Enjoying the Fall Season with Bun Rieu, Crab Noodle Soup

After a strange few days of temps in the 90s, it’s starting to feel like Fall around here, my all-time favorite season. Nothing makes me happier than cool weather and comfort food! I want to try making more noodle dishes at home, especially the ones that look complicated. I always have random cravings, so I want to be able to indulge on days I’m working from home.

A dish that has tantalized my taste buds for a while is bun rieu, Vietnamese crab noodle soup. The broth is a great combination of tomatoes and crab, and I love how the crab mix makes the soup broth a pretty thick texture that coats all the noodles so well. Don’t let the long laundry list of ingredients scare you. If you make sure to prep everything beforehand, it’s a pretty easy dish to make.

Serving Size: 8
Active Cook Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoon of dried shrimp
  • 12 oz fried tofu (I purchased extra firm tofu and fried it myself)
  • 1 packet of vermicelli noodles
  • 8 whole crabs, shells removed and cleaned
  • 10 cups of chicken stock
  • 1 lb of ground pork
  • 1 cup of crab meat (I used jarred and thoroughly drained)
  • 14 oz of crab meat paste in spices (I used the Lee Brand)
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped shallots
  • 1/2 teaspoon shrimp paste
  • 2 tablespoon Red Boat fish sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon cane sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 2 medium ripe tomatoes, sliced into thick slices
  • 2 tablespoon tomato paste

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Soak the dried shrimp in warm water for about an hour, until softened.

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Then drain and mince finely, I used a small food processor for this. While waiting for the shrimp to rehydrate, I heated up a pan with about 2 inches of oil and fried my tofu pieces, about 5 minutes per side and allowed them to drain on a paper towel.

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Cook the vermicelli noodles according to the instructions on the package and set aside.

In a large stock pot, add the crabs and pour just enough water to cover.

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Bring to a boil. Once the crabs are done and are a bright red color, remove the crab and set aside; you can use the crab pieces as a garnish at the end. Pour in the chicken stock and reduce the heat to medium.

In the meantime, in a large bowl, combine the ground pork, crab meat, can of crab meat in spices, shallots, shrimp paste, fish sauce, chopped dried shrimps, pepper, and sugar, mix gently.

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Add the beaten eggs and mix well.

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When the stock comes to a boil, slowly add this crab mixture into stock, and allow to simmer for about 20 minutes.

Now add the tomatoes and tofu and bring to boil again. Finally, season stock with additional salt or fish sauce, to taste; I prefer my broth with a little extra fish sauce. Allow the flavors to continue to mingle and simmer for an additional 15 minutes.

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Right before serving, mix in tomato paste. When ready to serve, I put the reserved crab back into the broth. Portion out individual servings of the vermicelli noodles to a bowl and ladle on the bun rieu. Feel free to toss in some of the reserved crab pieces as garnishment, along with some chopped cilantro.

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I also served this with some bean sprouts, Thai basil, mint and Thai chili peppers.

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