Winter Melon and Shrimp Soup

Canh Bàu Tom

Preparation info

  • Serves


    • Difficulty


Appears in

Little Saigon Cookbook: Vietnamese Cuisine And Culture In Southern California's Little Saigon

Little Saigon Cookbook

By Ann Le

Published 2011

  • About

Winter melon is rather bland when cooked alone, but there is nothing quite like its deep, sweet, refreshing flavor in a canh or a stir-fry. It is easily chopped and quickly cooked. There are little whiskers on the skin of the melon, so my family prefers to lightly peel it before cooking.


  • 8 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons dried shrimp
  • ¼ cup fish sauce
  • 3 clove garlic
  • pound fresh shrimp, shells removed and deveined
  • ½ tablespoon salt
  • tablespoons ground black pepper
  • ½ tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large green winter melon (bau), lightly peeled, cut in half lengthwise, and sliced into ½-inch slices
  • 1 scallion, chopped into rings


    1. In a medium stockpot, boil the water with the dried shrimp, fish sauce, and garlic for 15 minutes.
    2. While the water is boiling, pound the fresh shrimp with a mortar and pestle or process in a food processor. Put in a small bowl. Add the salt, pepper, sugar, and olive oil to the bowl. Blend well.
    3. Drop the shrimp paste into the boiling water a few tablespoonfuls at a time. It will cook immediately and appear like pink dumplings in the water.
    4. Add the sliced winter melon to the stockpot and boil for another 15 minutes. Serve when the winter melon is very tender.
    5. Ladle all of the soup into a large bowl, add the scallions, and serve family-style with other dishes.