Food For Four

Canh Chua Rau Muống Tôm (Vietnamese Sour Soup With Prawns And Water Spinach)

Posted on | January 24, 2010 | Recipes, Vietnamese Recipes | 9 Comments

Canh Chua Rau Muong Tom 1

When it comes to canh chua (literally means “sour soup”) most people are familiar with canh chua cá (sour fish soup). There are many different variations to canh chua. Some are cooked with bamboo, eel, chicken, pork ribs or prawns. Undoubtedly the original cooked with fish, tamarind, pineapples, elephant ears, tomatoes and okra is the still the best.

Another version of canh chua my mum usually makes is with prawns and water spinach. My husband much prefers this one because he finds the fish one too fishy. Tamarind is use to give the sour taste in canh chua. I would much prefer to use fresh tamarind for this soup but since I can’t get fresh tamarind I used a tamarind sour soup powder (which has a lot of other seasoning in it).

water spinach

I really like water spinach (rau muống). Every time I see water spinach I think of sauteed water spinach with just garlic; simple and tasty. In winter water spinach is sold for more than $20 kg. Water spinach is now in season so eat up!

Ngò Gai

Garnishing canh chua with rice paddy herb (ngò om) and saw tooth coriander (ngò gai) really enhances this dish (don’t you just love the names of these herbs). This herb is called saw tooth herb. It has a very strong taste and smell which is hard to describe. My parents have an abundance of this herb growing in their backyard.

Canh Chua Tom Rau Muong

Canh Chua Rau Muống Tôm

Serves 6


500g prawns
2 bunches of water spinach
2.5 litres of water
2 tomatoes, sliced in wedges
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoon fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
250g bean sprout
150 okra, cut in half, diagonally
a bunch of saw tooth coriander (ngò gai)
a bunch of rice paddy herb (ngò om)
1 chilli
3/4 packet of tamarind sour soup powder
1 tablespoon oil


1. Individually break the stem of the water spinach into about 10cm long sections (using your hands). Any part that is hard that doesn’t break easily discard (as they are old) and throw any leaves that are bad. Soak and then wash the water spinach.

2. Add oil to a frying pan. Add garlic and fry until fragrant. Add the prawns and sauteed until half cooked and remove from heat.

3. Add boiling water to a large pot. Add the sauteed prawns and garlic into the pot and bring to the boil. Add the tamarind powder, fish sauce, sugar and salt. Stir well and skimming any impurities. Taste and add more of the tamarind powder if want more sour. Bring to the boil.

4. Add water spinach, okra, tomatoes and bean sprout to pot and return to boil. Remove from heat and garnish with chilli, rice paddy herb and saw tooth herb.

Praw Sour Soup

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9 Responses to “Canh Chua Rau Muống Tôm (Vietnamese Sour Soup With Prawns And Water Spinach)”

  1. ravenouscouple
    January 25th, 2010 @ 4:41 am

    Ohh, I like this variation…rau muong and ngo gai is something we haven’t seen in this soup

  2. Katherinw
    January 25th, 2010 @ 9:25 am

    This is very similar to a filipino dish that I make which is called Sinigang. I love sour soups. Its so delicious especially with steamed rice and a splash of fish sauce.

  3. Alisa
    January 25th, 2010 @ 10:40 am

    I’m so excited to come across your site!I love learning new recipes and this one looks really delicious!I saw your site from the foodieblogroll and if you won’t mind, I’d love to guide foodista readers to your site.Just add a foodista widget at the end of this blog post and it’s ready to go.Thanks!

  4. Yenie
    January 25th, 2010 @ 10:43 pm

    @ravenouscouple: Give it a try. It’s different but very good.

    @ Katherinw: The tamarind soup base is similar to other asian sour soups. I love also it with steamed rice.

    @ Alisa: Thank you for letting me know about Foodista.

  5. zmm
    January 28th, 2010 @ 3:18 pm

    A bit like the Thai tomyam soup?
    (ok ok, I’m not exposed much to Vietnamese food, when I eat Vietnamese, it’s always the dry vermichelli with the sauce and lots of vege, and vietnamese springrolls, that’s all)

  6. Yen
    January 28th, 2010 @ 8:37 pm

    Hi Zmm, the sour soup base is similar to tom yum just not as spicy. I guess you can make it spicy if you want to.

  7. chocolatesuze
    February 1st, 2010 @ 1:20 pm

    yum i love tamarind! also, dya have an rss feed?

  8. PiterJankovich
    March 30th, 2010 @ 3:34 pm

    My name is Piter Jankovich. oOnly want to tell, that your blog is really cool
    And want to ask you: is this blog your hobby?
    P.S. Sorry for my bad english

  9. Nhu Luong
    May 29th, 2013 @ 5:29 pm

    I made this today! Delicious!!! Thank you for a wonderful recipe!

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