Vietnamese home cooking is where the heart is. I know I’m home when I have Vietnamese soups, also known as Canh. No, I’m not talking about noodle soups like Pho. That’s simply the tip of the iceberg of Vietnamese cuisine. Canh is meant to be eaten family-style with steamed white rice and other side dishes. You will never see canh in restaurants, at least not here in the States. To get a taste of Canh, befriend a Vietnamese Grandma and get an invite to dinner. The other alternative is to make it yourself.
Scroll below for a quick recipe for Pork Spare Ribs Soup with Chayote (Canh Suon Nau Su Su) or visit the category section for more traditional soup recipes.
Vietnamese Pork Spare Rib Soup with Chayote (Canh Suon Nau Su Su) is one of my favorite soups this time of year. Chayote, also known as Mirliton Squash or Trai Su Su in Vietnamese, is part of the gourd family. It is light green, pear-shaped and grow on vines with a pit in the middle. Once cooked, it has a very sweet taste. Best of all, it cooks up quickly. Chayote with fall-of-the-bone tender spare ribs is a traditional Vietnamese home-cooked soup that will fill the belly and comfort the soul.
To make Vietnamese Pork Spare Rib Soup with Chayote (Canh Suon Nau Su Su), par-boil the pork spare ribs first. This will help to get rid of the impurities and any lingering foul porky smell. It also helps to keep the soup beautifully clear. Add the par-boiled spare-ribs to a small stock pot with two quarts water. Simmer on medium low until spare ribs are tender. Season stock with fish sauce, salt, sugar, MSG and stock powder. Add chayote at the end and continue to cook until chayote is nice and tender. Turn off heat. Garnish with sliced green onions and dash of black pepper.
Serve this with steamed rice and Vietnamese Caramelized Shrimp (Tom Rim) for a complete Vietnamese home-cooked meal.
Words of warning
Chayote squash has a lot of latex. When cutting up these bad boys, make sure to wear disposable gloves and give it a good rinse. The latex isn’t as bad and thick as the latex in jackfruit, but it can still get very annoying if unprepared.
Did you know?
When I was growing up, my mom told me to never, ever, for the love of God, point to a growing Chayote on the vine. I spent so much of my childhood trying not to ruin my mom’s harvest by accidental pointing. Did you know that is complete bullcrap? I was duped. Now, I point to growing Chayotes on the vine like there’s no tomorrow. I'm a rebel.
Vietnamese Pork Spare Rib Soup with Chayote Squash
- 3/4 lbs pork spare ribs (cut into small chunks)
- 1 teaspoon salt for spare ribs and 1-1/2 teaspoons salt for seasoning
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 small white/yellow onion
- 2 garlic cloves (mince)
- 2 quarts water for stock
- 1 tablespoon chicken/mushrooom/pork stock powder
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon MSG
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce
- 2 Chayote squashes (1 lb total; peel, remove core, and slice into thick match sticks)
- 2 green onions (slice into 1 inch segments; seperate whites/greens)
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Clean the pork spare ribs: Add spare ribs to a medium-size stock pot and cover with water. Add salt (1 teaspoon) and bring pot to a rolling boil. Immediately turn off heat. Drain content of pot into a colander placed in the sink. Rinse spare ribs thoroughly under cold running water and drain dry. Clean pot and return to stove.
- Add oil to pot and heat on medium-high. Once warm, add white/yellow onion and saute until limp and fragrant. Add garlic and whites of green onions. Lightly sautee until lightly browned. Add water (2 quarts) and bring to a boil. Add par-boiled pork and simmer on medium-low for 30 minutes uncovered.
- Season stock with salt (1-1/2 teaspoons), stock powder, sugar, MSG and fish sauce.
- Add chayote squash and cook for 8 minutes or until tender. Garnish with green onions and a dash of black pepper. Serve with white rice and Vietnamese Caramelized Shrimp (Tom Rim) for a complete home cooked meal.