Easy Delicious Bun Rieu Cua (Vietnamese Crab Noodle Soup)- Rice vermicelli noodles served in savory rich broth with tomato and umami-packed crab, dried shrimp, and egg mixture and fresh herbs. This is an easy version but still an incredibly tasty bun rieu cua.
May I share with you another one of my favorite Vietnamese noodle soup beside pho bo, pho ga, bun bo hue, and bun bo gio heo? Bun rieu cua my friend! bun rieu cua! If you like crabmeat, you will like bun rieu cua.
BUN RIEU CUA
Bun rieu is not commonly seen in the restaurant menu. Almost everybody (Vietnamese or not) knows pho noodles nowadays! They are undeniably popular! But Vietnamese food is beyond pho noodles. I’m probably biased because I grew up in Southeast Asia, but I seriously love Southeast Asian food for its amazingly complex flavors. Vietnamese food is one of my favorites.
Bun rieu cua is basically a noodle soup topped with crabmeat, egg, sometimes ground pork, mixture and served in savory rich broth, tomatoes, and served with fresh herbs like tia to (Vietnamese perilla), Vietnamese balm (lemon mint), split water spinach stems, congealed pig’s blood cake. I didn’t include the split water spinach stems and blood cakes in this recipe. I love blood cakes, but the Asian store I went to do not have any in stock when I was there (bummer!). Nevertheless, it’s still tasty without it. There are also bun rieu ca (made with fish) and bun rieu oc (made with shellfish).
THIS BUN RIEU CUA RECIPE IS SIMPLE AND EASY
Traditionally, making bun rieu is a lot of work. Making the broth from scratch. Making the crab paste from scratch. I mean…everything is from scratch. That’s how grandmas cook back in the old days 🙂
I simplified this bun rieu cua recipe by:
1. Using store-bought broth
Traditionally pork bones are used to prepare the broth. It’s not overly complicated to prepare bone broth, but I find that store-bought organic bone broth is an acceptable substitute too and that’s what I used in this recipe
2. Using store-bought crabmeat paste (gia vi cua nau bun rieu)
It’s a lot of work trying to make the crabmeat paste from scratch. Most people will use store-bought crabmeat paste these days. I use store-bought crabmeat paste in this recipe
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SPECIAL INGREDIENTS USED IN THIS BUN RIEU CUA RECIPE
Crabmeat paste (gia vi cua nau bun rieu)
Vietnamese perilla (tiá tô)
Vietnamese balm (kinh-giới)
HOW TO EASILY MAKE BUN RIEU CUA
1. Prepare annatto seeds oil the day before or several days before
2. Use store-bought bone broth
3. Bring the broth to a boil and then season with fish sauce and sugar
4. Briefly cook tomatoes and fried tofu puffs in the broth
5. Spoon the crab egg mixture into the simmering broth
6. Have a final taste and adjust with adding more fish sauce and/or sugar if necessary
This dose of bun rieu cua definitely safisfied that craving!
Recipe was originally published in 2014 and now updated with new photos.
Please weigh ingredients with a digital kitchen scale instead of using measuring cups as they are not very accurate especially when it comes to recipe that requires precision.
- 1 lb dried rice vermicelli noodle
- 8 cups chicken broth - bone broth if it's available
- 8 roma tomatoes - cut in wedges
- 12 oz fried tofu puffs
Crab meat mixture:
- 10 oz crabmeat lumps
- 5 oz crabmeat paste (gia vi nau bun rieu)
- 2 oz medium-size dried shrimp
- 4 eggs - beaten
- 4 Tbsp fish sauce
- 1/s tsp sugar
Make annatto scallion oil (can be prepared few days ahead):
- Pour oil and annatto seeds in a medium-size skillet. Cook over medium heat until the color of the oil starts to pick up the orange hue from the seeds, about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat. Strain the oil into a heat-proof container, discard the seeds. Add the chopped green onions (you will hear sizzle). Let it cool down and then cover and store at room temperature for about 4 days. Keep in refrigerator for up to 1 month
Cook rice noodles:
- Cook the rice vermicelli noodles according to instruction and set aside
Prepare crabmeat mixture:
- Soak the dried shrimp in hot water until softened, about 15 minutes. Discard water and place the shrimp in mini food processor and finely chop them. You can chop them with a knife too
- In a large mixing bowl, add chopped dried shrimp, crab meat lumps, eggs, crab meat paste. Stir to mix everything
Prepare the broth:
- Bring the broth to a boil and then add seasonings. Have a taste to your liking. Add tomato quarters and lower the heat to let it gently simmer for about 1 minute. Add the fried tofu. Cut large pieces into smaller piece with kitchen shears
Put everything together:
- Use a ladle or big spoon and spoon the crabmeat mixture into the broth above. Continue to do so until you run out of the crab meat mixture. They will sink to the bottom and float to the top once cooked. Have a taste and adjust by adding more fish sauce, and/or sugar. It should be savory with just a hint of sweetness
- Portion the cooked noodle into an individual serving bowl. Ladle the crab meat, tomatoes, fried tofu puffs and hot broth over the noodles generously. Drizzle some annatto scallion oil over the noodles. Serve with fresh Vietnamese balm leaves, tia to, bean sprouts, lime wedges, and shrimp paste on the side. Serve immediately