Vietnamese Pumpkin Soup (Canh Bi Do) is a tasty, nutritious, and filling vegetable soup for everyday meals, especially in winter. You can cook it with one pot in just half an hour.
Traditional Vietnamese meals usually have a brothy soup dish. It offers a contrast to “dry” rice and other dishes, thus makes the whole meal more enjoyable. This pumpkin soup is one of my favorites to eat in winter, besides this potato carrot pork rib soup. The Vietnamese name is “canh bí đỏ“.
Related: I have a different pumpkin soup recipe in which the pumpkin is blended to create a smooth and thick Western-style soup.
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Since this Vietnamese squash soup is an everyday dish, it contains very simple and affordable ingredients. The first main ingredient is, of course, squash. I usually use butternut squash, which will give the soup plenty of natural sweetness. You can also use Kabocha squash or other types of cooking pumpkin/winter squash that is sweet.
The broth is made from simmering ground pork in water, and then simply seasoned with salt (and fish sauce, to taste and optional). That is enough to provide a savory base as well as umami for the soup. I recommend using ground pork with a minimal amount of fat if possible.
It is possible to use pork ribs broth, although it makes the dish a bit too rich and heavy, from my experience. Using ground pork gives the soup such lightness that goes better with the pumpkin. Besides, simmering pork ribs takes at least an hour while a ground pork based broth takes just a few minutes to make.
I like to serve canh bi do with chopped scallion and cilantro sprinkled on top. Some people in Southern Vietnam like to use saw-tooth leaves (ngo gai) instead of cilantro.
Vietnamese pumpkin soup is so quick and easy to make that there’s really not much to be extra careful about. I just have two quick suggestions before we head to the recipe card:
- slice the pumpkin into pieces with similar thickness so that they will finish cooking at the same time
- skim off foam so that the soup will look clear
You can serve this soup with rice and some of the following savory dishes for a hassle-free and filling dinner:
Please find detailed list of ingredients and instructions in the recipe card below.
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 Facebook, Youtube, Pinterest and Instagram for the latest updates. You can find my collection of Vietnamese recipes here.
Vietnamese Pumpkin Soup (Canh Bi Do)
- 14 oz peeled, uncooked butternut squash (or Kabocha squash, or other types of cooking pumpkin)
- 5 oz ground pork (with low percentage of fat preferably)
- 3/4 teaspoon salt (to taste)
- olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon fish sauce, optional (to taste)
- scallions, thinly sliced
- cilantro, roughly chopped
- black pepper
- Cut squash into small pieces, about ½-¾ inch thick. Set aside. Mix ground pork with ¼ teaspoon of salt.
- Place a pot over medium heat and heat a small amount of oil. Once the oil is hot, add minced garlic and cook briefly until fragrant.
- Add ground pork. Stir and cook while breaking up the meat. Add the remaining ½ teaspoon of salt and continue to stir and cook until the pork is no longer pink on the outside.
- Pour water into the pot and bring it to a boil. Skim off any foam and lower the heat to a gentle simmer. Cover with the lid slightly askew and simmer for about 5-10 minutes.
- Open the lid and add squash pieces. Increase the heat and let the soup come to a rolling simmer. Then skim off foam and lower the heat back to a gentle simmer. Cover with the lid slightly askew and cook for about 10 minutes, or until the squash is tender to your liking.
- Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning with salt or fish sauce to your liking. Transfer to serving bowls. Scatter chopped scallion and cilantro on top and sprinkle some black pepper. Serve right away.