Inspired by a soup served at the Lotus Restaurant (Vernon, CT); for Stan's birthday life is worth living!.
Spicy Soup (Chicken or Shrimp) Canh Chua
1 11.8 oz can Tamarind Juice
Chicken Broth or Chicken broth base
Water, if necessary, to bring the volume up to 2 servings
Pinch finely ground Chili pepper, or try Cayenne
1/3 c Celery, sliced across the grain 1/4 -3/8 inches each
1/2 c Pineapple chunks, size of last joint, pinky finger
1/3 c Tomato, also same size, or try grape tomatoes cut in ½
3/4 c Chicken slices, you can use leftover cooked chicken OR
10 cooked shrimp, peeled & deveined
1 c Bean Sprouts
2 T scallions, sliced thin
Bring the Tamarind Juice to a slow boil. Add some chicken broth base or chicken broth. Careful! Don’t make it too salty. You may want to add some water to get the right strength of tamarind flavor without being too sweet. Add some chili or Cayenne pepper. Taste to check for hotness.
Cook the celery a few minutes until it is crunchy; don’t let it get soft. Add the pineapple and tomato chunks and heat thoroughly. Then add the cooked chicken (if you are using uncooked chicken, you will need to cook it a little longer: using cooked chicken assures that you will not “cloud” the broth by cooking chicken in it).
Add the bean sprouts, give the soup a boost of heat but don’t cook the bean sprouts (i.e. just bring back to a boil). Serve in bowls and add chopped scallions as a garnish in the middle.
Peter's original notes:
I used the FOCO brand juice to try this out, then went back to Lotus to fine tune. I got the FOCO juice at ShopRite and bought the six cans that they had. Then I found GOYA brand at BigY. They have different calories per serving and, I suspect, that one is sweeter than the other, so you will have to make some adjustments to your personal taste. But be assured the Lotus soup has some sweetness to it, along with the heat of the hot pepper, and the freshness of the vegetables. The tamarind flavor, along with the dietary fiber, is one of the special features of this soup.
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