I had my first hot, steamy bowl of Bun Rieu, two years ago on a cold Christmas Eve at our friends, L&K's home.It was the first time I have had home-cooked Vietnamese food and it felt like I was eating a whole new cuisine for the first time.
Not that I haven't had Vietnamese before, but my prior experience consisted mainly of slurping down MSG-laden beef pho soup but that is like saying I've had Mexican food simply because I've had Taco Bell. Not quite the same!
So while I'm not Vietnamese and can't claim my recipe is truly authentic, I adapted the recipe based on tips from my Vietnamese friend L's tips so hopefully that counts for something. I also adapted from House of Annie's Bun Rieu recipe. I would say that this is a great dish to host a small dinner party of 6 people because it's easy to make and you make a huge pot of sweet, flavorful soup that can go a long way.
Bún riêu (Vietnamese Crab Vermicelli)
- 1 packet of vermicelli
- 1 lb pork
- 1 lb shrimp
- 1 lb crabmeat (Costco has a great deal.)
- 1 egg
- 1 bottle of Bun Rieu sauce (Vietnamese crab paste sauce)
- 12 cups of Chicken Broth
- 4-6 large tomatoes, quartered
- Fried sponge tofu (optional - I didn't have it)
- Tamarind paste (to be honest, I didn't have this and it turned out ok.)
- 1 packet Mung Beans
- Lime wedges
- (A) Soak vermicelli in hot water at the start, while you prep the other ingredients.
- In separate pot, boil water and cook the vermicelli very quickly, drain and set aside.
- (B) Mix pork, crabmeat, shrimp, egg with 1 bottle of Bun Rieu sauce, so that they're thoroughly mixed.
- (C) In separate pot, boil chicken stock, tomatoes and tamarind paste (if you have it) and simmer until the tomatoes are soft.
- Add a few squirts of tomato sauce into the soup to add to the color of the soup.
- Form round meatballs and add to boiling soup.
- Add salt to taste.
- (D) To serve, add vermicelli in bowl, with raw mung beans. Add hot stock and meatballs to bowl (which should cook the mung beans) and garnish with some cilantro (and if you like a squirt or two of Sriracha chili) and a lime wedge.