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Food writer and stylist Uyen Luu shares a recipe from her maternity leave

A great, easy and healthy Vietnamese recipe for if you are breastfeeding (also nice if you are not!)

I have just had a baby girl and I am breastfeeding. When my mother comes to visit, she prepares this very quick one pot wonder of magic which she claims what makes good milk and that women all over Vietnam are eating this to provide healthy nutrition for mother and baby. It is delicious whether you are breastfeeding or not! Daddy loves it too.

Serves two


  • 330g oxtail, ask butcher to slice into one-inch thick chunks
  • 1.2 litres water
  • 200g butternut squash, peeled, cut into one-inch-square chunks
  • 200g wintermelon (or courgette, marrow, green papaya, lotus)
  • Salt and pepper to season
  • 2tbs premium quality fish sauce
  • Coriander to garnish (optional)


To gain a clean and clear broth, clean the oxtail pieces by boiling them for five minutes, then drain and clean the oxtail pieces under running water.

Clean the saucepan and fill with 1.2 litres of water and bring to the boil. Add the oxtail and a good pinch of salt and cook on a medium simmer for half an hour with a lid on.

Prepare the vegetables, add the squash and wintermelon to the oxtail broth and season with fish sauce and cook for a further 20 - 30 minutes.

Serve with a sprinkling of coriander, black pepper and enjoy with a crusty baguette - with or without plenty of butter.

Use any herb you fancy.

TIP: You can make much more by doubling up. It’s great to have over a couple of days. I’ve suggested a combination of butternut squash and wintermelon but it could be a combination of this with marrow, parsnips, carrots, courgettes, lotus. You can see what you have going in the fridge. Cook softer vegetables for less time towards the end.

:: Uyen Luu serves up regular food loveliness here