Easy Canh Dua Chua Recipe: A Traditional Vietnamese Sour Soup

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Written By Hot Thai Restaurant

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Imagine diving into a bowl of canh dua chua, a traditional Vietnamese sour soup that tantalizes your taste buds with its perfect blend of sour, sweet, and savory flavors. This delightful dish, often made with pineapple, tamarind, and fresh herbs, brings a refreshing zest to any meal, especially during the warmer months.

Originating from the lush landscapes of Vietnam, canh dua chua is not only cherished for its vibrant taste but also for its simplicity and nutritional benefits. It’s a fantastic way to introduce more vegetables into your diet while experiencing the authentic flavors of Vietnamese cuisine.


Dive into the refreshing taste of canh dua chua by gathering these fresh and vibrant ingredients. Let’s ensure you have everything needed to create this delightful soup.

Main Ingredients

  • 1 medium pineapple, peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 2 tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • 2 cups water spinach (rau muống), cut into 2-inch segments
  • 1/2 lb pork ribs, separated into smaller pieces
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 cup tamarind pulp, mixed with 1 cup warm water, strained to remove seeds
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 red chilies, sliced (adjust based on your preference for heat)
  • Salt to taste
  • Fresh herbs (such as cilantro or basil) for garnishing

Required Tools and Equipment

To prepare canh dua chua effectively, you’ll need a set of specific tools and equipment that will help in cooking and enhancing the flavors of this traditional Vietnamese soup. Here’s what you should have ready in your kitchen:

  • Large Pot: The heart of soup-making, a large pot ensures you have enough space to comfortably simmer and combine all the ingredients without overflowing.
  • Knife and Cutting Board: A sharp knife is crucial for neatly chopping the pineapple, tomatoes, and herbs. A sturdy cutting board will provide a safe and efficient surface for all your cutting tasks.
  • Measuring Spoons and Cups: Precision is key in achieving the perfect balance of sour, sweet, and savory. Use measuring spoons and cups to accurately measure out the fish sauce, sugar, and tamarind pulp.
  • Wooden Spoon: Ideal for stirring the soup, a wooden spoon will allow you to mix the ingredients gently without damaging the surface of your pot.
  • Strainer: Necessary for rinsing the bean sprouts and water spinach, and for draining any excess water to keep your soup clear and appealing.
  • Mortar and Pestle: This is used for crushing the garlic and red chilies. Releasing their flavors more fully will infuse your soup with a richer aroma and taste.
  • Serving Ladle: A ladle will help you serve your soup efficiently, ensuring every bowl has a generous mixture of the broth, vegetables, and meat.

Having these tools handy not only streamlines your cooking process but also impacts the final quality of your canh dua chua, making each sip and bite a true delight.

Preparing the Ingredients

To make your canh dua chua truly authentic and delicious, it’s essential to prepare your ingredients carefully. Here’s how you’ll get everything ready for cooking.

Cleaning and Cutting the Vegetables

  1. Wash the Vegetables: Begin by thoroughly rinsing all vegetables under cold water to remove any dirt or contaminants. This includes the pineapple, tomatoes, and any other greens you’ll be using.
  2. Prepare the Pineapple: Peel the pineapple and slice it into bite-sized chunks. Aim for pieces that are easy to eat in one bite but large enough to hold their shape during cooking.
  3. Slice the Tomatoes: Cut the tomatoes into wedges. If you’re using large tomatoes, six to eight wedges per tomato should suffice. This size allows them to blend into the broth while retaining some texture.
  4. Chop Additional Greens: If you’re adding other greens, chop them into sizes that will be easy to scoop up with a spoon. Remember, the greens will wilt in the soup, so slightly larger pieces are acceptable.
  1. Extract the Pulp: Start by taking about a handful of tamarind pods. Crack them open and remove the hard shells. What you need is the sticky pulp inside.
  2. Soak the Tamarind: Place the tamarind pulp in a bowl and cover with warm water. Let it soak for about 20 minutes, or until the pulp softens and begins to separate from the seeds.
  3. Strain the Juice: Use your hands to mash the softened tamarind in the water, releasing the juice. Then, strain the mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl, pressing with a spoon to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard the solids.
  4. Adjust Consistency: If the tamarind juice is too thick, add a little more water to achieve the desired consistency, which should be similar to a thin soup. This juice is what will give your canh dua chua its characteristic sour flavor, so make sure it’s well-prepared.

