We got a small taste of a cold front earlier this week, and it got me craving this week’s Mom’s 52 dish – Canh Ra Gim, or Mixed Vegetable Soup w/ Pork. When it gets cold outside, this is an easy, hearty recipe to warm up your family.
This vegetable soup is not a dish you’d find on the menu of a typical Vietnamese restaurant. Instead, when my siblings and I were young, Mom took the basic idea of canh, or Vietnamese soup, and combined it with what she had on hand to create a dinner miracle one busy evening after a hard day’s work. Since then, Mom made for us this Mixed Vegetable Soup w/ Pork dish many times over the years. The great thing about this recipe is that you too can use the vegetables you simply have on hand, even those from the freezer.
Canh Ra Gim – Mixed Vegetable Soup w/ Pork
INGREDIENTS – to serve 6-8:
- 2 lbs. of pork spare ribs, cross cut, then sliced between the ribs to yield individual pieces (suon non, at the Vietnamese market)
- 1.5 gallons of water
- 1 tsp. of salt
- 1 can (14.5 oz.) chicken broth
- 2 Tbsp. of nuoc mam, aka fish sauce
- 2 Tbsp. of sugar
- 1 tsp. bot nam, or mushroom seasoning (optional) [touted as an "MSG substitute" on labels]
- 2 packages (12 oz. each) of frozen mixed vegetables, plus 1 C. of fresh carrots, peeled & chopped. -OR- 7 C. of any vegetable mix you have on hand, frozen/fresh/both.
- pepper, chopped cilantro, and sliced green onions, for garnish
STEP 1: BLANCH THE PORK SPARE RIBS
It’s tempting to try to cut out this step, but Mom says it’s important to do this to yield a clear vegetable soup and minimize the work you’ll later have to do to skim the scum off the top of your soup. This step “cleans” the meat.
- Boil 1/2 a gallon of water in a large stockpot using high heat.
- Once the water boils, gently add the spare ribs and stir for 10 seconds.
- Drain by carefully pouring the pot contents into a colander over the sink.
- Rinse the pot well, as it will be used in Step 2 below.
- Rinse the drained meat well and drain again.
STEP 2: MAKE THE SOUP BROTH
- Using the same large stockpot from Step 1, bring a gallon of water to a boil using high heat. Covering the stockpot will help the water come to a boil faster.
- Add to the boiling water the following: 1 tsp. of salt, 1 can of chicken broth, 2 Tbsp. of nuoc mam, 2 Tbsp. of sugar, and (optional) 1 tsp. of bot nam. Gently stir to combine.
- Slowly add the blanched pork ribs to the seasoned soup broth. After a couple of minutes, skim the scum that has surfaced to the top. Turn the heat down to low to maintain a low boil. Continue to skim the scum, as needed.
- After 15 minutes, add to the broth any firm vegetables you are using, i.e. carrots.
- After an additional 15 minutes, add the rest of your vegetables, i.e. the frozen vegetables. Stir.
- After 10 minutes, turn off the heat. Ladle into serving bowls, garnished with chopped cilantro, sliced green onions, and a sprinkle of pepper. Serve with a side of jasmine rice.
Was this Mom’s 52 recipe helpful? Do you have any questions about this recipe? Please post your comments below. If I don’t know the answer, I’ll send your question to Mom!
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