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Vietnamese Tomato Rice Soup with Shrimp

Vietnamese Tomato Rice Soup with Shrimp

A fresh Southeast Asian take on an old comforting classic.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Servings 4


  • 1 cup jasmine rice
  • 2 tablespoons lard
  • 2/3 cup chopped shallots
  • 2/3 cup chopped Chinese celery stalks (reserve leafy portion) or use regular celery
  • 1 stalk of lemongrass prepped (see notes), then sliced and smashed in mortar and pestle to yield about 1 tablespoon smashed lemongrass
  • 3 large cloves garlic smashed into a paste - yield about 1/2 tablespoon
  • 1 small jalapeño chopped finely
  • 1 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes with their liquid (canned or jarred)
  • 2 rounded tablespoons tomato paste
  • 6 cups warmed Lemongrass Shrimp Broth (or other seafood broth)
  • 1 stalk lemongrass prepped (see notes) and bruised but left whole
  • 3-4 tablespoons fish sauce
  • Salt to taste
  • Handful of ramps roughly chopped or one small leek chopped into rounds, approximately 1/4 cup Reserved Chinese celery leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1.5 pounds of shrimp
  • Handful chopped cilantro
  • 3 scallions chopped
  • zest of one lime
  • Limes and Sriracha for serving


For Rice

  • Cook 1 cup dry rice according to package instructions. Rinse rice well before cooking. Cook in water or broth. While rice is cooking, start the soup.

For Soup

  • Heat lard on medium high until melted and warmed. Add chopped shallots and Chinese celery and cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
  • Add crushed lemongrass and smashed garlic. Cook about 1 minute while constantly stirring. Let it get very fragrant. Then add finely chopped jalapeño and stir constantly, for another minute.
  • Lower heat to medium and add chopped tomato in juices and tomato paste. Stir well, deglazing the pan with a little broth if needed. Cook about 5 minutes, lowering the heat if necessary to prevent burning.
  • Add warmed broth and bruised whole stalk of lemongrass. Bring to a simmer, then lower to lowest heat setting and cover. Let simmer for 10 mins covered.
  • Uncover and add fish sauce, ramps (or leeks), and reserved chopped Chinese celery leaves.Taste and add salt as need. (please see notes) Add shrimp. Once cooked through, add cilantro and scallions.
  • Right before serving, add lime zest and stir. Put a healthy dollop of rice in each bowl or serve on the side. Serve with Sriracha and limes.

Lemongrass prep

  • We want the tender inner bulb of the lemongrass. Remove root portion and the upper 2/3 of the stalk (that can be saved for making broth). Then peel a few layers off and you are left with the good stuff. Ready to be bruised or thinly sliced.


Note about salt
  1. If you are using homemade broth, it's essential that you add enough salt. If the soups seems a bit flat, it is usually because you need more salt. SALT.