I’ve always been fascinated by the creamy, silkiness of this soup. The fact that this unique slippery texture comes from a root vegetable is equally intriguing. What exactly is this mysterious vegetable? My research tells me this vegetable, called the Yampi Root, is a tuber in the yam family. It’s called by many different names and often confused with similar root vegetables. Because of the frequent mix-ups, it’s often just generically called a yam. As with many root vegetables there are endless varieties. With this particular vegetable, it’s best to know what you’re looking for when shopping for it rather than asking for it by name. (In the video, I show you how to identify it amongst the mountains of other root vegetables.)
In Vietnamese, this vegetable is called “khoai mo” , “khoai” means root vegetable and “mo” means fat so it would be roughly translated as “fatty root vegetable”. At my house, we call this dish “Slippery Potato” soup. Fortunately for us, we are not eating fat or anything close to it. Yampi root is deliciously hearty and when made into a soup the starchiness serves as an instant thickener so we don’t need to add heavy creams or sauces. I’ve only ever had yampi root prepared as a soup and because the combination is so good I’ve never deviated from it but I imagine it would taste great cooked and then mashed, added to a stew or even pan-fried or deep-fried. I hope you’ll give this recipe a try and let me know what you think!
Watch the video below for instructions.[fbshare url=”http://youtu.be/cbdtG9Ql-_c” type=”button” float=”right”]
2 green onions
1 small bunch rice paddy herb or cilantro
6 oz shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 lb yampi root
1/4 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2-14 oz cans chicken broth or homemade chicken stock or pork stock
1 tsp fish sauce
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
Finely dice green onion tops (green stems). Set aside in a small bowl. Dice remaining green onion bottoms (white portion) and set aside in a separate bowl. Coarsely chop rice paddy herb and add to green onion tops. Toss together and then set aside for now.
Coarsely chop shrimp and add to bowl with green onion bottoms. Add the sugar, several dashes of ground black pepper and salt. Combine everything together and set aside for now.
Using a vegetable peeler, remove the skin from the yampi root. Use a paring knife to remove any deep spots or remaining skin. Rinse with cool water and pat dry. Grate the vegetable using a coarse blade. Leave about a 1-inch section of the root remaining. Cut this section into small pieces.
In a medium saucepan, add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add the yampi root pieces, cover the pot and simmer for 5 minutes.
Add the grated yampi root and stir together. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Every few minutes stir the soup so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
Add the shrimp and combine with the soup. Turn off the heat. Stir the soup for 1 minute until the shrimp is cooked. If the soup is too thick, add some water. Add fish sauce and combine. Add 2 Tbsp of the green onions and herb mixture. Stir together.
Just before serving, sprinkle more fresh greens and ground black pepper on top.
Yields: 4-6 servings