This Vietnamese Pork Rib Soup with Potatoes and Carrots (Canh Suon Khoai Tay Ca Rot) is in the daily meal rotation of many Vietnamese families. Made with easy to find and affordable ingredients, this soup is so comforting and fulfilling.
Soup (“canh” in Vietnamese) is an essential dish in daily Vietnamese meals, especially in winter. When it’s cold, we like to cook hearty soups with ribs and root vegetables to warm the body. Most families in Vietnam don’t have a heater so you can imagine how a steamy bowl of soup can make a meal much more fulfilling and heartwarming. This pork rib soup with potatoes and carrots features tender pork ribs, potatoes, carrots with a clear and savory broth.
How to Cook Pork Rib Soup with Potatoes and Carrots
To make Vietnamese pork rib soup with potatoes and carrots (“canh suon khoai tay ca rot”), you just need pork spare ribs, potatoes, carrots, lots of cilantro and some basic pantry ingredients. You can ask the butcher to cut the spare ribs into bite-sized pieces for you. We also add a tomato at the end of the cooking process but it’s somewhat optional, some families don’t add it. And yes, use a lot of cilantro, both leaves and stems for maximum aroma :). These are all simple, easy to find and affordable ingredients.
The first step is to parboil the ribs to get rid of impurities so that we can have a clear soup with no unpleasant smell. After that, we simmer the ribs until tender, and then add potatoes and carrots and cook to desired softness.
You can also use a pressure cooker such as an Instant Pot to cook this pork spare rib soup. However, you still need to do the parboiling step on the stovetop. Then pressure cook the ribs first, release pressure, then add potatoes and carrots and pressure cook again until everything is tender. It cuts down cooking time but not by a whole lot, since it also takes some time to build up the pressure. I include suggestions for using the Instant Pot pressure cooker to make this soup at the end of the recipe card.
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Pork Rib Soup with Potatoes and Carrots
- 1 - 1.25 lbs pork spare ribs, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 5 cups water
- 0.75 lb potatoes, cubed (about 3 medium potatoes)
- 0.4 lb carrots, roll-cut (about 1 large or 2 small carrots)
- 1 tomato, cut into wedges (optional)
- 1 small shallot, peeled
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (and more for par-boiling)
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- cilantro, roughly chopped
- black pepper
- Bring a pot with plenty of water to a boil. Add pork spare ribs with some salt, bring back to a boil and let it boil for 2-3 more minutes. Remove the ribs and rinse under water. Discard the liquid.
- Clean the pot or in a clean pot, add pork spare ribs, 5 cups of water, shallot and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer, cover the pot. Skim off any foams/impurities.
- While the ribs are being simmered, peel and cut potatoes into 1-inch cubes. Peel and roll-cut carrots into pieces slightly smaller than the potato cubes.
- Simmer ribs until almost tender to your liking, 30 minutes or more depending on the ribs and your stovetop.
- Increase the heat, add carrots and wait for the water to boil again. Add potatoes and once the water starts boiling, lower heat to a simmer. Cover and simmer until all ingredients are tender to your liking, 7-10 more minutes.
- Increase the heat and let the soup start to boil, add tomato (if using) and fish sauce. Adjust seasoning to taste. Turn off the heat, add a lot of cilantro and transfer to serving bowls, sprinkle with black pepper.
- Parboiling the spare ribs like in the first step.
- Add ribs, water, shallot and salt to the Instant Pot. Cook on high pressure for 11 minutes.
- Quick release the pressure. Add carrots and potatoes. Cook on high pressure for 4 more minutes.
- Quick release. Change to Sauté mode. Add tomato (if using) and fish sauce, let the soup come to a boil. Adjust seasoning to your liking. Add cilantro, black pepper and transfer to serving bowls.