It is very common for Vietnamese meals to have a meat dish with rice and some type of vegetable soup to go alongside it.  Calabash or bottle gourd soup (canh bí), was one of many delicious soups my Mom would make.  It’s definitely one of my favorites!

Everything my Mom made is a favorite of mine!  I guess I should just say she’s my favorite cook.  Her food was always so delicious because she’d use the freshest ingredients.

She had this thing against using canned or store-bought chicken broth because of all the preservatives, so she’d make it from scratch.  It’s actually pretty easy.  I make my own now too (at least whenever I cook Vietnamese food).

To make this soup, you will need:
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp Knorr Chicken Bouillon
1 tsp fish sauce
1 chicken carcass
1 carrot
3 green onions
2 calabash gourds
1/2 lb shrimp
cracked pepper

Step 1:  Fill a pot with water about 3/4 high.  Add the salt, chicken carcass, peeled carrot, and onions.  Bring it to a boil, and let it cook while you prep the calabash and shrimp.  Reduce the heat to medium high if the water is splashing or spilling over.  Keep an eye on it, and remove excess fat/oil as it floats to the top.

Bottle Gourd Shrimp Soup

Step 2:  Wash and peel the calabash.  Cut it in half lengthwise.  Then, slice it like a cucumber.

Opo Squash Soup

Step 3:  Peel and devein the shrimp, and smash each one with the flat end of a knife.  Sprinkle garlic powder and fresh cracked pepper on it.

Opo Squash Shrimp Soup

Step 4:  Remove the carcass, carrots, and onions from the broth.  Add the sliced calabash, and let it cook to al dente (or softer if you’d like).

Bottle Gourd Soup

Step 5:  Add the shrimp and fish sauce.  Stir gently, so the shrimp cooks (turns orange).Calabash Shrimp Soup

Once the shrimp is cooked, turn off the heat, and garnish with chopped green onions and fresh cracked pepper.  Add more fish sauce or salt if needed.  Enjoy!  This soup actually pairs really well with carmelized pork spare ribs and rice.

Calabash Soup

I love you, Mommy!

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