After a lot of heavy eating, I needed something light.
A canh is a light Vietnamese soup. It's not really meant to be a full meal but eaten as an accompaniment to an entree and a vegetable side dish. A light, flavorful broth and a few greens are all that's really needed. Sometimes, I'll even add some rice into the soup to soak up the flavors.
Cabbage gets such a bad rap. I like regular cabbage just fine, but this unusual variety of napa cabbage was longer with less leafy greens.
I love the natural sweetness of napa cabbage and a sweet chicken broth was all that was needed to bring out its flavors.
Instead of buying boneless chicken, I usually buy the cheaper package of thigh meat and save the bones and skin for soup. As it was, I had leftover chicken bones and skin after stripping off the meat for my Ca Ri Ga (Vietnamese Chicken Curry) Pot Pie. I tossed in the julienned green onions from the Peking Duck-Style Roast Turkey with Flour Wrappers, Scallions, Cucumbers and Cranberry/Plum/Hoisin Sauce, but that's optional.
My method for flavorful, but light broth is to start at a roiling boil to extract all the impurities and flavor from the bones, then simmer on low for a clear broth. Read my post on how to make Canh (Vietnamese Soup Broth) for the basics.
Canh Bap Cai Bac Thao (Vietnamese Napa Cabbage Soup)
For a 5-quart stock pot, you'll need:
About 1/2 to 1 lb of chicken bones and/or skin
1 tsp salt
1 tblsp Nuoc Mam (Vietnamese Fish Sauce)
1 head napa cabbage, cut into 1 1/2-inch strips
Optional: green onions, julienned
Fill a 5-quart stock pot with water and when it boils, add the cleaned 1/2 to 1 lb chicken bones. Toss in the skin too. It'll add some depth and flavor to the soup. Don't worry, just skim out the excess fat. Add 1 tsp salt and 1 tblsp fish sauce.
Keep the stock at a roiling boil for about 15 minutes to extract impurities and flavor from the bones. Notice all that gunk. Ick. Using a skimmer spoon, remove the foam and gunk.
Turn the heat down to medium-low and allow the stock to simmer for another 15 minutes, or for at least half an hour if you're not in a hurry.
Remove all the bones and skin and keep skimming until the broth is clear. Taste and add salt or fish sauce if necessary. See? Yucky impurities all gone, and you're left with a lovely clear broth.
Add sliced napa cabbage and green onions. Let simmer for another 5 minutes or until the cabbage is softened to your liking.
Serve as a light starter with your meal. Add a dash of ground black pepper if you wish. Or you can be like me and just eat bowls of this simple soup with nothing else.
My other Vietnamese canh recipes:
Canh Bi Voi Tom (Winter Melon Soup with Shrimp)
Canh Bi/Bau Nhoi Thit (Vietnamese Stuffed Winter Melon Soup)
Canh Chua Ca (Vietnamese Sour Fish Soup)
Canh Chua Tom (Vietnamese Sour Shrimp Soup)
Canh Cu Sen (Vietnamese Lotus Root Soup)
Canh Rau Cuu Ky (Vietnamese (Chinese) Boxthorn Soup)
1 year ago today, Slightly Spiced (Cinnamon, Ginger, Nutmeg) Molasses Cookies.
2 years ago today, I hung my stockings by the chimney with care.