Vietnamese Meatball and Watercress Soup (Canh)

Prep Time
Cook Time
Ready In

"Source: Milk Street"

Original recipe yields 4 servings


  • Serving Size: 1 (903.4 g)
  • Calories 452.4
  • Total Fat - 31.3 g
  • Saturated Fat - 9.4 g
  • Cholesterol - 106.5 mg
  • Sodium - 3025.3 mg
  • Total Carbohydrate - 8.8 g
  • Dietary Fiber - 1.6 g
  • Sugars - 3.1 g
  • Protein - 34.1 g
  • Calcium - 83.9 mg
  • Iron - 2.6 mg
  • Vitamin C - 16.3 mg
  • Thiamin - 0.9 mg

Step 1

Line a rimmed baking sheet with kitchen parchment and mist with cooking spray. In a medium bowl, combine the pork, scallion whites, egg white, 1 tablespoon of the fish sauce, 2 teaspoons of the ginger, 1¼ teaspoons kosher salt and 1 teaspoon white pepper. Mix with your hands. Lightly moisten your hands with water and form into 20 balls, each about a generous tablespoon, and set on the prepared baking sheet. Cover and refrigerate.

Step 2

In a large Dutch oven over medium, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons ginger and the garlic, then cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the broth and bring to a boil over high.

Step 3

Reduce to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until the onion is fully softened, about 10 minutes.

Step 4

Add the meatballs, bring to a simmer over medium-high, then reduce heat to maintain a simmer. Cook undisturbed until the meatballs are cooked through, 160°F at the center, 8 to 10 minutes; cut through a meatball to check for doneness. Off heat, stir in the watercress and remaining 2 tablespoons fish sauce. Let stand until the greens are wilted and tender, about 1 minute. Stir in the lime juice. Taste and season with salt and pepper, then stir in the scallion greens.

NOTE I: Chicken bouillon paste instead of chicken broth can be substituted (packs a lot of flavor); use 2 tablespoons of paste dissolved in 2 quarts of water.

Step 5

*NOTE II: If you have access to “live” watercress, following is some information on it. If you can't find it, use regular watercress without the roots attached. Live watercress basically has the roots attached. It stays fresher longer and is easier to clean. To prep it, trim off and discard the roots, rinse and drain the greens, then cut them into 1½-inch lengths, discarding any stems that are thick or tough. If you prefer, substitute an equal amount of baby spinach for the watercress, but roughly chop the leaves before using. Watercress adds a peppery note to the soup. However, *

Tips & Variations

No special items needed.