Bun Rieu – Crab Cake Vermicelli Noodle Soup (Lent Friendly)

Vietnamese food

Sorry for posting this up when Lent is about to end. I promise you won’t notice a big difference from the traditional recipe, so feel free to use this recipe year round. I actually prefer the meatless version of Bun Rieu, so I have an excuse to LOAD up on seafood. When I was younger, I was not a fan of pork products so my mom usually makes meatless Bun Rieu anyways.

I buy canned crab meat in the refrigerated seafood section at Costco or Meijer, I prefer Costco crab meat even though it is more expensive. Believe me they are good right out of the can!

Usually we use pork neck bones to make the broth but dried prawns will work just fine. Ground pork is usually added to the “rieu” to glue all the wet ingredients together but ground dried prawns actually does a better job. I also listed V8 vegetable juice as an ingredient but you definitely can leave that off. I actually bought a case of it from Costco thinking it was something else so I’m just trying to get rid of it in my cooking. The vegetable juice add a really nice color to my broth and an extra umphh of tomato flavor. Try this recipe out and see if anybody can tell a difference, my boyfriend sure didn’t!

Ingredients2 lb of shrimp with head
2 cups of dried prawns (tom kho)
1/2 can of crab meat
2 eggs
1 jar of crab paste in soy bean oil (cach cua)
6-8 large tomatoes cut in quarters
1 daikon
shrimp paste (mam tom)
fish sauce
mushroom seasoning
black pepper
green onions

1. Soak dried prawns in warm water until it is more tender to use. Peel the shrimp but save the shells and heads.
2. Fill pot with  4 quarts of water and add 1/2 of the dried prawns rough chopped, shrimp heads, shells, and daikon.  Simmer until daikon and dried shrimp is tender. 
3. Season broth with 2 tbl of salt, 1 tbl mushroom seasoning, and 1/2 tbl sugar. 
4. With a food processor, finely mince the other half of the dried prawns and shrimp. 
5. Place mixture from step #4  in mixing bowl; add the crab meat, crab paste from the jar, 2 eggs, 1 teaspoon of shrimp paste, and a couple dash of black pepper. Mix thoroughly until it become a uniform mixture.

6.  Once your broth is finish (meaning you have extract all the flavors from the ingredients) remove shells, shrimp heads, and daikon from the broth. 
7. Sauteed tomatoes with a little bit of fish sauce and transfer to broth. 
8. Bring pot to a boil and spoon in mixture from step #5 to the broth.  Let the rieu cook thoroughly. 
9. Do one last tasting, add nuoc mam if needed.
10. Cook your noodles and get your garnishes ready.
11.  Serve and enjoy!

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