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Sour Fish Head Soup For One (canh Chua Dau Ca)

2 Scallions, white part only, crushed with the side of a knife
Sprinkling of freshly ground black pepper
2 ts Salt
2 tb Plus 4 teaspoons fish sauce (nuoc mam)
1 lg Fish head or fish carcass, split down the center
1 qt Water
1/2 c Canned sliced sour bamboo
1/4 Fresh pineapple, cut in a lengthwise section and sliced
1 ds MSG (optional)
2 tb Mixed chopped fresh coriander (Chinese parsley) and green scallions

Sprinkle the scallions, black pepper, 1 teaspoon salt, and 4 teaspoons fish sauce over the fish head. Allow to stand for 10 to 15 minutes.

Bring 1 quart of water to a boil and drop in the sour bamboo and pineapple slices. Cook at a lively boil for 5 minutes. Drop fish head into the actively boiling water and, keeping at a boil, add the 2 tablespoons fish sauce, remaining teaspoon salt, and a dash of MSG. Boil the fish head for a total of 10 minutes. Transfer to a soup tureen, sprinkle on the coriander and scallion green, and serve.

Note: If the fish head is dropped into water that is not boiling, it will fall apart.

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