Whenever I travel to other places, looking for different and exotic food is always on top of my list. I enjoy sightseeing too, but food always comes first ha!! The existence of this blog has given me many opportunities to try so many different global cuisines. Though, I hate to say I haven’t even covered half of the globe probably! I’ve never been to Vietnam myself. I’ve tasted many of its dishes here and there, but I told my husband that we must pay visit. This crab and shrimp noodle soup or known as banh canh cua is one of our favorite Vietnamese noodle dishes. Honestly, anything that has crab and shrimp usually has my vote 🙂 I’m a seafood lover!! Serve them with noodle…….you don’t need me to say it anymore !! The noodle used in this dish is called banh canh. It is made of tapioca flour and usually thick and round. It resembles what the Chinese called “lau su fun” or the Japanese Udon noodle. The soup is prepared with the shell of the shrimp and some shrimp paste, which made it tastes sweet and the lemon gives it a lightly tangy taste, a perfect combination!! The photos probably didn’t do much justice, but this banh canh cuo tasted incredible. I adapted the recipe from the Vietnamese Market Cookbook by Van Tran and Anh Vu.
If I ever made it to Vietnam, I would definitely order this dish again and again !! and of course not forgetting the pho noodles, the spring rolls, and gazillion of other food !!!!!!
VIETNAMESE NOODLES WITH CRAB MEAT/ BANH CANH CUA
- 1 lb of banh canh or substitute with Udon noodles if you must
- 1 Tbsp of cooking oil
- 5 shallots peeled and chopped
- 1 lb of large shrimp cut into large chunks or leave them whole
- 12 oz of crab meat
- 8 cups of chicken stock
- 3 Tbsp of shrimp paste mix with 3 Tbsp of water
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 3 bird's eye chili stemmed and finely chopped
- 1/2 Tbsp salt
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 2 Tbsp of fish sauce
- 2 Tbsp of annatto seeds oil optional
- 2 Tbsp of corn starch + 4 Tbsp of water
Annatto seeds oil:
- 1/2 tsp of annatto seeds
- 1/3 cup or cooking oil
- 3 spring onion (finely chopped0
- Small bunch of fresh cilantro leaves
- Small bunch of fresh mint leaves
Preheat the oil in a small frying pan. Add in the annatto seeds and fry for about 2 to 3 minutes and keep stirring to avoid burning the seeds. Remove from the heat and strain the oil into a glass container and discard the seeds.
Cook the banh canh or udon noodles according to the package instruction. Set aside
Rinse the shrimp with water. Peel, devein and save the shells to make the stock. Bring 8 cups of chicken stock to a boil. Add in the shrimp shells and lower the heat to let it gently simmer for about 30 minutes. Add in the shrimp paste solution, lemon juice, chili, salt, sugar, fish sauce and annatto seeds oil and let it simmer for another 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and strain the stock and discard all the solids. Have a taste and add more salt if needed
Meanwhile preheat about 1 Tbsp of oil. Saute the shallots for about 5 minutes. Add in the shrimp and saute for about 5 minutes or until they are pink and add in the crab meat, stir for another 1 minute. Remove from the heat and set aside
Portion the noodles out into individual serving bowl. Portion the shrimp and crab meat mixture into each bowl. Bring the soup back to a boil and stir the corn starch solution in and it will thicken the soup slightly. Ladle the soup over the noodles. Top with spring onion, cilantro leaves, and fresh mint leaves. Serve immediately
Recipe NotesThe annatto seeds oil will give the soup its redish color without affecting much of the taste. It's commonly used in Mexican cuisines too.