Recipe courtesy of Luke Nguyen

Tamarind Broth with Mud Fish and Elephant Ear Stems: Canh Chua Ca Loc

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 1 day 30 min
  • Prep: 15 min
  • Inactive: 1 day
  • Cook: 15 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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2 ounces tamarind pulp*

6 cups cold water

2 tablespoons fish sauce

3 1/2 ounces sliced pineapple

4 tablespoons sugar

1 (14 to 17 1/2-ounce) mud fish or silver perch, cut into 1/2-inch thick cutlets

2 tomatoes, sliced into wedges

2 ounces elephant ear stems, peeled and sliced* 

2 ounces fresh okra, sliced

2 ounces bean sprouts

1 bunch rice paddy herb, sliced*

1 bunch sawtooth coriander, sliced*

1/2 teaspoon fried sliced red Asian shallots*

1/2 teaspoon fried garlic chips

1 chile, sliced

Steamed jasmine rice or vermicelli noodles, to serve


  1. Dissolve the tamarind pulp in 1 cup warm water. Work the pulp into the water until it is dissolved and then strain the liquid through a fine sieve, discarding the pulp. 
  2. Combine the tamarind liquid with 6 cups of cold water, fish sauce, pineapple, and sugar in a large clay pot and bring to the boil. Add the fish pieces to the pot and return to the boil skimming and discarding any impurities as it cooks. 
  3. Then add the tomato, elephant ear stem, okra, and bean sprouts to the pot and return to the boil again. 
  4. Garnish with the rice paddy herb, sawtooth coriander, fried red Asian shallots, fried garlic, and chile. 
  5. Serve with steamed jasmine rice or vermicelli noodles.

Cook’s Note

*Can be found at specialty Asian markets and online. Before using clay pots, submerge the pot in cold water for 24 hours to prevent the pot from cracking over high heat.