19 February 2016

(Servings 6)

I don’t know about you, but when the cold season starts to approach I automatically go into a soup frenzy! All I can think about is making a hot pot of brothy goodness. And why not right? The options are limitless. Plus, having something simmering on the stove truly warms the house, and the aroma wafting through the air is like a hug when you walk through the door after a long day.

Shrimp-based soups are rather quick to make as the shrimp does not take long to cook, nor do you want to overcook shrimp as it detracts from the texture. Vietnam, being a coastal country, has a bounty of recipes for seafood soups and shrimps do star in many. I can think of a handful of favorites I enjoyed as a child; Shrimp Opo Soup being one of them.

Shrimp Opo Soup is one of my preferred go to soup as it’s simple and doesn’t require many ingredients. The clear broth allows the pink shrimp and light green opo to pop. Combined with the minced cilantro and scallions, the broth becomes rather aromatic. If you want, a couple shakes of black pepper will warm you with every spoonful. For those who prefer a heartier jolt of spice, cut in some thai chili and your nose can tell you what’s in-store before you even have a taste! You can enjoy this on it’s own or with a side of jasmine rice. Some other dishes I like to serve alongside this is Vietnamese Pickled Eggplant (Cà Phaó) and Deep-Fried Tofu in a Scallion Fish Sauce. This is a perfect combination of flavors and a great meal for those who celebrate Lenten Fridays when no meat is allowed!

8 oz shrimp, peeled and deviened

1. Mince coarsely.

1/4 tsp salt

2. Sprinkle with seasoning and proceed to mince the shrimp into almost a paste with a cleaver and set aside.


(NOTE: Do not use a food processor for this step or the shrimp will come out rubbery.)

1/2 tsp sugar

1/4 tsp msg (optional)

1/2 tsp black pepper

6 cups water

3. Combine water and seasoning in a large pot and bring to a boil.

4. While the water is coming to a boil, drop about 2 teaspoons worth of the minced shrimp into the pot at a time until done.

5. Skim the broth as needed.

6. After the water comes to a boil, continue cooking the shrimp until they float; about another 5 minutes.

2 tbsps fish sauce

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp msg (optional)

2 lbs opo

7. Peel, cut in half and cut into 1/4” half moon pieces.

8. Add the opo to the broth and cook until the water comes back to a boil, skimming as needed.

9. Turn off heat.

Cilantro, chopped

10. Wait for 10 minutes and serve with cilantro and scallions.


(NOTE: The 10 minute wait will allow the opo to soften in the residual heat of the broth.)

Scallions, chopped

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