Purple Yam and Prawn Soup

Canh Khoai Mỡ Tép

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • Serves

    4-6

    as part of a Shared Meal

Appears in

YAMS ARE OFTEN MISTAKEN FOR SWEET POTATOES, BUT THEY ARE NOT RELATED. YAMS CAN BE FOUND AT YOUR LOCAL ASIAN MARKET, THEY HAVE A BROWN OUTER SKIN AND STRIKING PURPLE FLESH. THIS DISH IS TEXTURALLY AND VISUALLY STUNNING.

Ingredients

  • 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) purple yam
  • 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) raw school prawns (shrimp), peeled, reserving the heads and shells
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sliced spring onion (scallion), white part only
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon sliced spring onion (scallion), green part only
  • ½ bunch sawtooth herb, leaves sliced
  • ½ bunch rice paddy herb, leaves sliced

Method

First peel the yam, then, holding the yam upright and resting on a chopping board, use a spoon to scrape off the yam flesh from top to bottom, working around the whole yam until it has all been scraped (this is a traditional technique that gives the chunky texture needed for the dish; alternatively coarsely grate the yam).

Put 1.5 litres (52 fl oz/6 cups) of water in a large saucepan and add the reserved prawn shells. Bring to the boil for 10 minutes, then strain the stock, discarding the prawn shells. Bring the stock back to the boil in the same pan and add the yam and fish sauce, then simmer for 10 minutes.

Using a mortar and pestle or a small food processor, pound or process the prawns with the sliced white part of the spring onion until a paste forms. Add ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper and mix well into the paste.

Heat a frying pan over medium heat, then add the oil and fry the garlic until brown. Add the prawn paste and stir-fry for 2 minutes until fragrant. Season with ½ teaspoon salt.

Transfer the prawn paste into the saucepan with the simmering stock and yam, and stir for 3 minutes. Add ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, then turn off the heat. Serve the soup in large bowls and garnish with the spring onion, sawtooth herb and rice paddy herb. Serve with jasmine rice.

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