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Thursday, August 14, 2008

stuffed zucchini soup

zucchini soup

it's been unseasonably cool lately. which makes me despair. i don't want summer to end! although autumn and winter brings my fave food: soups or in vietnamese: canh. last night i decided to make a variation of a stuffed winter melon (canh bi bau nhoi) or bitter melon (canh khổ qua) soup, both of which i'm a fan of. i used zucchini instead. (yes, i love zuchs, if you can't tell, and it's in season right now as evidenced by the inventory of them at the Farmer's Market.) i actually waited for the soup to cool down to about room temperature before eating. it was very refreshing and kinda homey.

i did not follow a recipe. i just put all the ingredients together based on availability and memory.

2 good sized zucchinis, cut in half and hollowed out left over ground pork, maybe 1/4lb worth
a few chinese wood ear mushrooms, reconstituted in some warm water and julienned
small handful of vermicelli noodles, reconstituted in some warm water, crudely chopped when soft
chopped onion, not too much tho
fish sauce, to taste, i think i put like 2 squirts

add everything in a mixing bowl. because zucchini cooks faster than the other melons, i was concerned that the meat would still be raw but the vegetable be soft already. so i cooked up the meat halfway in a frying pan. let cool and then stuffed the zucchinis. then i made the broth. you can just as easily use canned stock/broth but i decided to make it the way grandma and my mom always made it. in a big pot, add a drizzle of oil (any will do, i used olive oil). when hot, add some chopped garlic and onions. i also had maybe a teaspoon's worth of the meat mixer, added that. let it all marry together and get happy. when i got tired of waiting around, i added 5 cups of water. brought it to a boil, took the temp down a bit and gently added the stuffed zuchs. the water should just cover over the zuchs. i put the lid on, and ignored the pot for about 15 minutes.

after about that amount of time, the soup is at a gentle boil, the zuchs are still in good shape. added a bit of fish sauce to the soup for taste and i was done. the zucchini came out cooked but still firm. success.


  1. That looks amazing! Your comment on our site mentioned that you're starting to bake bread. Me too. Margie's family owns a bakery. When I moved away I missed the bread the most (well, family too - ahem, inserted in case she reads this!). I've started baking my own bread because I can't find anything here I really like. We should share our experiences!

  2. kath --
    i've decided to boycott all manufactured breads, now that i'm capable of making my own. for now, i stick to the easy recipes but eventually, i would like to merge over to the more complicated ones that require actual kneading and... um. yeast (which i'm fearful of)...
    i would love to share my experience with you and learn from you and margie. :)

  3. Wow, that soup looks awesome. I haven't been able to kick the manufactured bread yet. My attempts at baking my own bread have failed so far. I'm hoping that some of the 5 minute bread recipes that have been floating around lately will help me to kick my processed bread habit.