Vietnamese Sour Shrimp Soup

Soup, beautiful soup.  When it’s cold I like a big bowl of steamy hot soup. So does my mom whom I regularly cook a meal for.  In the search for new things to try, I purchased a packet of Vietnamese sour soup.  No idea where but possibly the Asian grocery store on Stefko Blvd. in Bethlehem.  The packet was in my cupboard for a while and the other day I pulled it out, read the recipe, the ingredients and decided to give it a chance.  This was slightly risky as there was no mention of gluten free status regardless of the ingredients.  Celiacs like me have to be so careful; just a touch of cross contamination from shared processing equipment and I feel terrible.  So I try  harder these days not to buy things anymore that don’t say gf. Case in point: I got sick 2 weeks ago from some Korean red pepper flakes I used to make homemade kimchi.  I had to give the entire batch away.  Everyone said it was delicious.  I tasted it and agreed but that taste was enough to ruin my day due to probably cross contamination.

vietnamese-sour-soup-packet

Anyway…I have to say this Vietnamese soup was fantastic.  I sautéed briefly some onion; one small one cut vertically into long threads, some diagonally slice celery and carrots; one carrot and one big stalk of celery plus some of the greens.  In about three minutes I added the packet and water per the directions and after that got hot I added the baby bok choy cut into 1 inch lengths including the green parts and a handful of snap peas, which I cut in half after trimming the ends. After 10 minutes I added a handful of small shrimp which I shelled first, maybe 18-20 shrimps and about a quarter cup of bamboo shoots. Cooked it five more minutes and Bamm I had me a pot of zingy delightful soup.  A major ingredient in this soup base is tamarind juice. I have bought and used tamarind paste, sure adds the tangy sour that is a delight.  Honestly I burnt my mouth the first two times I ate this soup; do darn good I ate it a bit too hot for comfort.  Try to let yours cool a few minutes….if you can!  The spicing is not too hot, just refreshing and infuses the vegetables with it’s zing.  Not weird or off flavored if you were worried about trying a packet from a very different food culture than that of most Americans; just light and delightful.  If you are not a fan of shrimp sub in your favorite protein.  I am sure most anything even tofu will work.

vietnamese-sour-soupThis picture is from pinterest.  I was too hungry to take a picture. Sorry; next time I promise to stop and shoot before I slurp! This soup snap is sort of similar although I didn’t have the thai basil leaves that they put on top nor did I use big pale green pepper slices or tomatoes. Well, I Thought it was kinda similar…  I just ordered my seeds and did choose some thai basil so I can be even more authentic this summer when I make this soup again. It sure is a keeper.  Maybe I will try to make it from scratch in the coming weeks.  I will let you know how that experiment goes.

Vietnamese Sour Shrimp Soup:

1 packet Vietnamese sour soup

1 tbsp. mild olive oil

1 medium onion

1 large stalk celery

1 large carrot

1 large baby bok choy or one stalk of regular bok choy

1/2 cup snap peas

1/3 lb (about 20) medium or small shrimp

1/4 cup bamboo shoots

Directions: Saute the veggies (onion, carrot and celery) in oil; 1 1/2 quart sauce pan.  Add water according to the packet and the packet.  Let get hot, add the  bok choy and snap peas.  After ten minutes add the peeled shrimps and bamboo shoots.  Cook five more minutes.  Can put long diagonal slices of scallion on top.

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