Canh Chua

A filling Vietnamese soup, subtly sweet, sour and hot

2 C onions, thinly sliced
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped or pressed
1 or 2 fresh chilies, seeded and finely chopped, hotness to taste
7 C veggie broth
1½ C canned straw mushrooms (15 oz can, drained, save liquid)
¾ C canned pineapple chunks (8 oz can, drained)
1 C fresh tomatoes, quartered (2 or 3 medium tomatoes)
2 stalks celery, cut into 1 inch diagnonals
1 T fresh mint, chopped
1 T fresh cilantro, chopped (Chinese parsley)
2 T fresh lime juice
¼ C reduced salt soy sauce or tamari
½ 10.5 oz package Lite firm tofu, cut into ½ inch cubes
2 C bean sprouts
4 T fresh Thai basil, chopped or whole leaves
lime wedges for garnish

Sauté the onions in a small amount of veggie stock and/or liquid from mushrooms in a large soup pot over medium heat for a few minutes, until softened. Add garlic and chilies, sauté for another few minutes, stirring to prevent sticking. Stir in the stock, straw mushrooms, pineapple, celery and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the mint and cilantro, lime juice, soy sauce sauce and tofu. Simmer for about 10 minutes. To serve, place about ½ C bean sprouts and 1 T basil leaves in each individual oriental large soup bowl and then spoon in very hot soup. Sprinkle basil leaves on top. Serve with a large bowl of brown rice, which each person can add into the soup and additional wedges of lemon or lime.

4 servings, each 171 calories:  7% from fat (1.68 g),  73% from carbohydrates (36.85 g),  20% from protein (10.03 g).  Sodium 987 mg,  Fiber 5.6 g.

Healing Heart Hint

Fresh herbs are essential to this dish; dried spices will not bring out the authentic and subtle flavors

Thai or Asian basil (with its purple flowers) has a more minty flavor than the familiar western basil. It can be found at most Asian grocers. If it's unavailable, any fresh basil can be used.

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©2000 Dr. Neal Pinckney Healing Heart Foundation