Last Updated: Jun 22nd, 2020.
It’s been raining cats & dogs in my city, that’s a sign of rainy season has just begun. Together with all of this corona virus lying around and not gonna disappear anywhere soon, I stick with the stay-at-home concept as much as I could (even though the lock-down ban was completely lifted in my country). And by that I meant I’ll chose and cook any food that can feed me 1-2 days, even better 3 days. If you were me and don’t mind eating the same food over and over again for more than 24 hours, then we’re on the same boat of looking for the perfect recipe that can fit the situation.
We – Vietnamese – really like eating any kind of food that involved with soup (and rice). Most of our famous dishes have soup in their main ingredients: pho [Related post: Chicken Pho], bun bo hue, chao, etc. And I’m about to share with you another famous soup in our community which is called Bun Rieu Cua. We don’t have an English name for this dish, but because it is not as famous as pho, sometimes calling its original name could cause confusing. So I would like to name it Crab Consomme Soup based on the cooking technique that used to make this incredible dish.
[Related post: Chicken Pho]Jump to Recipe
Part of the original name Rieu (as in Bun Rieu) is the main reason that helps to make the soup as clear as the blue sky. Rieu is a mixture of egg white, ground meat, and/or minced crab/shrimp meat, and tomatoes.
[Related post: Hot & Sour Shrimp Soup]Jump to Recipe
That being said, this Crab Consomme Soup is very rich in the flavor of the main ingredients. The only difference is at the end of the process, after raft is formed on the liquid’s surface, it’ll be removed. However, in this Crab Consomme Soup – Bun Rieu, it will be kept and eat together with the rest of the ingredients. It’s a little bit labor intense and takes a while to finish but the end result should make you feel all of those hard working hours are worthy.
There are some ingredients in this recipe can only be found in Asian market such as:
- Ground whole crab (cua dong xay nhuyen) – this should be in the frozen seafood isle. Click HERE to see the package. You only need to show the market agents this, they’ll help you to find.
- Minced crab paste & shrimp paste – these are easily found on the dry sauce and condiment isle (probably reside near all of those fish sauce and soy sauce bottles).
- Vermicelli – this definitely belongs to dry noodle isle (just find where they put instant noodles, then you’ll find vermicelli)
Authentic Bun Rieu Cua Recipe
- 1 lb pork bones
- 1 lb pork ham hocks
- 1 package ground whole crab (thit cua dong xay san) optional
- 6 bulb shallot minced
- 1 hand full garlic minced
- 5 Thai chilies optional
- 2 tsp ground annatto seed or ground paprika
- 1 lb tomatoes quartered
- 1 lb ground pork
- 8 oz dried shrimp finely chopped
- 1 tbsp minced crab paste
- 2 tsp shrimp paste
- 4 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tbsp sugar
Raft 2 (Rieu):
- 2 egg whites
- 1 lb shrimp finely minced
- 8 oz ground pork
- 3 tbsp minced crab paste
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 2 tbsp corn starch or tapioca starch
Sides (amount based on your own references):
- water spinach
- banana flower
- shiso leaves
- basil & mint leaves
- lime cut into wedges
- shrimp paste
- Thai chilies
- bean sprout
- Vermicelli (bun)
- In a stockpot, bring water to boil then add pork bones & ham hocks. Simmer for an hour.
- If using ground whole crab, in a medium mixing bowl, dissolve the crab mixture into 4 cup of water, Strain and discard any left over crab pieces. Let the new crab water sit for a while.
- After an hour, remove pork bones but keep pork ham hocks inside the pot. If using ground whole crab, carefully pout the crab water into the pot.
Making raft 1:
- When waiting for the pork bones and ham hocks to cook, in a large sauteed pan, add 2 tbsp of veggie oil, followed by shallot, garlic, ground annatto seed, Thai chilies then saute for few minutes.
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients in raft 1 and mix well. Then add this mixture in the sauteed pan above.
- Stir and saute until ground pork are completely cooked.
- Turn off the heat. Add this mixture to the stock pot (after already discarded pork bones) and simmer for another 15 minutes.
Making raft 2 (rieu):
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine all ingredients in raft 2, mix well.
- Make sure the temperature of the stockpot is at simmer (do not let it boil). Then using a spoon and gradually add one spoon of the raft 2 mixture into the stockpot. Rafts (rieu) will be floating on the liquid's surface when they are done cooking.
- Simmer for another 15 minutes after spoon all the raft 2 mixture into stockpot. Adjust seasoning with fish sauce or salt. The soup is ready to eat at this point.
- In a biggest dinner bowl, put vermicelli in then ladle the Crab Consomme soup together with ham hocks, tomatoes, rafts. Don't forget to add a little bit amount of each sides into the bowl to experience Bun Rieu to the fullest. Enjoy!