canh chua from mai lee in brentwood photo by carmen troesser

Make this canh chua from Mai Lee​ in Brentwood

If you’d like a more substantial soup, Mai Lee owner Qui Tran said you can add tofu, shrimp or almost any other seafood to this recipe (added at the end, with the okra and bean sprouts). He also suggested serving this hotpot-style, starting with the broth and cooking ingredients as desired.


Canh Chua
Courtesy of Mai Lee’s Qui Tran


2 to 4 servings


4 cups water
1 cup cubed pineapple
2 Tbsp. minced lemongrass
3 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. tamarind powder
½ Tbsp. salt
1 cup peeled bac ha (elephant ear vegetable)
1 cup sliced celery
1 cup cubed tomato
1 cup bean sprouts
1 cup whole, trimmed okra (optional)
½ cup rough chopped rice paddy herb (or Thai basil)
½ cup rough chopped culantro (or cilantro)
1 Tbsp. fried garlic, for garnish


• In a medium pot, combine the water, pineapple and lemongrass. Place over high heat and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-high and simmer 5 to 10 minutes.
• Add the sugar, tamarind powder and salt and stir until dissolved. Cook until fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes.
• Add the bac ha, celery and tomato and continue to simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the okra, if using, and the bean sprouts. Simmer 5 more minutes. Stir in the rice paddy herb and culantro, top with the fried garlic and serve.


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Mai Lee, 8396 Musick Memorial Drive, Brentwood, maileestl.com