Vietnam Recipes: Tamarind & Pineapple Fish Soup


• 12 oz cod steaks, skinned and cut into bite-size chunks
• 1 white fish head, such as cod
• 1 medium ripe tomato, peeled, halved, seeded, and cut into 8 equal wedges
• 4 saw leaves, julienned, or 1/4 cup cilantro leaves
• Salt
• 3 to 4 tbsp tamarind pulp
• 2 or more fresh bird’s eye or Thai chillies, seeded and sliced thin diagonally
• 1/4 cup fried garlic oil
• freshly ground black or white pepper
• 7 oz ripe pineapple, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices, cored, and cut into bite-size chunks
• 10 leaves holy basil, julienned


1. Season the fish chunks with salt and pepper and let stand in a cool place.

2. Put the fish head in a pot with 7 cups water and bring to a gentle boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the liquid is reduced by 1 cup, about 30 minutes. At this time you may discard the fish head if you wish.

3. Add the tamarind pulp, pineapple, tomato, and chilies and simmer for 5 minutes.

4. Add the fish chunks, adjust the seasoning, and simmer until the fish is cooked, 3 to 5 minutes.

Serve hot-in a communal bowl or individual soup bowls-garnished with holy basil, saw leaves (or cilantro), and fried garlic oil as desired.