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Simple Vietnamese Cabbage and Pork Soup – Canh Bap Cai (Easy Way)

Learn how to make a simple Vietnamese cabbage soup recipe called Canh Bap Cai the easy way.

Canh Bap Cai is a deliciously light and flavorful Vietnamese Cabbage Soup recipe. It’s a great soup that can be served in a bowl on it’s own or ladled over a bowl of steaming hot rice. It’s a dish you’ll find often served during Vietnamese New Year (Tet) as well as on any traditional Vietnamese family’s dinner table on any weeknight.

In this post, I’m going to show you how you can make an easy version of Vietnamese Cabbage Soup recipe without needing to roll it so that you can make it on any weeknight. This recipe truly is no fuss, has the same flavors, and is absolutely easy to make.

All About Canh Bap Cai – Vietnamese Cabbage Soup

Canh Bap Cai is a Vietnamese soup made with a handful of ingredients along with cabbage, pork, and shrimp. The pork and shrimp are usually seasoned and rolled into cabbage leaves.

What is Canh Bap Cai served with?

Canh Bap Cai can be served as a soup by itself. Often, you’ll find most Vietnamese families eating it with a bowl of jasmine rice.

What are variations of Canh Bap Cai soup?

There are a multitude of variations of this soup. The traditional way of making Canh Bap Cai soup involves mixing together ground pork, shrimp, scallions, fish sauce, salt, and pepper, and then rolling the mixture between cabbage leaves that are then put into a chicken stock for cooking.

Another variation of this soup involves no rolling of the mixtures with cabbage leaves at all and leaving out the shrimp. The cabbage is cut into 2-inch pieces, cooked in chicken broth with country style pork that has been cut into bite size pieces and/or pork neck bones (that have been thoroughly cleaned). This is a simplified version of Canh Bap Cai soup, but it is just as delicious.

What does this Vietnamese Canh Bap Cai soup mean?

When Canh Bap Cai is translated literally, Canh means soup and Bap Cai refers to cabbage.

What does Canh Bap Cai – Vietnamese Cabbage Soup taste like?

Vietnamese Canh Bap Cai, Cabbage Soup, is not by itself a full meal. It often is accompanied to a bigger meal with other dishes. However, jasmine rice is often served with this flavorful soup in traditional Vietnamese households. Generally, the Canh Bap Cai is ladled over a bowl of hot jasmine rice, allowing the rice to soak up the broth flavor.

Vietnamese cabbage and pork dish canh bap cai

About This Recipe for Vietnamese Cabbage Soup

My recipe does not call for rolling the meat and cabbage like most traditional soups. I just find rolling the cabbage with a shrimp and pork mixture too fussy for a weeknight meal.

Veering from the traditional recipe, I also just pork necks. For those that don’t like bone (e.g. eating chicken wings), this recipe might not be for you. I find that using pork neck bones with a lot of meat provides a thicker broth. You’ll definitely need to clean it well. However, if you don’t like pork neck bones, you can use pork country style ribs (the ones with a lot of fat) to provide similar flavor.

Ingredients You Can Add

Again, on any weeknight, my goal is no fuss. However, if you wanted to add a little flavor and texture, you can definitely use ground pork, shrimp, and minced wood ear mushroom. You could roll it into balls and drop it into chicken broth that is at a rolling boil along with the slices of cabbage as an option.

Asian Grocery Store List for Vietnamese Cabbage Soup

Luckily, you will not need a special trip to the Asian market to get any ingredients for this recipe. Most of the ingredients can be found at your local American grocer.

Fish Sauce

The only thing I might pick up is the Squid Brand Fish Sauce. I find that the ones at the local American grocers are a little too strong. This is the bottle you should look for:

Neck Bones and Country Style Ribs

When you are at the grocer, make sure you pick out neck bones that have thick meat on them. This will provide a fuller experience. You can also choose country style ribs (without bone), which can also provide delicious flavor without having your family pick at the bone of the neck bone meat.

Tips and Tricks Before Making Canh Bap Cai, Vietnamese Cabbage Soup

Cleaning Impurities from Bones

In order to ensure a clear broth, make sure that you take time to thoroughly clean the neck bones before putting them into the pot. 

You’ll want to fill a stockpot up with water, add in the neck bones, and when it’s at a rolling boil, extract the impurities, foam, and gunk from the water and allow the neck bones to blanch, but not cook through all the way. Keep it in the boiling water for about 5 minutes.

