Vietnamese Fisherman's Soup

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“Posted for a request, this recipe is from 'The Best of Vietnamese & Thai Cooking' by Mai Pham. I haven't tried this recipe yet, the description in the book says it's spicy, sour and a little sweet. Prep and cook times are approximate.”

Ingredients Nutrition

  • 14 lb medium raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 13 lb boneless skinless salmon, cut into bite size pieces
  • 14 lb scallops
  • boiling water
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground chili paste
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 5 cups unsalted chicken stock or 5 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 medium tomatoes, cut into thin wedges
  • 2 cups freshly cut pineapple chunks
  • 12 medium onion, cut into thin wedges
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 14 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons tamarind pulp, soaked in
  • 13 cup hot water, and pushed through a sieve
  • 4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 cups bean sprouts
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rice paddy herb or 1 tablespoon saw-leaf herb (this ingredient gives the soup it's 'sour' flavor)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh Thai basil
  • 2 tablespoons fried shallots, for garnish (instructions follow)
  • 1 cup vegetable oil, for frying shallots


  1. Bring water to a boil in a medium pot.
  2. Using a strainer with a long handle, blanch all seafood for about 10-20 seconds (this removes impurities and keeps the chicken stock clear when you add the seafood later); set seafood aside.
  3. Discard water and wipe the pot dry; add the oil and heat over moderate heat; add the chili paste and garlic and allow to sizzle until fragrant, about 10 seconds.
  4. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil; add the seafood, tomatoes, pineapple, onion, fish sauce, sugar, salt, tamarind and lime juice; cook until seafood is just done, about 3-5 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and add bean sprouts and herbs; garnish with fried shallots and serve piping hot.
  6. Fried shallots: line a cookie sheet with paper towels and spread thinly sliced shallots on top (use about a cup of shallots); let sit for 15-20 minutes to air dry (makes the shallots crispier); heat the oil in a skillet over low heat; add the shallots and and stir them so they don't tangle; fry the shallots until golden, about 5 minutes and with a slotted spoon, remove and drain them on paper towels.
  7. When shallots are cool, transfer to a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid and they'll keep at room temperature for 2 weeks.

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