Chef's Recipes

Dandelion: Sour fish soup with elephant ear stem, tamarind and pineapple

Australian Gourmet Traveller recipe for Dandelion's sour fish soup with elephant ear stem, tamarind and pineapple.

By Geoff Lindsay
  • 20 mins preparation
  • 20 mins cooking
  • Serves 4
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Dandelion: Sour fish soup with elephant ear stem, tamarind and pineapple


  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 small brown onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 lemongrass stalks, white part only, thinly sliced
  • 2 star anise
  • 200 gm pineapple, cut into 1cm chunks
  • 100 gm tamarind pulp mixed with 250ml water, strained (reserve 60ml liquid)
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp coarsely grated light palm sugar, or to taste
  • For brushing: vegetable oil
  • 4 baby snapper fillets (about 150gm each)
  • 12 okra (about 200gm), sliced lengthways
  • 4 baby corn, halved
  • 12 small cherry tomatoes
  • 2 elephant ear stems, outer fibre peeled (see note)
  • 250 gm bean sprouts
  • 1 bunch rice paddy herb (see note)
Fried garlic
  • For deep-frying: canola oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced


  • 1
    For fried garlic, heat oil in a small saucepan to 160C, add garlic and stir continuously until golden (1-2 minutes), then remove garlic with a slotted spoon and drain on absorbent paper (hot oil can be reserved for another use).
  • 2
    Heat canola oil in a saucepan over low heat, add onion and stir continuously until tender (2-3 minutes), add lemongrass and star anise and stir occasionally until fragrant (2-3 minutes). Add pineapple, tamarind liquid, fish sauce, sugar, 3 tsp sea salt and 1.25 litres water and bring to the simmer, then simmer to combine flavours (1 minute).
  • 3
    Heat a large non-stick frying pan over high heat, brush lightly with vegetable oil, then add snapper skin-side down and cook until golden (2-4 minutes). Turn and cook until just cooked (1 minute).
  • 4
    Strain tamarind broth into a clean saucepan, add okra and baby corn and simmer over high heat until tender (2 minutes), add tomatoes and elephant ear stems and simmer until tender (1 minute).
  • 5
    Divide bean sprouts among four large warmed bowls, top with vegetables from the broth, then snapper fillets. Pour broth over, top with rice paddy herb and fried garlic and serve hot.


Rice paddy herb, known in Vietnamese as ngo om, is available from Vietnamese grocers, as is elephant ear stem. If rice paddy herb is unavailable, you can substitute Vietnamese mint.
This recipe is from the September 2011 issue of
Drink Suggestion: 2010 Frankland Estate Smith Cullum Riesling. Drink suggestion by Grant Van Every

  • Author: Geoff Lindsay