Next, you can clean the neck bones by removing them from the stock pot, getting rid of the water, and rinsing the neck bones under cold water, removing any additional impurities.

How to Make Authentic Vietnamese Cabbage Soup (Canh Bap Cai) Recipe

Ingredients for Vietnamese Cabbage Soup

  • 1 small head cabbage, cut into 2 inch strips
  • 2 pounds of country style pork or pork neck bones
  • 2 tablespoon of fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1 cube of chicken broth bullion
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • ½ cup of cilantro, chopped

Instructions for Making Canh Bap Cai (Vietnamese Cabbage Soup)

  1. Take a stockpot of water to a rolling boil.
  2. Add in the pork neck bones or country ribs for 5 minutes. Clean impurities off of the neck bones. Drain the stockpot and clean it.
  3. Fill the cleaned stock pot with 6 cups of water.
  4. Add in the cleaned neck bones or pork and fish sauce, salt, chicken both bullion, and black pepper. Allow the pork to cook for 45 minutes on medium heat. Make sure you clean out impurities every 10 minutes by using a ladle to skim off the impurities off the top.
  5. In the last 5 minutes of cooking, add in cabbage and allow it to soften and cook through.
  6. When serving, add in green onion and cilantro as garnish. Serve with jasmine rice.

Frequently Asked Questions About Canh Bap Cai

Can I make Canh Bap Cai with shrimp and ground pork?

Canh Bap Cai when made traditionally uses ground pork and ground shrimp that is rolled into a cabbage leaf roll which is then steamed and cooked in the broth. 

What can I substitute in place of pork neck bones?

When making Canh Bap Cai, a Vietnamese broth soup, you can use country style pork ribs in place of pork neck bones.

Summary About Canh Bap Cai Recipe

Vietnamese dishes make use of cabbage in a multitude of ways from using it fresh, frying, steaming, and in this soup, boiled. 

This Vietnamese dish is no exception. This recipe allows the cabbage to become smooth and satiny, allowing for the pork and shrimp to be cooked all the way through.

Cabbage provides a natural sweetness when it is cooked slowly in a meat broth, which allows it to release some of it’s delicious flavor.

Simple Vietnamese Cabbage and Pork Soup

Simple Vietnamese Cabbage and Pork Soup

Yield: 6
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Additional Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Delicious, light, flavorful Vietnamese pork and cabbage homestyle recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1 small head cabbage, cut into 2 inch strips
  • 2 pounds of country style pork or pork neck bones
  • 2 tablespoon of fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1 cube of chicken broth bullion
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • ½ cup of cilantro, chopped

Instructions

  1. Take a stockpot of water to a rolling boil.
  2. Add in the pork neck bones or country ribs for 5 minutes. Clean impurities off of the neck bones. Drain the stockpot and clean it.
  3. Fill the cleaned stock pot with 6 cups of water.
  4. Add in the cleaned neck bones or pork and fish sauce, salt, chicken both bullion, and black pepper. Allow the pork to cook for 45 minutes on medium heat. Make sure you clean out impurities every 10 minutes by using a ladle to skim off the impurities off the top.
  5. In the last 5 minutes of cooking, add in cabbage and allow it to soften and cook through.
  6. When serving, add in green onion and cilantro as garnish. Serve with jasmine rice.

Notes

Ensure that you take time to clean the impurities if using pork bones.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 208Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 74mgSodium: 1733mgCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 23g

Other Vietnamese Dishes You Might Like

If you liked this soup, here are some other Vietnamese soup dishes you might like:

Did you make this recipe?
If you made this recipe, don’t forget to leave a 5 star review! Please share on social with #cookingwithlane or the “I made it” feature button on Pinterest!
Vietnamese cabbage and pork dish canh bap cai
Vietnamese cabbage and pork dish canh bap cai
Vietnamese cabbage and pork dish canh bap cai
Vietnamese cabbage and pork dish canh bap cai
Vietnamese cabbage and pork dish canh bap cai
Vietnamese cabbage and pork dish canh bap cai
Vietnamese cabbage and pork dish canh bap cai
Vietnamese cabbage and pork dish canh bap cai
Vietnamese cabbage and pork dish canh bap cai
Vietnamese cabbage and pork dish canh bap cai
Vietnamese cabbage and pork dish canh bap cai
Vietnamese cabbage and pork dish canh bap cai
vietnamese food delicious

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