I may not yet have a green thumb, but I've learnt an incredible amount of gardening tips and tricks from my Mum over the years. I've grown my own chilli plants from seed, I've kept my pandan plant alive (it is thriving now, even through winter!), and I've even grown mint from cuttings!
Whilst my courtyard only has the bare essentials, I'm lucky to have access to my Mum's amazing piece of Southeast Asia in her suburban backyard. There's always something waiting for me... One week it's guava and the next week it's kumquats.
Her abundance of bac ha (Alocasia Odora) was the perfect excuse for me to cook up my very own Vietnamese sour soup for the first time last week!
Here are some pics from her kitchen garden --
Bac ha (also known as elephant ear stems) are used in this soup. I don't think I've ever had bac ha in any other forms!? Anyway, its spongey texture is perfect for absorbing the beautiful soup flavours!
Another must-have ingredient in a Vietnamese sour soup is ngo om, also known as rice paddy herb. Freshly chopped rice paddy herb imparts an amazing citrusy fragrance and a cumin-like flavour that is irreplaceable.
Ngo gai (Sawtooth coriander) has a strong coriander flavour and is also a common garnish for sour soups.
Canh chua is best served with a bowl of rice or vermicelli and a dipping plate of fish sauce with fresh chillies! It really is the ultimate weeknight meal in winter as it is unbelievably easy to cook up, and is so hearty and wholesome!
I was blown away by how simple this recipe was. It didn't take long to prep or cook, yet it had such a depth of flavour and the balance between sour, sweet and salty was spot on! The resulting soup was definitely one of the best I've ever had. I must cook it for Mum so she can be the judge of it ;)
This recipe is such a keeper, I just had to share it with you -- http://tinytearoom.com/canh-chua-tom-vietnamese-sour-soup-prawn