, they might become rubbery. Cook them on medium heat for two minutes, and remove from heat right away.

Also, if you prefer a thicker soup consistency, mix one tablespoon of cornstarch with one tablespoon of water and then add this mixture while stirring continuously for three minutes.

Finally, garnish your soup with fresh lime juice and cilantro leaves just before serving for added freshness.

In conclusion, by keeping these tips in mind you can prepare an excellent Vietnamese Spicy & Sour Soup that will impress your guests with its sweet-sour balance of flavors. Just remember that cooking is an art – experiment with different ingredients and techniques until you find your perfect recipe!


Now that you have learned about the ingredient list, the recipe how-to, and some tips for perfect results, I’m sure you have a lot of questions on your mind. Don’t worry! I’m here to answer them for you in this FAQ section. So let’s dive into some commonly asked questions about this Vietnamese Spicy & Sour Soup Recipe.

Is Vietnamese hot and sour soup healthy?

Hot and sour soup is a nutritious dish that provides various minerals and vitamins that are essential for our health. It contains manganese, which supports bone development and enhances our body’s metabolic rate. Additionally, it is a good source of vitamin B-6, iron, phosphorus, and magnesium.

Is Vietnamese sweet and sour soup healthy?

This soup boasts a delightful combination of pork, catfish, and a variety of Vietnamese vegetables, making it a nutritious and delicious choice for any occasion, especially during the festive season. Plus, it is incredibly simple to prepare.

What is the broth made of in hot and sour soup?

The base of Chinese Hot and Sour soup hinges on a savory chicken stock infused with traditional Asian seasonings like soy sauce, sugar, pepper, and ginger. A touch of cornstarch/cornflour adds a subtle thickness to the soup, providing a lustrous finish that beautifully envelops the ingredients with each spoonful.

What is the long black thing in hot and sour soup?

The key ingredients for this recipe are two varieties of dried mushrooms commonly used in traditional Chinese cuisine. One of them is the popular shiitake mushroom while the other is the lesser-known wood ear mushroom, also known as cloud ears or black fungus mushrooms. These mushrooms are typically sold in dried form and can be found in Asian supermarkets.

Bottom Line


Now that you have learned how to make Vietnamese Spicy & Sour Soup, it’s time to gather your ingredients and give it a try. With its unique blend of flavors, this hot and sour soup recipe is sure to become a go-to dish for any occasion.

Not only is this soup delicious, but it’s also healthy and packed with nutrients. The combination of fresh vegetables, protein-rich shrimp, and flavorful broth made from chicken stock and tamarind paste makes for a perfect meal that is low in calories but high in taste.

So whether you’re looking to impress your guests or just want to feed your family something quick and easy to make, this Vietnamese sour soup recipe will not disappoint. With its sweet yet tart flavors, it’s the perfect meal for any day of the week.

So don’t be afraid to experiment with different variations of this recipe. Perhaps try adding some rice noodles or tofu for added texture or swap out shrimp for chicken or mushrooms for a vegetarian option.

In conclusion, I believe that once you’ve tasted this soup, you’ll find yourself making it again and again. So gather your ingredients, follow these simple steps, and enjoy your delicious bowl of Vietnamese Spicy & Sour Soup today!

Vietnamese Spicy & Sour Soup

Vietnamese Spicy & Sour Soup Recipe

This is a recipe that I have had for many years and for the life of me, cannot remember where I got it. But I do remember that it tastes very much like the soup I adored from South Vietnam, a small Kingston, Ontario Vietnamese restaurant. This is one of those foods that is great during the winter or also great when one feels the start of the cold. And by the way, don't skip the coriander leaves as garnish, they really add to the soup!
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Prep Time 25 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Vietnamese
Calories 277.8 kcal


  • 450 g medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 5 ml cornstarch, for dusting
  • 45 ml peanut oil
  • 1 1/2 liters chicken stock
  • 30 ml tamarind paste
  • 80 ml water
  • 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
  • 350 g pineapple, fresh, peeled and cubed
  • 1 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 250 ml okra, thinly sliced
  • 2 red chilies, thinly sliced
  • 200 g bean sprouts
  • 30 ml Thai fish sauce
  • 10 ml ginger, thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed and roughly chopped
  • 20 ml sugar
  • 2 ml salt
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 125 ml fresh coriander leaves


  • Whisk tamarind with 80 ml water and set aside.
  • Dust shrimp with cornstarch. Heat 30 ml/2 tbsp of oil in large frying pan over medium heat and stir-fry shrimp just until pink, 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • In large saucepan, heat stock and tamarind juice over medium heat. Add celery, pineapple, tomato, okra, ginger, garlic and chilies; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; add sprouts. Stir in fish sauce, sugar and salt.
  • Heat remaining 15 ml/1 tbsp oil in frying pan and stir-fry shallots until golden, taking care not to burn, about four minutes.
  • Add shrimp to soup, stirring to combine. Remove from heat and serve, garnished with shallots and fresh cilantro. Serves 6-8.
  • Note: Try to use fresh pineapple, not canned, for this dish. It makes all the difference.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 401gCalories: 277.8kcalCarbohydrates: 27.4gProtein: 19.6gFat: 10.6gSaturated Fat: 2.1gCholesterol: 102.1mgSodium: 1443.5mgFiber: 3gSugar: 14.9g
Keyword < 60 Mins, Clear Soups, Vegetable
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