I love incorporating fruits in savory dishes. Soups are a great way to do it, and today I made a soup similar to Vietnamese pumpkin soup (canh bí), but substituted ripe papaya for the pumpkin. It’s called “canh đu đủ” in Vietnamese. I made the soup using chicken stock; you could use fish stock, vegetable broth or any other of your favorite flavorings. The natural sweetness from the papaya balances the flavors of a soup broth very well. At first sight, the beautiful orange color is reminiscent of fall colors due to the presence of carotenes in papaya. The flavor is quite different though. If you’re looking for a healthy, flavorful soup, this is it.
In addition to tasting delicious, in Asian culture, old wives’ tales say that papaya soup increases lactation for breastfeeding women. True or not, if you’ve just given birth, this recipe could help.
1. Info for Papaya Soup Recipe (Canh Du Du)
- Cook Time: 60 mins
- Total Time: 1 hr 20 mins
- Servings: 8
- Calories: 120 kcal
2. Ingredients for Papaya Soup Recipe (Canh Du Du)
- 2 tablespoons canola oil (or any neutral oil)
- 1 (2-inch) chunk fresh ginger
- ½ yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 6 chicken carcasses
- 1 large ripe papaya, peeled and diced
- 3 tablespoons green onions, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon cilantro, finely chopped
- 1 chunk rock sugar (about 1 ounce), (to taste)
- 4 dried dates (see tips)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper, freshly cracked
- 2 tablespoons nước mắm, optional
- Prepping the ginger: Cut the ginger root in half. Remove any dirt from one piece, peel it with the edge of a spoon, then thinly slice it. Place the ginger slices and dried dates in a teabag (optional).
- Frying onions: Slice the onion. Heat the oil in a pan. Fry the onions, stirring frequently to prevent the onion from burning, until the color is evenly golden brown.
- Wash the chicken carcasses.
- Fill a large stockpot with 4 quarts of water. Bring to a roaring boil. Add the ginger teabag and fried onions to the pot. Bring the liquid back to a boil. Add the chicken carcasses to the broth. Cook for about 15 minutes. Regularly skim the impurities rising to the surface of the broth using a fine mesh strainer. Season with salt. Lower the heat to a bubbly simmer. Cook for about 45 minutes. Adjust seasoning. Add rock sugar. Stir well. The broth is ready.
- Peel and cut the papaya into 1-½” cubes. Gather about 3 cups.
- Bring the broth back to a boil. Add the diced papaya. Cook over low heat for about 10-12 minutes. Bring the broth back one more time to a boil. Add the green onions and cilantro. Turn off the heat. Cover and let the soup sit for about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with black pepper.
- Remove and discard the teabag.
- Serve hot. Drizzle nước mắm over the broth to finish (to adjust the seasoning).