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Milk Street Bowtie Vietnamese Meatball and Watercress Soup (Canh)

Vietnamese Meatball and Watercress Soup (Canh)

40 minutes

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Vietnamese Meatball and Watercress Soup (Canh)

Free

Watercress adds a peppery note to the soup; look for “live” watercress, which is packaged with its roots attached. It stays fresher longer and is easier to clean. To prep it, trim off and discard the roots, rinse and drain the greens, then cut them into 1½-inch lengths, discarding any stems that are thick or tough. If you prefer, substitute an equal amount of baby spinach for the watercress, but roughly chop the leaves before using. We also liked this soup made with chicken bouillon paste instead of chicken broth; use 2 tablespoons of paste dissolved in 2 quarts of water.

4

Servings

Tip

Don't leave the meatballs at room temperature after shaping them. Chilling firms them so they hold together when added to the simmering broth.

40 minutes

1 pound ground pork
6 scallions, white parts finely chopped, green parts thinly sliced
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons fish sauce, divided
4 teaspoons grated fresh ginger, divided
Kosher salt and ground white pepper
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
4 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 quarts low-sodium chicken broth (8 cups)
1 bunch watercress, cut into 1½-inch lengths (4 cups lightly packed)
2 tablespoons lime juice (1 or 2 limes)
Ingredients
  • 1

    pound ground pork

  • 6

    scallions, white parts finely chopped, green parts thinly sliced

  • 1

    large egg white, lightly beaten

  • 3

    tablespoons fish sauce, divided

  • 4

    teaspoons grated fresh ginger, divided

  • Kosher salt and ground white pepper

  • 2

    tablespoons grapeseed oil

  • 1

    medium yellow onion, chopped

  • 4

    medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced

  • 2

    quarts low-sodium chicken broth (8 cups)

  • 1

    bunch watercress, cut into 1½-inch lengths (4 cups lightly packed)

  • 2

    tablespoons lime juice (1 or 2 limes)

A Simple Vietnamese Soup Video

Milk Street Recipes

A Simple Vietnamese Soup

Directions
  1. 01
    Line a rimmed baking sheet with kitchen parchment and mist with cooking spray. In a medium bowl, combine the pork, scallion whites, egg white, 1 tablespoon of the fish sauce, 2 teaspoons of the ginger, ¾ teaspoons kosher salt and 1 teaspoon white pepper. Mix with your hands. Lightly moisten your hands with water and form into 20 balls, each about a generous tablespoon, and set on the prepared baking sheet. Cover and refrigerate.
    See Demo
  2. 02
    In a large Dutch oven over medium, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons ginger and the garlic, then cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the broth and bring to a boil over high. Reduce to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until the onion is fully softened, about 10 minutes.
    See Demo
  3. 03
    Add the meatballs, bring to a simmer over medium-high, then reduce heat to maintain a simmer. Cook undisturbed until the meatballs are cooked through, 160°F at the center, 8 to 10 minutes; cut through a meatball to check for doneness. Off heat, stir in the watercress and remaining 2 tablespoons fish sauce. Let stand until the greens are wilted and tender, about 1 minute. Stir in the lime juice. Taste and season with salt and pepper, then stir in the scallion greens.
    See Demo
Tip: Don't leave the meatballs at room temperature after shaping them. Chilling firms them so they hold together when added to the simmering broth.
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Reviews
Lloyd T.

Good job Maynard!!! Just happened to have everything on hand... Love

Jennifer B.

Delicious soup. I didn't have stock on hand so used bouillon and overdid it a bit, will use smaller bouillon to water recipe next time. The meatballs were the star. I used as arugula and it worked fine.

Walter J F.

I made the canh. It is good stuff! I will make it again. I picked up three bunches of watercress (@$1.29 each) just to be safe and have enough. I used two of them in the soup. I also got two lbs of ground pork.

I followed the directions in the recipe, more or less. I made the meatballs with exactly one lb (454 g) of the ground pork, and overall I used a bit more ginger than the recipe called for though not a lot. Seven scallions instead of six, seven garlic cloves instead of four, and so on.

