Pennywort Soup (Canh Rau Ma)

This recipe for Pennywort Soup (Canh Rau Ma) is light and healthy and so easy to make. Nutrient-rich pennywort greens and juicy shrimp are cooked in a seasoned stock to make a hearty soup. This delicious soup is the perfect addition to any family meal. As you may know, most Vietnamese meals include a soup dish. The soup is typically eaten toward the end of the meal and helps to cleanse the palate. As such, the soups usually consist of a light chicken or pork stock with a little bit of protein and lots of leafy greens or vegetables. This Pennywort Soup is the quintessential Viet-style soup to serve for family meals. It’s so delicious. I hope you give it a try! Enjoy!  

Pennywort Soup (Canh Rau Ma) - Light and Healthy Soup | recipe from

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Notes on the Pennywort Soup (Canh Rau Ma) Recipe, Tips and Tricks

This delicious soup is made from the leaves and stems of the Pennywort plant, a herb indigenous to Asia. Pennywort is loaded with vitamins and minerals: B, K, calcium, zinc, and magnesium.

Pennywort Soup (Canh Rau Ma) - Light and Healthy Soup | recipe from

Pennywort is sold at many Asian grocery stores, particularly ones specializing in Vietnamese, Thai, Indian or Burmese food. Other names for Pennywort are Centalla and Gotu kola. The herb is typically packaged in plastic bags and sold by weight. I purchase my pennywort at Saigon Supermarket (Garden Grove, CA) for $3.99 per pound.

Pennywort is often really dirty so wash it well. I find the easiest way to wash the herb is in my kitchen sink where I have plenty of room to swirl the herbs in cold water. (Be sure to clean your sink with soap and hot water first.) Wash the herbs until the water is clear and sediment-free. I typically wash the leaves 3 times.

Pennywort Juice (Nuoc Rau Ma) - How to Wash Pennywort Leaves | recipe from

Pennywort has a short life span because of its delicate leaves. Use the greens within 1-2 days of purchasing for maximum freshness. To prolong the life, wash and dry thoroughly using a salad spinner. Wrap small bundles in paper towels and store in a sealable plastic bag. Store in the refrigerator and the pennywort with keep fresh for 1 week.

Pennywort Juice (Nuoc Rau Ma) - This Herb is Perfect for Juicing | recipe from

Pennywort Soup / Canh Rau Ma

Pennywort Soup (Canh Rau Ma) - Light and Healthy Soup | recipe from

Pennywort Soup (Canh Rau Ma) - Light and Healthy Soup | recipe from

Pennywort Soup / Canh Rau Ma

Course: Appetizer, Side
Cuisine: Asian, Vietnamese
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 105 kcal
Author: Trang

A light and hearty soup of nutrient-dense pennywort greens and juicy shrimp. This quick and easy soup is so delicious and a wonderful addition to any family meal.


  • 8 cups pennywort
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 small shallot
  • 2 green onions
  • 6 large shrimp , peeled and deveined
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 Tbsp fish sauce
  • ground black pepper


  1. Discard any bruised or damaged pennywort leaves. Trim the stems using scissors. Wash the pennywort thoroughly with several rounds of cold water and then drain in colander.
  2. Smash the garlic cloves, remove the skin and then mince. Peel the shallot and finely chop. Set both ingredients aside on a small plate.
  3. Chop the green onions and set aside in a separate small bowl.
  4. Cut the shrimp into small pieces.
  5. Heat a saucepan over Medium High heat. When hot, add the vegetable oil, minced garlic and chopped shallots and stir-fry for 15 seconds. Add the chopped shrimp and stir-fry until just pink, approximately 15-20 seconds. Transfer to a medium plate and set close by.

  6. Add the chicken stock and water into the saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil over Medium High heat. Add the washed pennywort and stir-fried shrimp and combine together. Add the fish sauce to season the soup. Cook the soup for 1-2 more minutes and then remove from the heat.

  7. To serve, transfer the Pennywort Soup into a large bowl. Top with the chopped green onions and freshly ground black pepper.
  8. Refrigerate any remaining portions and enjoy within 3-4 days.

Notes, Tips & Tricks



Nutrition Facts
Pennywort Soup / Canh Rau Ma
Amount Per Serving
Calories 105 Calories from Fat 27
% Daily Value*
Fat 3g5%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Cholesterol 28mg9%
Sodium 710mg31%
Potassium 377mg11%
Carbohydrates 11g4%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 4g4%
Protein 8g16%
Vitamin A 969IU19%
Vitamin C 21mg25%
Calcium 40mg4%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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5 Responses to Pennywort Soup (Canh Rau Ma)

  1. Alexander Ofosu October 31, 2022 at 12:44 am #

    Hi, I usually make stew out of pennywort. I made drinks with pennywort for my daily use. Using pennywort always is a healthy living..

  2. Ann August 9, 2019 at 12:24 am #

    Chi Trang oi, I usually make drinks out of pennywort. I made soup with pennywort for dinner today and it was very light yet very satisfying! Thank you for sharing!

    • Trang August 12, 2019 at 1:13 pm #

      Hi Ann,
      Aw! I am glad you enjoyed the Pennywort Soup recipe. I love both the soup and drink. Hope you’re enjoying the summer! 🙂

  3. Lucy P. August 7, 2019 at 12:16 pm #

    We love light soups for our family meals too. I love how healthy and easy this is to make. Thanks!

    • Trang August 7, 2019 at 2:18 pm #

      Hi Lucy,
      I call this a summer soup because it’s light and healthy. I am glad you like my recipe. 🙂

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