Cooking Instructions

After preparing your fresh ingredients, it’s time to dive into the cooking process of canh dua chua, ensuring each element melds perfectly for a tantalizing sour soup.

Boiling the Pork

Begin by placing a pot over medium heat and fill it with about 4 cups of water. Once the water reaches a gentle boil, add 1 pound of pork ribs or pork belly, previously cut into 2-3 inch pieces. To remove any impurities and ensure a clear broth, let the pork boil vigorously for about 5 minutes, then carefully drain and rinse the pork under cold water.

Refill the pot with fresh water, return the pork to the pot, and bring it to a boil again. Lower the heat to a simmer and partially cover the pot. Allow the pork to simmer for at least 25 minutes. This process will not only tenderize the pork but also provide a rich base for your soup.

Simmering the Vegetables

Once your pork is tender and the broth is flavorful, introduce the prepared vegetables to the pot. Start with the sliced pineapple and tomato wedges, providing a natural sweetness and vivid color to your dish. Ensure the heat is maintained at a low simmer to avoid disintegrating the vegetables.

Next, stir in the tamarind pulp extract, which you’ve previously prepared and strained. This will infuse the soup with its signature sourness. Continue to simmer the mixture gently for another 15 minutes, allowing all the flavors to integrate beautifully. During this phase, it’s crucial to taste the broth occasionally and adjust the seasoning with salt to suit your preference.

As the vegetables soften and the flavors meld, you’ll notice the aroma filling your kitchen, signaling that your canh dua chua is almost ready to be enjoyed. Remember to keep the simmer gentle to ensure that every ingredient maintains its distinct texture and taste.

Serving Suggestions

After mastering the preparation and cooking of your canh dua chua, choosing the right accompaniments and final touches will amplify the enjoyment of this dish.

Adjusting Seasonings Before Serving

Before you serve your canh dua chua, give it a final taste test. This step is crucial to ensure that the balance of sour and sweet flavors hits the right note. Start by tasting the broth. If it’s too sour, temper it with a little sugar. Conversely, if it feels too mild, a dash of fresh lime juice or extra tamarind pulp can enhance the sourness. Always add seasonings gradually and taste as you go to avoid overpowering the delicate flavors of the vegetables and pork.


Canh dua chua pairs wonderfully with a variety of side dishes. For a traditional Vietnamese meal, serve it with steamed white rice. The plain rice complements the soup’s complexity perfectly, absorbing its flavorful broth without competing for attention. Additionally, you might want to offer some fresh herbs on the side, such as basil or cilantro, for diners to add to their liking. These herbs inject a burst of freshness and create a more dynamic eating experience. For those who enjoy a bit of crunch, consider serving crispy fried shallots or garlic as a garnish. They provide a delightful contrast to the soup’s texture.

Storing Tips

After enjoying the delightful flavors of canh dua chua, storing any leftovers properly ensures that you can savor the soup at its best even later. Here are essential tips to keep your soup fresh and tasty.

Refrigerating Canh Dua Chua

  1. Cool Down Quickly: Begin by allowing the canh dua chua to cool to room temperature. However, avoid leaving it out for more than two hours to prevent bacterial growth.
  2. Use Airtight Containers: Transfer the soup into airtight containers. This step helps prevent the soup from absorbing other flavors and odors from your refrigerator.
  3. Refrigerate Promptly: Place the containers in the refrigerator as soon as it’s packed. Properly stored, canh dua chua can last for up to 3-4 days.
  1. Prepare for Freezing: If you plan to store the soup for longer than a few days, freezing is a suitable option. Let the soup cool completely before you proceed.
  2. Portion Control: Divide the soup into manageable portions. This way, you can easily thaw only the amount you need for a future meal.
  3. Use Freezer-Safe Containers: Pour the soup into freezer-safe bags or containers. Be sure to leave some space at the top as the soup will expand when frozen.
  4. Label and Freeze: Mark the containers with the date of freezing. Canh dua chua can be kept frozen for up to 2 months without losing its quality.


Now that you’ve learned how to make canh dua chua you’re all set to bring a taste of Vietnam right into your kitchen. This delightful soup not only enriches your meal with its vibrant flavors but also boosts your intake of healthy vegetables. Whether you’re cooking for a cozy family dinner or prepping meals for the week remember the tips on storing your soup so you can enjoy its freshness anytime. Ready to impress with your culinary skills? Dive into the kitchen and let the magic of canh dua chua brighten up your dining table!

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