Bun Rieu: Crab Tomato Pho
This is one of my favorite Vietnamese Noodle Soups. Most people know Beef Pho and Chicken Pho because those are the most common ones served at Vietnamese Restaurants. Some places serve bun rieu but it’s never really that good because they always seem to skimp on the ingredients. The broth is never rich enough and there is never enough crab. Given that most bowls of pho doesn’t cost more than $10 a pop you won’t be expecting it to be heaping with crab. So what exactly is Bun Rieu? It’s this amazing broth that has pillowy pieces of crab meatballs floating up top along with melt in your mouth tomato chunks. It’s one of the best comfort foods you’ll ever taste. This dish is actually pretty healthy if you swap out the rice noodles and use low carb Tofu Shirataki Noodles. The crab meatballs is straight protein with no carbs in it. It’s just crab meat, pork, eggs, prawns, and scallops. Are we drooling yet?
16 oz real crab meat
1/2 lb ground organic pork
4 whole raw prawns
6 raw sea scallops
1 jar of crab paste: Bach Cua Xao Dau an( found at Asian Supermarkets)
2 tablespoon fish sauce
2 pinches of salt
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/4 cup water
8-12 small dried shrimps: Ha Mei (found at Asian Supermarkets)- soaked in water
3 cartons of organic chicken stock
1 jar of crab paste: Bach Cua Xao Dau an (found at Asian Supermarkets)
6 small campari tomatoes
1/2 cup red onions
1/2 cup green onions
2 slices of ginger
4 tablespoon fish sauce
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp coriander seeds
1 handful of cilantro
1 small can of tomato paste
2 wedges of lemon
Toppings and Fillers
Shredded lettuce, fresh mint leaves, fresh thai basil, jalapeno slices, lemon wedges. rice noodles or tofu shirataki noodles
1. Prepare the broth by heating a large stock pot to high heat and adding soybean oil in it. Toss the red and green onions to brown
2. While the onions are browning, chop and mince the scallops to a very fine mince. Place the scallops in a large mixing bowl with ground pork
3. In a food processor, pulse the diced raw shrimp with 3 eggs, and 5-6 dried shrimps that have been soaked in water
4. Pulse into a paste and add into the bowl with scallops and pork. Now add a full jar of crab paste, the fish sauce, water. white pepper, and salt. Mix thoroughly
5. Once the onions are brown, add the remaining dried shrimps that are in the water into the pot along with the water the dried shrimp has been soaking in.
6. Add 3 cut tomatoes into the soup, coriander seeds, cilantro and cover.
7. Once the broth comes to a boil remove lid and add your jar of tomato paste and crab paste. Add fish sauce and sugar as well
8. Now as the broth is boiling, you can start adding your crab pork mixture. Drop it in with a spatula or spoon. They are free formed. The more random the sizes and shapes the better. You want to get small and big chunks floating in the broth
9. Let it boil and cook slowly. Once they start floating to the top you can turn the heat to medium or low and let it just simmer in the broth.
10. After you let it simmer for 15-20 minutes with the crab mixture. You can turn the heat off and squeeze 2 lemon wedges in. This is optional. I like adding this at the end to give it a fresh citrus pop to the soup.
11. Now to assemble the bowl you need a freshly boiled noodles, drained and placed in the middle of the bowl.
12. Top the noodles with pieces of the crab meatballs (2-3 pieces) then ladle soup into the bowl until the soup is just a little over 1/2 the way of the bowl.
13. Garnish with shredded lettuce, mint leaves, Thai basil, jalapeno slices and lemon and serve!!! Siracha is always good to have on hand too:)