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)
- 2 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)
- 1/4 cup fish sauce (Three Crabs Brand)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 large shallots (peel and dice)
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 9 cups water (about 2 liters)
- 2 large carrots (about 2 cups peeled and diced)
- 1 large potato (about 2 cups peeled and diced)
- 1 small head cauliflower (about 2 cups florets)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pork seasoning powder
- 2 scallions (remove ends 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 and all its liquid. Stir around the ribs and cook for about 1-2 minutes.
- Add water (9 cups / 2 liters) and cover pot with lid. Simmer on low for 45 minutes.
- Add the carrots and cook for 5 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!