Vietnamese Eggplant & Tomato Soup (Canh Cà Bung) is a classic Northern Vietnamese dish. It’s so popular because of the use of cheap, accessible ingredients and surprisingly easy yet flavourful. The traditional Canh Cà Bung uses pork, in this vegan version it is replaced by king oyster mushroom. The rest of the soup uses traditional ingredients: eggplants, tomatoes, fried tofu and perilla leaves.
What can I substitute for perilla leaves?
You can find perilla leaves at the Asian supermarkets, it gives a unique flavour profile: sharp, minty and nutty aroma. It is also known as sesame shiso or lá tía tô (in Vietnamese). This is a popular herb commonly used in Vietnamese, Korean and Japanese cuisine, it is high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory components. If you do not have access to perilla leaves, you can substitute for sesame leaves, Thai basil or mint.