Asian-inspired plant-based recipes

Vietnamese Sweet and Sour Soup (Canh Chua Chay)

Watch how to make it here

Vietnamese sweet and sour soup is a medley of the best flavors unique to Vietnamese cuisine. Sweet, sour, salt, and tangy, it’s flavorful, healthy, and the perfect meal for soup season.

A few notes:

  1. Fresh pineapple is best used for this recipe. If not available, feel free to use canned pineapple chunks but set any pineapple juice aside and do not include it in the recipe.
  2. Elephant ear is normally included in this soup but since it is challenging to find, celery is used as an alternative.
  3. Vegan fish sauce can be found at most Asian grocery stores or online here
  4. Palm sugar is used in this recipe but can be substituted with granulated sugar instead.
  5. Sawtooth herb (aka “Ngò Gai”) is typically used as a fresh topping and can be found at most Asian grocery stores. If not available, cilantro and green onions will suffice.
  6. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.


1 tomato, cut into 6 wedges

2 cups fresh pineapple chunks

4 celery stalks, roughly chopped

7oz firm tofu, cut into 1 inch cubes

2 cups bean sprouts

2 cups okra, sliced diagonally

2 garlic cloves, sliced

1 thumb ginger, keep intact

1/2 small yellow onion, keep intact

1.5 tbsp vegan fish sauce

1.5 tbsp tamarind paste

1 tsp mushroom seasoning

1/2 cube vegan chicken bouillon

1 tbsp palm sugar or granulated sugar

1 tbsp oil

1 tbsp white vinegar

6-8 cups water


Sawtooth herb “Ngò Gai”, roughly chopped

Cilantro, roughly chopped

1 Thai chili pepper

1 tbsp fried minced garlic


  1. Soak whole okra (do not slice yet) in a bowl of room temperature water and 1 tbsp of white vinegar for 10 minutes. This will help reduce any sliminess.
  2. This is optional but this would be a good time to fry 5 minced garlic cloves in about 2 tbsp of neutral oil. Fry for 3-4 minutes or until lightly golden. Transfer to a bowl and set aside to add as topping later.
  3. Wash all vegetables thoroughly. Set bean sprouts and sawtooth herb aside to dry. Prep the tomato, pineapple, celery, and okra.
  4. In a pot, add oil and fry the onion and ginger until golden. Add garlic and saute for 1-2 minutes before adding the tomato, celery, okra and pineapple. Season with tamarind, fish sauce, mushroom seasoning, palm sugar and vegan chick bouillon. Saute for a few minutes before topping it off with water, about 6-8 cups. There should be enough water covering all the vegetables. With the lid closed, simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. Add bean sprouts and tofu. Cover with a lid and simmer for 3 more minutes.
  6. Garnish with the sawtooth herb, cilantro, fried garlic, and Thai chili pepper. Serve immediately with rice.


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