Canh Bap Cai Vietnamese Cabbage Soup with Meatballs

Make a meatball soup to keep you warm this winter with this Canh Bap Cai recipe.

Canh Bap Cai Vietnamese Cabbage Soup with Meatballs
Photo by Tessa Cooper

Recipe courtesy Tina Nguyen Bulger, @overthetable_food.


• 200 grams large shrimp, thawed and peeled
• ½ pound ground chicken or pork
• ½ napa cabbage chopped into ½ inch slices (about 4 cups)
• 4 cups chicken broth
• 2 cups water
• 3 minced garlic cloves
• ½ shallot thinly sliced
• 2 medium carrots peeled and cut into 1/2 inch slices
• 1 tablespoon soy sauce
• 1 teaspoon sugar
• 1 teaspoon fish sauce
• 3 teaspoons chicken bouillon powder
• ½ teaspoon black pepper
• ¼ teaspoon sesame oil
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 2 teaspoon cornstarch extra salt and black pepper to taste cilantro and green onion for garnish


Prepare all of the vegetables as listed and set aside. In a food processor, combine shrimp, chicken, soy sauce, black pepper, cornstarch, sesame oil and 1 teaspoon of chicken bouillon. Pulse until fully combined. Scoop into a separate bowl and set aside in the fridge until ready. In a medium stock pot, heat oil on low-medium heat. Add garlic and shallots and cook for 1 minute. Add carrots and napa cabbage and cook for another 2 minutes. Add chicken stock and water. Bring to a light boil on medium heat, about 5–6 minutes. Stir in fish sauce, sugar, salt and the rest of the chicken bouillon powder. Scoop meatball mixture into small balls and drop ½ tablespoon into the pot one at a time. Continue until all of the mixture is gone. Let soup simmer for an extra 6–8 minutes while all of the meatballs cook. Add salt, pepper, fish sauce or chili oil to taste. Garnish with chopped cilantro and green onion slices.