Chao Chay Recipe (Vietnamese Vegetarian Rice Soup)


We just stored all the holiday decorations and a new celebration is already upon us. Tết, the Asian New year is coming up in two weeks! I haven’t bought cherry blossom flowers yet or decorated the house with red, but I’ll get to it soon. The other thing is that at the beginning of the year (Lunar calendar), it is auspicious to eat vegetarian food (ăn chay) on the last day of the previous year and first day of New Year. I recently made a delicious cháo bò (beef rice porridge), and I’ve created a vegetarian version to serve to the family.

Rice porridge is a typical Asian comfort food. I made this dish with tofu, carrots, daikon radishes, beech mushrooms and peas. Not only is it vegetarian, but it’s also very healthy, which fits my New Year’s resolution perfectly. I’m still trying to shed the extra baby weight! I’m going to be sharing a few Asian vegetarian dishes for you to try over the next few days, so come back soon!

1. Info for Chao Chay Recipe (Vietnamese Vegetarian Rice Soup)

  • Cook Time: 50 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hr 30 mins
  • Servings: 8
  • Calories: 150 kcal

2. Ingredients for Chao Chay Recipe (Vietnamese Vegetarian Rice Soup)

  • 1 (12-ounce) package medium-firm tofu, drained and diced
  • 6 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 (2-inch) chunk fresh ginger
  • 2 carrots, trimmed and peeled
  • 2 daikon radishes, trimmed and peeled
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups broken rice (see tips)
  • ¼ cup jicama (optional), fried and diced
  • 2 cups beech mushrooms, or button mushrooms
  • ¼ cup frozen peas
  • 3 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1-½ teaspoons black pepper, freshly cracked

3. Directions:

  1. Prepping the ginger: Cut the ginger root. Peel it with a paring knife, thinly slice it, then cut into long matchsticks. Set aside.
  2. In a large pot, place the vegetable stock. Bring to a roaring boil. Add the carrots and daikon and lower the heat to a bubbly simmer. Cook for about 20 minutes until softened. Add the jicama. Remove the carrots and daikon from the broth. Dice the vegetables and place them back in the broth. Check the seasoning. Season with salt (if necessary) and pepper. Adjust sweetness (if necessary) with rock sugar.
  3. Note: The key to a successful outcome is to prepare the bowls individually (no more than 2 servings at a time).
  4. Wash and rinse the broken rice thoroughly in several water baths. Unlike basmati rice, no soaking time is needed. Drain as much water as possible.
  5. Heat the oil in a non-stick, medium saucepan. Add the onions. Cook over medium-low heat for about 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent the onions from burning, until the color is evenly golden brown. Transfer the onions to a plate, leaving about 1/3 the amount in the saucepan.
  6. Add ½ cup rice to the saucepan. The oil should coat all the grains. Add 2 cups of boiling-hot vegetarian stock and stir occasionally. Immediately lower the heat to a gentle boil. Cook until the broth thickens like porridge. Add 4 ounces of tofu, beech mushrooms, 1 tablespoon peas and a few ginger matchsticks. Cook for 5 more minutes until the peas are ready. Finish with cilantro. Depending on the consistency you like, you could add more vegetable broth to thin out the soup. Adjust seasoning.
  7. Sprinkle of freshly cracked pepper.
  8. Serve immediately and call each person as the soup is ready.
  9. Repeat the same procedure for the next servings.
  10. Bon appétit!

Please rate this article