Lotus Root Soup with Pork Rib (Canh Suon Cu Sen)

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This lotus root soup with pork rib is a comforting, healthy, and tasty soup for family meals. The ribs are tender while the broth has a delicate sweet-savory flavor and a gentle fragrance. You can make it on the stovetop or with a pressure cooker.

a bowl of lotus root soup with pork rib, with rice on the side

Pork rib soup was always in our family dinner rotation when I was a kid, like this potato carrot rib soup. Simply by switching up the vegetables cooked with the ribs, we were able to enjoy pork rib soups regularly without feeling repetitive.

This lotus root soup was among our most favorite soups with pork ribs. It is also one of those dishes that make us feel homey. We call it “canh sườn củ sen” in Vietnamese. The dish is popular in both Vietnamese and Chinese cuisines.

Recipe Highlights

  • This is a delicious and nourishing soup that can be cooked on the stovetop or with a pressure cooker.
  • The recipe requires only 5 ingredients.
  • It is suitable for both daily meals and special occasions.

Watch How to Make Lotus Root Soup

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Ingredients for Lotus Root Soup

Here are what you’ll need to cook this delicious soup:

plates containing lotus root, pork ribs and jujube dates
  • lotus root (“củ sen” in Vietnamese): it is the edible rhizome of the lotus plant. This crunchy and slightly starchy vegetable can be cooked in various ways in Asian cuisines. You may need to visit an Asian grocery store to buy it.
  • pork ribs: I like to use meaty pork ribs, but you may also use pork neck bones instead.
  • jujube dates (also called red dates): this ingredient is optional but I highly recommend it. It adds a subtle fragrance and sweetness to the broth, and as a result, rounds out the flavors.

I also have another lotus root soup recipe which is vegan/vegetarian friendly.

Cooking Notes

This lotus root soup recipe is incredibly easy to make. Although it takes over 1.5 hours to cook, most of the cooking time is spent letting the soup simmer without too much attention from you. If you need a shortcut, I have suggestion for the pressure cooker method in another section.

1️⃣ First, prepare the lotus root by peeling and slicing it or cutting into chunks of the same thickness. Once peeled or cut, it should be soaked in a bowl of cold water with a squeeze of lime juice to prevent it from turning brown.

peeling lotus root
soaking lotus root in water with some lime juice
slicing lotus root on a cutting board

2️⃣ Next, parboil the pork ribs for several minutes to get rid of any impurities or strong pork smell. Another benefit of doing this step is that there won’t be much foam to skim off from the soup later.

3️⃣ Now, we simply need to let the lotus root, pork ribs, and jujube dates simmer away until the ribs are tender and flavors are extracted. There is no need to season the soup heavily beyond a bit of salt. We want to let the natural flavors of the ingredients shine.

adding lotus root and pork rib to a pot
simmering lotus root and pork rib soup

Substitutions/Variations

  • Add 2-3 dried shiitake mushrooms that have been rehydrated to simmer with other ingredients.
  • Or add 2-3 teaspoons of goji berries to the broth near the end of the cooking process.

And again, it’s fine to make this lotus pork rib soup without jujube dates if you don’t have any on hand. We actually grew up eating the soup like that, but recently found out adding the dates enhanced the taste.

Instant Pot/Pressure Cooker Suggestion

If you like to shorten the cooking time by using a pressure cooker such as an Instant Pot, here is my suggestion:

  • Parboil the ribs for a couple of minutes.
  • Add all ingredients and a reduced amount of water to the pressure cooker. Cook on High for about 30 minutes.
a bowl of lotus pork rib soup
a bowl of lotus root and pork rib soup

Lotus Root Soup with Pork Rib (Canh Suon Cu Sen)

This lotus root soup with pork rib is a comforting and nourishing soup for family dinners. The ribs are tender while the broth has a delicate sweet-savory flavor.
Author: Sophie
No ratings yet
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total: 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings: 4 people

Ingredients
 

  • 16 oz peeled lotus root
  • half a lime (or 1 teaspoon of vinegar)
  • 4 1/2 cups water (up to 5 cups, plus more to parboil the ribs)
  • 21 oz pork ribs
  • 1 teaspoon salt (to taste)
  • 8 jujube dates, rinsed and seeds removed (also called red dates)

Instructions
 

  • Peel lotus root and slice into ¼-⅓ inch (about 7-8mm) thick pieces or cut into chunks with the same thickness. Once peeled or cut, soak lotus root in a bowl of cold water with the juice from half a lime (or some vinegar) to prevent it from turning brown.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the pork ribs. Parboil for a couple of minutes, then drain and rinse the ribs.
  • To a clean pot, add cups (1100ml) of water and bring to a simmer. Add salt, pork ribs, lotus root and jujube dates.
  • Bring to a boil and skim off foam if needed. Then lower the heat, cover the pot and simmer for about 90 minutes or until the ribs are tender.
  • Taste and adjust to your liking. Transfer to serving bowls and serve right away.

Notes

You can garnish the soup with some chopped scallion and cilantro.
Instant Pot/Pressure cooker suggestion:
  • Parboil the ribs for a couple of minutes.
  • Add all ingredients and water to the pressure cooker. Reduce the amount of water by 1/2 a cup. Cook on High for about 25-30 minutes. Since not all pressure cookers are the same, please adjust cooking time as needed.
  • After releasing the pressure, switch to Sauté and simmer for several minutes. Adjust the taste to your liking.
Substitutions/Variations:
  • Add 2-3 dried shiitake mushrooms that have been rehydrated to simmer with other ingredients.
  • Or add 2-3 teaspoons of goji berries to the broth near the end of the cooking process.
  • Omit the jujube dates if you don’t have any on hand.

Nutrition

Calories: 373kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 83mg | Sodium: 724mg | Potassium: 883mg | Fiber: 6g | Vitamin C: 50mg | Calcium: 75mg | Iron: 2mg
Course: Side Dish, Soup
Cuisine: Chinese, Vietnamese
Keyword: canh suon cu sen, pork rib soup with lotus root
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⭐️ I’d love to hear what you think about the dish, so please feel free to leave a comment and a rating if you have tried it. New recipes are added every week so let’s connect on FacebookYoutubePinterest and Instagram for the latest updates. You can find my collection of Vietnamese recipes here.

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