Cambodian Sweet and Sour Fish Soup


(Serves 4 - 6)

Crispy Garlic

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled, finely diced


  • 4 cups water

  • 4 cups chicken stock

  • 7g chicken stock cube

  • 4 kafir lime leaves

  • 2cm piece ginger, peeled, cut in to thin batons

  • 1 teaspoon finely grated galangal

  • 1 red chilli, thinly sliced

  • 1 lemongrass stalk

  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce

  • 2 tablespoons tamarind puree

  • 2 teaspoons white sugar

  • 1 teaspoon salt


  • 2 cups (300g) chopped pineapple triangles

  • 2 medium tomatoes, cut in to thin wedges

  • 500g firm white fish fillets, cut in to 4cm pieces

  • 1 bunch choy sum, trimmed, cut in to thirds

  • 160g snow peas, trimmed, halved

  • 1 celery stick, thinly sliced

  • 3 spring onions, thinly sliced

  • Fresh basil, mint and coriander leaves, to serve



To make the crispy garlic, heat the oil in a large stockpot over medium to high heat. Add the garlic and stir-fry for about 1 minute or until golden and crispy. Remove garlic and drain on absorbent kitchen paper.

STEP 2.    

Add the water, chicken stock, stock cube, lime leaves, ginger, galangal and chilli to the pot. Halve the lemongrass and gently crush using the back of a knife. Tie each piece in to a knot. Add to the pot and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

STEP 3.    

Stir in the fish sauce, tamarind, sugar and salt. Simmer for 5 minutes.

STEP 4.    

Add the pineapple and tomatoes. Simmer for a further 5 minutes.

STEP 5.    

Add the fish. Continue simmering for about 5 minutes or until fish is cooked through. Stir in the spinach, snow peas, celery and spring onions. Simmer for 1 more minute. Remove from heat.

STEP 6.    

Divide the soup between serving bowls. Sprinkle over the crispy garlic, basil, mint and coriander leaves, to serve.


  • Making the crispy garlic in the same pot as the soup is a great start to the flavour base.

  • Any white fish such as red emperor or barramundi or whiting or snapper are good example of firm white sustainable fish to use in this soup

  • Tamarind puree is a better choice than powdered tamarind as powdered tamarind can contain additives

  • The fish and greens are cooked last in order to retain their texture, colour and shape

  • You can add more or less fish sauce, tamarind and sugar to taste to create the perfect balance of sweet, sour and salty that you desire