2 teaspoons instant tamarind
Salt and sugar, to taste
2 serrano peppers
2 small new potatoes, cut into chunks
1/2 pound catfish, deboned and cut into chunks
2 tablespoons each of chopped pineapple, bean sprouts, and celery
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Nuoc mam

In large saucepan, bring 1 quart water to boil. Add tamarind; return to boil. Add salt, sugar, peppers, and potatoes. Cook over medium heat 8 to 10 minutes. Add catfish, pineapple, bean spouts, and celery. Cook another 8 to 10 minutes.

In another pan, fry garlic in oil. Sprinkle over individual servings of soup. Season to taste with nuoc mam.

Serves 4-6

Mekong Restaurant, 4301 Bryan, Dallas. 214-824-6200

Cultural Exchange Domain a supplement to the March 1990 issue of Texas Monthly.