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Ho Chi Minh City
Saturday, May 18, 2024

The soup resonates flavors of home

By Tien Sa

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Indulging in a bowl of rice noodle soup with oc buou, also known as pila polita, is a culinary journey that resonates deeply with the flavors of home. This cherished dish marries a robust and earthy taste with an intricate preparation process, offering a delightful culinary experience that tugs at the heartstrings, particularly for those longing for the comforts of their homeland.

Oc buou, prized for its nutritional richness and cooling properties, is renowned for its abundant calcium content and therapeutic benefits, aiding in detoxification, promoting urination, and addressing various health conditions such as diabetes and constipation.

The meticulous preparation of oc buou begins with soaking the snails in rice water infused with chili peppers overnight to cleanse them of any impurities. Subsequently, the snails are simmered with lemongrass and lime leaves, the meat is extracted from the shells, seasoned with salt, and meticulously cleaned before being set aside to drain. The resulting broth is then filtered to achieve a pristine clarity.

To elevate the flavors of the broth, tomatoes, onions, cilantro, garlic, and lemongrass are introduced. As the broth simmers, it is enhanced with shrimp paste, tamarind juice, salt, sugar, and crushed fresh turmeric.

Meanwhile, tofu is expertly sliced into bite-sized pieces and fried to a crispy golden perfection. Simultaneously, the snail meat is sautéed with garlic, lemongrass, and cashew oil to impart a rich and aromatic essence. Both the tofu and snail meat are then incorporated into the broth.

Served in a bowl with tender rice noodles and fresh vegetables, the fragrant broth is ladled over the top. A final flourish of chopped onions, cilantro, and chili adds a burst of color and flavor, further enhancing the dish’s allure. Accompanied by a side of chili fish sauce, this culinary masterpiece is best savored piping hot to fully appreciate its intricate layers of flavor.

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