Typical Vietnamese home-cooked meals usually include a side of soup to go alongside your protein and white rice. One of the quickest soups that I make is Winter Melon Soup with Shrimp or Canh Bi Dao Tom. Winter melon soup has a mild sweet taste and because shrimp is used, it cooks up in minutes. If winter melon is not available in your local grocery store, you can substitute winter melon with cucumbers or chayotes.
Winter Melon Soup with Shrimp Recipe (Canh Bi Dao Tom)
5 large peeled shrimps
1 small shallot
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon fish sauce
Mince up the shrimp with the shallot on a cutting board.
Add the shrimp to a bowl and marinate with salt, black pepper, fish sauce. Set aside.
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 small shallot (slice thinly)
4 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon chicken, mushroom or pork seasoning
1/4 teaspoon MSG (optional)
1 small winter melon (peel, de-seed and cut into bite size pieces)
2 green onions (cut into 1-inch segments)
Pinch of black pepper
Heat up a small pot with vegetable oil.
Add shallot and fry until fragrant (about 30 seconds).
Add the marinated shrimp along with the liquids. Saute until shrimp starts to turn pink.
Add water and bring it to a boil.
Add salt, sugar, chicken/pork/mushroom seasoning, and MSG.
Add winter melon. Once the pot turns to a boil, turn off the heat. Let the winter melon cook on the residual heat for about five minutes or until fork tender.
Before serving, top with green onions and a pinch of black pepper.