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Pulling ingredients from the swampy rice paddocks that cover much of Vietnam’s landscape, chef Jerry Mai calls this classic sweet & sour dish “the heart and soul of Vietnamese, homely, country food.”

You will need

Serves 4

  • 250g soft tofu
  • 4 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 stem elephant's ear*, peeled and sliced on an angle
  • 100g canned pineapple pieces
  • 1 bunch rice paddy herbs, cut 1cm lengths
  • 1 bunch sawtooth coriander, cut 1cm lengths
  • 2 tablespoon garlic oil
  • 1 large red chilli, sliced on an angle
  • 1/2 cup bean shoots
  • 200g morning glory, cut 5cm lengths


  • 1 litre vegetable stock
  • 80g tamarind
  • 16g vegan fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

Garlic oil

  • 100ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 large cloves garlic, minced

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5 mins to prep

  1. Step 1

    First, make the stock, add all stock ingredients to a medium pot, Leave to simmer for 10 minutes. The stock should taste sweet, sour and salty. Strain the stock and set aside, discard the tamarind pulp

  2. Step 2

    To make the garlic oil, place a small pot with 100ml veg oil and minced garlic over medium–high heat. Cook until the garlic is golden brown colour, making sure to stir constantly, remove from heat immediately and allow to cool.

  3. Step 3

    Bring the stock back to the boil and add the tofu and leave to simmer for 2–3 minutes then add the elephants’ ears, morning glory, pineapple, cherry tomato and bean shoots, when the stock comes back to the boil ladle the soup into a large bowl.

  4. Step 4

    Garnish the soup with garlic oil, rice paddy herb, sawtooth coriander and chillies. This soup is great served with steamed rice or bun noodles

Hot tip!

*You can source elephant’s ear stems from many Asian grocers, and some larger farmers markets if you’re lucky!

Recipe: Jerry Mai

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