Families have Sunday night dinners whereas our is Tuesday Night. The tradition continues even though we are all grown up, Bún riêu is one of our favorites.
Bún riêu, like so many other family recipes varies slightly from one to another. I like to put a small dollop of shrimp paste before I chow, it isn't bún riêu until I have shrimp paste. Some variations:
- Replacing bottled crab paste with fresh peeled shrimps blended with a little water and then poured into the soup before serving.
- If using shrimp, use the shrimp shells to make the broth base, just remember to skim the scum while making the shrimp broth.
Our family likes to make extra to ensure leftovers (we use a 10 qt pot), the flavors deepen with each day.
Bún Riêu - Vietnamese Crab Soup Serves 10-12
6 qts of pork, chicken or shrimp broth
3 qts of water
4-6 fresh tomatoes, quartered, seeds removed
2 28 oz canned whole tomatoes
4 oz of tomato paste
2 7 oz crab paste with soya oil
5-8 shallots, chopped
8 cloves of garlic, chopped
12-16 ounces of crab meat (I like Blue or Dungeness crab meat)
Fish Sauce, according to taste
Tamarind Soup Base powder, according to taste
Salt, according to taste
Bún - Rice Noodles: amount according to appetite
Chopped Scallions (including the white part)
Perilla (black mint)
Red tip and Iceberg lettuce, julienne
Heat the 10qt pot, pour enough vegetable oil to coat the bottom of the pot and stir in the shallots and garlic until slightly brown 1-2 mins. Turn the heat to low, throw in the fresh tomatoes and liberally sprinkle with salt to help draw out the water, cook for 10 mins or until soft. Turn the heat to medium, add the canned tomatoes, broth and water. Do not crush the tomatoes, stir until heated through, simmer for a few minutes to join the flavors.
Season with fish sauce and salt to taste. Add the tamarind soup base by pinches, the tamarind is very sour so start slow and adjust to taste.
Bring the soup to a boil, while waiting beat the eggs, crab paste and a quarter of the fresh crab meat. Reserve the rest of the crab meat to garnish the bowls. Once the soup comes to a boil, add the tomato paste and stir. The soup will start to thicken, turn the heat to low and slowly pour in the egg crab mixture. Do not turn up the heat as a rolling boil will break the crab paste into pieces. The soup is done when all the egg crab mixture float to the top.
Put the bún in the bowl garnished with fried tofu, scallions and fresh crab meat. Ladle the piping hot soup and serve with the rest of the fresh accompaniments. Don't forget the dollop of shrimp paste.
This is my entry for June's Delicious Vietnam hosted by Ravenous Couple, bloggers who are "crazy about Vietnamese cooking."