Here are my calculations:
Vietnamese Chicken Watercress soup (Canh) 11/21/2020
Cals/g Ingredient used weight used g weight oz cals used
Stock
0.80 ginger 8 0.3 6.4
8.57 grapeseed oil 25 0.9 214.3
0.40 Onion 197 6.9 78.8
1.50 garlic 27 0.9 40.5
3.33 scallion greens 30 1.1 99.9
0.11 Watercress 243 8.5 26.4
0.02 chicken stock 1753 61.5 35.1
0.35 fish sauce 38 1.3 13.3
0.24 lime juice 32 1.1 7.7
Meatballs
2.63 ground pork 454 15.9 1193.3
0.52 egg white 36 1.3 18.7
0.38 scallion whites 54 1.9 20.5
0.80 ginger 17 0.6 13.6
0.35 fish sauce 17 0.6 6.0
0.00 salt 10 0.4 0.0
2.52 pepper 2 0.1 5.0
Ingredient weight 2914 102.2 1768.5 Total calories
final wt (H2O loss) 2506 87.9 0.71 calories/gram
20.11 calories/oz

All in all, this tasty soup is low calorie. I have enjoyed it as is, and with cooked rice added. One could substitute prepared frozen meatballs for the homemade and this soup would be even quicker indeed to make. A Vietnamese friend makes this with tofu vs meatballs. Maybe I will try it with tofu and using Tone's Chicken or Minor's Chicken base + water to make the stock.

Natalia S.

Wow!!! Yum!!!! Delicious and simple!!! I used Swanson chicken stock and it turned out slightly salty - easy fix with the addition of 1.5 cups of water. Next time I will use low sodium chicken stock from brand Swanson

Gail S.

It's cooking on the stove right now. Only question is when should I add the green section of the scallion? I can't find it in the recipe.

Lynn C.

Hi Gail -

In the last sentence of Step 3, the scallion greens get stirred in at the end.

Best,
The Milk Street Team


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Vietnamese Meatball and Watercress Soup (Canh)

Get Ready to Cook

4

Servings

40 minutes

Tip

Don't leave the meatballs at room temperature after shaping them. Chilling firms them so they hold together when added to the simmering broth.

Ingredients
  • 1

    pound ground pork

  • 6

    scallions, white parts finely chopped, green parts thinly sliced

  • 1

    large egg white, lightly beaten

  • 3

    tablespoons fish sauce, divided

  • 4

    teaspoons grated fresh ginger, divided

  • Kosher salt and ground white pepper

  • 2

    tablespoons grapeseed oil

  • 1

    medium yellow onion, chopped

  • 4

    medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced

  • 2

    quarts low-sodium chicken broth (8 cups)

  • 1

    bunch watercress, cut into 1½-inch lengths (4 cups lightly packed)

  • 2

    tablespoons lime juice (1 or 2 limes)

A Simple Vietnamese Soup Video

Milk Street Recipes

A Simple Vietnamese Soup

Step 1 of 3

Make the meatballs

1
pound ground pork
6
scallions, white parts finely chopped
1
large egg white, lightly beaten
1
tablespoon fish sauce
2
teaspoons grated fresh ginger
¾
teaspoons kosher salt
1
teaspoon white pepper

Line a rimmed baking sheet with kitchen parchment and mist with cooking spray. In a medium bowl, combine the pork, scallion whites, egg white, 1 tablespoon of the fish sauce, 2 teaspoons of the ginger, ¾ teaspoons kosher salt and 1 teaspoon white pepper.


Mix with your hands. Lightly moisten your hands with water and form into 20 balls, each about a generous tablespoon, and set on the prepared baking sheet. Cover and refrigerate.

Step 2 of 3

Cook the onion and garlic

2
tablespoons grapeseed oil
1
medium yellow onion, chopped
2
teaspoons grated fresh ginger
4
medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2
quarts low-sodium chicken broth (8 cups)

In a large Dutch oven over medium, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons ginger and the garlic, then cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.


Add the broth and bring to a boil over high. Reduce to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until the onion is fully softened, about 10 minutes.

Step 3 of 3

Finish and serve

1
bunch watercress, cut into 1½-inch lengths (4 cups lightly packed)
2
tablespoons fish sauce
2
tablespoons lime juice (1 or 2 limes)
Kosher salt and ground white pepper
6
scallions, green parts thinly sliced

Add the meatballs, bring to a simmer over medium-high, then reduce heat to maintain a simmer. Cook undisturbed until the meatballs are cooked through, 160°F at the center, 8 to 10 minutes; cut through a meatball to check for doneness.


Off heat, stir in the watercress and remaining 2 tablespoons fish sauce. Let stand until the greens are wilted and tender, about 1 minute. Stir in the lime juice. Taste and season with salt and pepper, then stir in the scallion greens.

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