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Pork and Tofu Soup | Gang Jeud | แกงจืดเต้าหู้

Pork and Tofu Soup | Gang Jeud | แกงจืดเต้าหู้ Most of the time, when I look at my boyfriend I don’t see someone from a different culture.  When we first started dating, sure, I was reminded at every turn how very different our backgrounds are.  But now, now that we’ve gotten the fundamentals of religion, politics, and the like behind us, I hardly notice that we grew up on opposite sides of the world.

It’s only every once in a while that simple things will remind me now.  Like a few weekends ago when we were shopping at a Thai market and the boyfriend pointed to an unusual-looking vine and said, “We make soup out of this”.  I paused for a moment and thought, “We do?” before I realized he wasn’t talking about “us we”, but about “Thai people we”.  Oh, right, he’s Thai.

Needless to say, we bought the strange vine-y vegetable and made soup out of it.  This soup is one that the boyfriend grew up eating (and I can’t believe he didn’t share with me until now!).  It’s made with water and/or clear broth as the base and ground pork, tofu cubes, and the leaves of this vegetable that I’ve since learned is the ivy gourd vine (pak tam leung/ผักตำลึง) as the main ingredients.  It’s such a simple soup composed of only a few ingredients, but it tastes so good.  That’s really the best kind of food, isn’t it?

If you don’t have access to ivy gourd vines in your area, almost any leafy green vegetable will do.  I’ve used Chinese broccoli (gai lan) before with good success and imagine that things like kale or collard greens would be good too.  The leaves just need to be hearty enough to withstand a gentle boil.  Once you have the greens picked out, it’s a super straightforward soup to make. Pork and Tofu Soup | Gang Jeud | แกงจืดเต้าหู้

I’m such a fan of this soup, I’ve made it about once a week since the boyfriend introduced me to it.  When I feed it to other non-Thai people, the first reaction I get is, “Is this Thai?  It’s not spicy!”  And it’s true, this soup is not at all spicy.  In fact, it’s name in Thai (gang jeud/แกงจืด) literally translates to “bland soup”.  But not being spicy makes it the perfect accompaniment to Thai meals which are generally composed of several spicy dishes eaten with rice.  

Having a more American palate, I also like the soup by itself or with a big scoop of rice in it.  And although it comes from halfway across the world, this soup is as soothing to me as the chicken noodle soup that I grew up with.

Pork and Tofu Soup | Gang Jeud | แกงจืดเต้าหู้

Makes 5-6 servings

Pork and Tofu Soup | Gang Jeud | แกงจืดเต้าหู้

Ingredients

  • 4 cups water
  • 4 cups chicken/pork broth
  • 3 tablespoons onion, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons shallots, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup ground pork
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon thin soy sauce
  • 1 14 ounce block of firm tofu, cut into 1" x 2" rectangles
  • 1/2 cup ivy gourd leaves
  • 1-2 teaspoons fish sauce (to taste)
  • cilantro and fried garlic for toppings

Instructions

  1. Saute the chopped onions, shallots, and garlic in a large pot until translucent. Then add the water and broth and bring to a slow boil.
  2. While the soup is coming to a boil, mix the ground pork with white ground pepper and thin soy sauce. Once the soup is boiling, add the ground pork mixture and break into small pieces if it clumps together. Cook until the pork is done.
  3. Then add the tofu rectangles and cook for another 5 or so minutes. Then add the ivy gourd or other green leaves and cook for another few minutes.
  4. Taste the soup and season with fish sauce if needed. Serve in a bowl and garnish with fried garlic and cilantro leaves.

 

5 comments… add one
  • Holly April 7, 2013, 6:34 am

    Hi Rachel,

    I came back from one of many trips to Thailand last year having fallen in love with Gang Jeud. I found your recipe and it’s now a staple in our household – so thank you!

    I’ve just read that your boyfriend is originally from Chiang Mai so I’m hoping you can help me out with the name of a soup. We were in Chiang Mai the first time 3 years ago and fell in love with a ‘locals’ soup kitchen serving a spicy pork soup. It had from memory rice noodles, ground pork, pork balls (I can’t remember the herbs) and you sprinkled crushed peanuts on the top. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was blood in this soup also. It was absolutely delicious and spicy! On return to Australia I searched high and low for the recipe online to no avail :-(

    We returned to Chiang Mai at Christmas 2012 with two main aims – revisit Lin Ping at the zoo and have at least two (ten) bowls of our favourite soup! We were devastated to find that the family run kitchen was closed the whole time we were in Chiang Mai so again I am left hanging on to the faint memory of the most delicious soup I’ve ever had!

    I would love to know the name or even better the recipe for this soup so if you can help out a fellow thai food lover I would be eternally grateful!

    Thanks in advance even if you come up empty :-)

    Korb kun ka

    • Rachel April 7, 2013, 6:21 pm

      Hi Holly, thanks so much for the comment!

      It sounds like you might be describing Boat Noodle Soup (Guay Teow Rua/ก๋วยเตี๋ยวเรือ) which is one of the boyfriend’s absolute favorite dishes. Here’s a link to see if it looks familiar: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O6BmIs4N5Og. Unfortunately I haven’t mastered the recipe for this yet, but will definitely put up a post when I do!

      If that’s not it, some other possibilities are listed here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Thai_dishes#Noodle_dishes… The variety of noodle dishes in Thailand really is astounding, but hopefully this will help put you on the right track!

  • Rosalind June 9, 2012, 6:37 pm

    Amazing soup recipe…my fiance and I loved it…

  • Patty December 8, 2011, 8:00 am

    My mom used to make this all the time and now I make it all the time as my go to lunch or when I’m sick. My mom would use those vines in her e-san cooking and not in this soup. I usually use napa cabbage or bok choy in mine and it works very well. I miss the awesome food in Thailand!

  • ugg boots outlet October 19, 2011, 11:59 pm

    Good posting! It is good for us!

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