CANH BÍ ĐỎ / VIETNAMESE KABOCHA SQUASH AND SHRIMP SOUP
Squash soups are perfect for the Autumn season. My squashes come from my green garden, but store-bought squashes work all the same. Vietnamese kabocha squash and shrimp soup is one of my favorite squash soups because it can be enjoyed even without removing the skin. The majority of recipes for this soup say to remove the skin, but I leave it as it is. The cooking process will soften the skin, so it’s perfectly safe to eat, and full of nutrients, too! The sweetness of the kabocha squash together with the sweet taste of shrimps makes this soup perfect for the colder months, but it can definitely be enjoyed year-round as well!
I’m particularly picky about the shrimp used for this soup. I recommend using tiger shrimps. I always keep a bag of tiger shrimps from Costco in my freezer; shrimps can be a great seasoning ingredient for soups due to its sweet taste. I specifically use tiger shrimps because it’s “crunchier/harder” than other kinds of shrimps, and this helps hold the shrimp together. If you use other kinds of shrimps, like the smaller ones used in salads, it might fall apart in the cooking process.
- 1 Kabocha squash (approx. 2 lbs)
- 115 grams (4 oz) tiger shrimps
- 4 scallions
- 1/5 cilantro bunch
- 1 gram (1/4 tsp) pepper
- 1.5 ml (1/3 tsp) fish sauce
- 1.2 liter (5 cups) water
- 30 grams (2 tbsp) vegetable seasoning
- 5 grams (1 tsp) chicken seasoning
- 15 grams (1 tbsp) mushroom seasoning
- 10 grams (2 tsp) sugar
- Wash the squash. Cut in half, clean inside of the squash, and remove the seeds. Do not peel off the skin.
- Cut squash into desirable-size pieces. Set aside.
- Wash shrimps and remove the shells. Finely mince shrimps with white stems of scallions. Place in a bowl. Add fish sauce, peppers, and dashes of all the seasonings. Mix evenly and set aside.
- Wash and dice scallion leaves and cilantro. Set aside.
- Add water to a cooking pot on medium-high heat.
- Once the water comes to a boil, add squash.
- When water comes to a second boil, add shrimps in teaspoon-sized amounts. Do not put all of the shrimp in at once.
- Add seasonings.
- When the soup comes to a third boil, or when squash softens, bring the pot off the stove.
- Add scallion leaves and cilantro.