A northern Vietnamese dish that we grew up with is Canh Mồng Tơi /Malabar Spinach soup. Canh mồng tơi is a very simple, home style soup. This is a great light and healthy soup to accompany a meal. Make sure you have plenty of white rice available.
Traditionally, this soup is made with dried shrimp but also great with fresh shrimp. Mồng tơi is in the spinach family and can only be found at an Asian market. Regular spinach can be substituted. This dish is very quick to prepare so make sure the rice is in the rice cooker before you start!
Malabar Spinach Soup (Canh Mồng Tơi)
- 8 cups of water
- 2/3 cup of dried shrimp
- 1 bunch of washed and cut Mong Toi (or spinach)
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 ½ tbsp shrimp paste
- crushed black pepper to taste
1. Soak dried shrimp in 1 cup of warm water bath for 20-30 minutes. Drain shrimp and save the liquid. Place shrimp into a food processor, pulse grind until the shrimp is broken up into small pieces.
2. In a medium size pan, add 7 cups of liquid and the remaining liquid used to soak the shrimp. Bring to a boil.
3. Add chopped onion and salt to stock.
4. Add cut Mong Toi to stock and bring to boil over medium high heat.
5. Quickly stir the soup and add the shrimp paste. Bring soup to boil for 1-2 minutes, when the Mong Toi is wilted.
6. Ladle soup over a bowl of warm jasmine rice.