Vietnamese Opo Squash Soup – Canh Bau

Canh bau is Vietnamese opo squash soup that is commonly cooked with shrimp and herbs and sometimes with minced pork.  Opo squash is a type of gourd and it grows on a vine. You can plant it in a pot but make sure to have a trellis for it to climb.  I’ve been cooking this so many times for my family and seasoning it differently until my little picky toddler likes to eat it. So now I gotta document the recipe to help me remember how to cook for her.
Prep time: about 20 minutes
Cook time: about 20 minutes
I cook this soup in a 6-quart pot.


2 medium size opo squashes
1/2 cup chopped scallion
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
2 cans 16 oz chicken broth (or chicken bone broth)
1/3 lb shrimp with heads
3 quart water
1/2 tsp minced garlic
2 Tbsp oil
Broth Seasoning:
1 Tbsp Kikkoman soy sauce
2+ Tbsp sugar
1+ tsp salt
black pepper to taste
+ add more to adjust to your taste at the end.


1.  Peel and cut the squash.  You don’t need to core the opo squash.

2.  Shelled and deveined the shrimp.  I prefer using shrimp with the head on because it gives a better taste and flavor to the broth. Anyway, chop the shrimp to form a paste.  Oopsie, I forgot to take the pictures of ingredients I used to seasoned the shrimp paste.  I think I seasoned the shrimp paste with minced garlic, scallion, a bit of salt and sugar and black pepper.

3.  Heat the oil and pan sear the shrimp paste for like a minute.

4.  Pour in the water, chicken broth, and the broth seasoning mixture.

5.  Bring the broth to a boil and add in the opo squash.  Wait for soup to boil again and turn high heat down to medium. (#5 on my Spectra stove)

6.  Continue to cook on medium heat or light constant boil until the opo squash appear somewhat transparent.

7.  Taste the broth and adjust seasoning to your preference.  Add in the herbs the last minute before turning off stove. I would add a piece of fried spam into daughter’s bowl of soup to balance out the taste since she hates eating shrimp.

And now for the showing off part with my food photography and handmade crochet. =)

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