Vietnamese Hot and Sour Soup Recipe

Savor sweet, spicy and sour with this Vietnamese Hot and Sour Soup.

From “Ladled”
December 2014

  • This Vietnamese Hot and Sour Soup will satisfy your craving without sending you out to eat.
    Photo courtesy Victory Belt Publishing
  • Visit the past and travel around the world with Kimberly Harris and the tantalizing homemade soups in “Ladled.”
    Cover courtesy Victory Belt Publishing

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Rekindle a love for making soups and stews at home with Ladled (Victory Belt, 2012) by Kimberly Harris. Find more than 100 recipes for nutritious, healing soups with simple instructions for every step of the soup-making process. The following recipe from “Soups Inspired by Our Favorites” is for Vietnamese Hot and Sour Soup.

You can purchase this book from the Mother Earth Living store: Ladled.

This soup is based on our favorite soup from an Asian restaurant that was just down the street from our first duplex together. It’s a sweet memory from our first year of married life. It is sweet from the pineapple; hot from the peppers; and sour from the lemongrass, Kaffir lime leaves, and lime juice. We no longer live in that area, but when we get the craving, we can make our own. Be careful when touching the chili peppers. You may want to use gloves, and never touch your eyes after handling them. Serve with rice on the side if desired. Canned pineapple is fine, but use pineapple in 100 percent juice. You’ll want about 3 cups of chunky pineapple for the recipe.

Gluten-Free | Grain-Free | Dairy-Free 

Vietnamese Hot and Sour Soup Recipe


• 1 small or medium pineapple, peeled and diced (about 3 cups cubed, save the core)
• 4 medium shallots
• 10 to 12 dry Thai peppers
• 2 tablespoons fat of your choice
• 3/4 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs
• 2 stalks of lemongrass, cut in half if needed to fit in the pot
• 1/2-inch piece of galangal or fresh ginger, cut into thin slices, or 2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
• 8 Kaffir lime leaves
• 2 cups sliced baby bok choy
• 1 cup thinly sliced mushrooms (your choice of variety)
• 3 medium tomatoes, stemmed and cut into eight slices
• 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons fish sauce
• 1/4 cup plus extra fresh lime juice
• 1 tablespoon coconut or palm sugar (or sweetener of your choice)

To Serve
• Fresh bean sprouts
• Thai basil or sweet basil
• Fresh mint (optional)
• Fresh cilantro (optional)
• Crumbled chili peppers (optional)


1. If you have a juicer, juice the pineapple core. If not, blend the core with a little water (if needed) in a regular blender or food processor. Strain it through a fine sieve and add water so that the mixture equals 8 cups of liquid. Set aside.

2. Place the shallots (with peel) and 6 Thai chili peppers in a small cast-iron skillet and turn on the heat to medium. Turn the chili and shallots over until the peppers are dark but not burnt. Remove the peppers and continue to cook the shallots.

3. When the peppers are cool, crumble or crush them in a mortar and pestle. Be careful not to get the chili pepper dust in the air, as it will tickle your throat.

4. Keep turning the shallots over until the peel is dark and burnt in places. Then remove them to cool. When they are cool enough to handle, peel them with a sharp knife.

5. Meanwhile, in a large pot, heat 2 tablespoons of the fat of your choice over medium heat. When hot, add 4–6 of the dried chili peppers to the oil (adjust the number of peppers based on how hot you want your soup). Sauté the peppers until they are browned and the oil is spiced. Remove the peppers and discard them.

6. Add the water/pineapple juice from the pineapple core, chicken, lemongrass, galangal or ginger, peeled shallots, Kaffir lime leaves, remaining pineapple, bok choy, mushrooms, and tomatoes to the pot and bring the soup to a boil. Turn the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.

7. Remove the chicken, Kaffir leaves, lemongrass, and galangal or ginger (unless grated) and set aside.

8. While the chicken is cooling, season the soup with the fish sauce, lime juice, and sugar, adding more, if desired, to taste.

9. Chop the chicken and add it back to the soup.

10. Serve the soup with the bean sprouts, basil, mint and cilantro (if using), and crumbled chili peppers for those who want it spicy.

More Recipes from Ladled

Roasted Vegetable Broth Recipe
Chinese Egg Drop Soup Recipe
Quinoa and Chicken Soup Recipe

This excerpt has been reprinted with permission from Ladled: Nourishing Soups for All Seasons by Kimberly Harris and published by Victory Belt Publishing Inc., 2012. Purchase this book from our store: Ladled.

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