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Simple Vegetable Consommé - 5 calories

Saba Shioyaki, Rau Muong and
Simple Vegetable Consommé

I love big, bold flavors. My middle name should be Salt Lick. But sometimes even I need a respite from salt and oil, like in the above meal of Saba Shioyaki (broiled salted mackreel) and boiled Rau Muong (water spinach) dipped in Man Ruoc (prepared fine shrimp paste sauce). So instead of piling on more white rice to counter balance the strong flavors and oily fish, I added a simple "soup".

This soup is merely the cooking liquid from the rau muong with a bit of lemon juice and salt (optional). This works beautifully for spinach too. The water has a wonderful sweetness and the lemon brightens it all up. It's refreshing and cuts through the fatty fish very well.

As an added bonus, the soup is chocked full of vitamins and nutrients lost from the vegetables. This is a very thrifty way to bulk up a meal and offset the often salty dishes.

Growing up, my sister and I made this "canh" (soup in Vietnamese) all the time. It's super easy and basically fool proof. If you want to get fancy, adding in a few diced shrimp is a great way to add protein to the soup.

Like miso soup, this is a great broth to sip on during Fast Days to stave off hunger pangs. Though the broth does not keep well and is best consumed on the day it is made.

Recipe: Simple Vegetable Consommé - 5 calories


  • 1 pound spinach or rau muong/ water spinach (0 calories for the soup)
  • 3 cups water (0 calories)
  • 1 lemon slice (5 calories)
  • 0.25 tsp salt (optional, 0 calories)

Optional garnishes at additional calories:

  • chopped shrimp
  • dried shrimp
  • bay scallops


  • Bring water to a boil, add salt (optional).
  • In several batches, boil spinach or rau muong into the boiling water until cooked through. Using tongs, remove cooked vegetables. Repeat with another batch of vegetables until all the vegetables are cooked. If not eating the vegetables right away, drain excess water and store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • Add lemon slices or simply squeeze lemon wedges into broth.
  • Ladle soup into individual bowls and enjoy!
Note: There may be sediment at the bottom of the pot so make sure not to disturb the sediment when ladling the soup out. Or pass broth through a fine mesh strainer.


  1. I've had this exact dinner many times. We totally have the same tastebuds. I like Norwegian mackerel a lot. I think it's fresher than the ones that come from Asia.

  2. Wandering Chopsticks - I picked up a package of mackerel from Costco and it was wild caught Norwegian mackerel and I do agree with you that it tastes fresher but I kind of miss the funky fattiness - call me weird. Also the fillets from Costco are skinny and the ones I get from Nijiya are thicker.

  3. I don't shop at Costco so I can't compare. I get whole Norwegian mackerel from the Korean grocery store down here for $1.99/lb and they're large and fatty in a good way. Mackerel holds up great in the Crock Pot for ca kho to too.


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