Vietnamese pork spare rib soup with potatoes, or Canh Suon Khoai Tay, is a staple in my house. This particular soup is usually one of the dishes in our multi-course family dinners because of its simplicity. It's made from a stock of pork spare ribs that's been marinated with fish sauce and shallots. Carrots, potatoes and/or cauliflower are then added to the pot and simmer on low until fork tender. The low simmering brings out all the sweetness of the vegetables into the pot, making it a flavorful and hearty broth.
I often eat pork spare rib soup by itself when I don't care for a big meal or running short on time. Otherwise, I would eat it traditionally with a bowl of steamed white rice and another meat side dish. I eat rice with the meat dish first. When I'm halfway done with the rice, I ladle this delicious soup into my bowl and slurp it down with the remaining rice. Then I take a nice long nap and call it a day. Nothing satisfies the belly more than warm soup with hearty vegetables.
Recipe: Vietnamese Pork Spare Rib Soup with Potatoes, Carrots and Cauliflower (Canh Suon Khoai Tay)
1 lbs pork spare ribs (If the ribs come in a big slab, have the butcher cut the ribs into 1-inch strips, perpendicular to the bones. Once you get the ribs home, cut in-between the bones so you have nice bite-size rib pieces)
1 tablespoon fish sauce (Three Crabs Brand)
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 shallot (peel and dice)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
5 cups water
1 large carrot
1 large potato
Half of small head cauliflower
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pork seasoning powder
1 scallion (and cut into 1-inch segments)
Clean the pork ribs thoroughly before cooking. This is will keep the stock clear. Plus, you will have a tastier, non-funky-pork-smelling soup. To clean the pork ribs, fill a pot halfway with water. Bring the pot to a boil. Add a large pinch of salt. Add the ribs and cook for about 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, drain the content into a colander. Rinse the ribs under cold running water until water runs clear.
Marinate the ribs with fish sauce, pepper and half of the shallots for at least 30 minutes.
In a stock pot, add vegetable oil and heat on high.
Add remaining shallots and fry until fragrant (about 1-2 minutes).
Add the marinated pork ribs (do not add the liquid from the marinade just yet). Stir around the ribs and cook for about 1-2 minutes until the outside is caramelized.
Add water (5 cups) and the remaining liquid from the pork marinade into the pot. Cover pot with a lid and simmer on medium low for 30 minutes.
Add the carrots and cook for 5-10 minutes. Carrots get added first because they take longer to cook than the other vegetables.
Add the potatoes and cauliflower. Cook until the potatoes and cauliflower are fork tender.
Season with salt and pork seasoning powder.
When you're ready to serve, sprinkle the top with scallions. Enjoy!