Soup of Parsnips and Tomatoes (Canh củ cải trẳng).

Soup of Parsnips and Tomatoes (Canh củ cải trẳng).

by tonytran2015 (Melbourne, Australia).

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(Blog No.115).

#Soup, #parsnip soup,, #Parsnip, #tomatoes, #Canh Cu Cai Trang, #MSG,

Soup of Parsnips and Tomatoes (Canh củ cải trẳng).

This is a very simple, non-odoured, low priced soup dish that is also the base for making a variety of delicious, healthy Vietnamese and Cantonese dishes such as soup of pork legs (canh đùi heo), soup of pork ribs (canh sườn heo), soup of minced pork wrapped in Chinese cabbage and chives (canh cải Bẳc thảo dồn thịt), or soup of minced pork stuffed in chive strung tofu, (canh đậu hủ dồn thịt), soup of balls of minced fish (canh cá vò viên), soup of balls of smashed beef (thĩt bò vò viên), Cantonese rice noodle soup (Hủ tiểu).

Non-odored dish means a dish that does not make your body have its aroma (smell) after eating.

(Parsnip=Củ cải trẳng, Chinese cabbage= Cải Bẳc (Northern) thảo (vegetable); Chives= Hẹ).
1. Preparation

Chop a whole parsnip into small pieces of about 10g in weight each and boil it in a glass or ceramic cook pot until it becomes soft. Slice tomatoes into one eighth pieces and add to the broth and boils until tomato pieces also becomes soft as in the photo.

You may add some chopped shallots, chopped spring onions and ground pepper to suite your taste.

The soup is ready for serving.


Glass or ceramic cook pots do not interfere with the taste of the soup.
2. Ingredients

a. Parsnip plant (Pastinaca sativa) is a root vegetable closely related to the carrotand parsley.

Parsnips are sold in supermarket as tubers. They look like washed carrots but they are white, about 20cm to 40cm long. Current price is $4.00 AUD ($3 USD) per Kg.

Parsnip tubers had been used as a sweetener in Europe until replaced by beetroot and sugar-canes. They are rich in vitamins (C, E, B1, B6, B3, B5) and mineral metals (K, P, Mg, Ca, Na).

Parsnips repel aphids, Western organic planters plant them among cabbage plants to repel aphids, using no insecticide but parsnips’ natural odour.

Oriental (Eastern) herbalists claim that parsnips neutralize many toxic substances as well as render ineffective (proof ?) oriental oral medications. Herbalists’ wisdom advises against eating any parsnip together with pears, apple, grapes, medicines, ginseng, carrots (Rigorous proofs to claims are still not available).

b. Tomatoes are sold in supermarkets. Current price is $3.00 AUD ($2 USD) per Kg.

c. Shallots (Hành hương). Leeks (Hành Tây).

d. Spring onion (hành lá). Chives (Hẹ).


Touching parsnip then exposure of the skin to sunlight may cause skin rash.

While the root of the parsnip is edible, the shoots and leaves of the plant have toxic sap containing furanocoumarins [1].


Mono-sodium glutamate (MSG) imitates the taste of this soup. Unprofessional cooks using non-authentic recipes may put in a lot of mono-sodium glutamate to fool customers. Traditional, authentic recipes have no such modern ingredient. Soup with MSG is watery, with few parsnips and few tomatoes.

In the short term, mono-sodium glutamate may cause extreme headache, throat congestion, prolong thirst and swelling of your ankles and feet. Do NOT eat any non-authentic dish prepared with such ingredient.
3. Contraindications [3].

Parsnips are not to be eaten while taking some herbal medications.

Parsnips are not to be eaten with [3, 4, 5, 6, 7]:

a. Carrots. Carrots have many enzymes that quickly destroy any beneficial vitamin C from parsnips [3,4].

b. Ginseng. [3].

c. Pears, apples, grapes. Cyanogenic acid from parsnip may react (proof ?) with some compounds of in these fruits [3,4] to produce toxic chemicals. Vietnamese herbalists and media [3,4,5,6,7] claimed that prolonged consumption of these toxic chemicals can even cause (proof ?) lumps on the necks.

d. “Wood ears” mushrooms (Auricularia auricula-judae). Eaters would have skin rash [4].

4. Where to find it?

It is an inexpensive, common favorite dish (costing 10000VND =$0:50 US in 2017) in Vietnam (in Saigon).

I don’t know how much it would cost in a Vietnamese restaurant outside Vietnam.










Added after 2021 Feb 13:





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