Canh chua dau ca (sour fish head soup)

Yield: 4 Servings

Measure Ingredient
2 Scallions, white part only, crushed with the side of a knife
Freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons Salt
2 tablespoons Plus 4 teaspoons fish sauce (nuoc mam)
1 large Fish head or fish carcass, split down the center
1 quart Water
½ cup Canned sliced sour bamboo
¼ Fresh pineapple, cut in a lengthwise section and sliced
1 dash MSG (optional)
2 tablespoons Mixed chopped fresh coriander (Chinese parsley)
Scallion green

An excellent way to get twice the pleasure out of your fish purchase.

You can use either the fish head of the fish carcass if you wish. To the people of the South, this is as much their traditional dish as Southern Fried Chicken is to our southerners++and it will meet with instant praise

Sprinkle the scallions, black pepper, 1 teaspoon salt, and 4 teaspoons fish sauce over the fish head. Allow to stand for 10 to 15 minutes.

Bring 1 quart of water to a boil and drop in the sour bamboo and pineapple slices. Cook at a lively boil for 5 minutes. Drop fish head into the actively boiling water and, keeping at a boil, add the 2 tablespoons fish sauce, remaining teaspoon salt, and a dash of MSG.

Boil the fish head for a total of 10 minutes. Transfer to a soup tureen, sprinkle on the coriander and scallion green, and serve.

NOTE: If the fish head is dropped into water that is not boiling, it will fall apart.

Makes 4 servings.

From "The Classic Cuisine of Vietnam", Bach Ngo and Gloria Zimmerman, Barron's, 1979.

This is real good with chunks of catfish, shrimp, whatever...

Posted by Stephen Ceideberg; December 28 1991.

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