Grandma’s Bún riêu cua
Ever since I was young, or younger, my favourite meal was always my grandma’s famous Bún riêu. It was one of the meals that my family can eat together as a family. Both my parents have very busy jobs, so we mostly eat foods that aren’t very time consuming, but still healthy, of course. So when my grandma made it, it would give us all a wonderful sense of tradition. Whenever my grandma announces that she’ll be making our favourite dish, I would anxiously ask “Is it ready yet?” every 15 minutes. My mom would frown and tell me to be more patient, but my grandma would just laugh.
Bún riêu cua is quite complicated to make for my grandma, especially since she’s not getting any younger. Therefore, when she makes it, I always make sure I have no plans on that day to assist her as much as I can, but I can never get it right. I hope, someday, I will master this recipe entirely by myself and serve it to my grandmother, to thank her for all the things she has done and sacrificed for me.
Bún riêu is a Vietnamese meat rice vermicelli soup. There is a variety of meat that could be used, such as fish or shellfish, but my favourite meat to use is crab. One of the reasons why I love this meal so much is because it consists of all flavours- rich, sour, sweet, salty, bitter… I swear, there’s magic on my grandma’s hands. I am not a very traditional person, but if I ever have children, I will make sure they learn to make their great grandmother’s famous soup, and then pass it down onto their children.
Crab and crab roe
- 1kg crab
- Separate the crab’s shell from its body.
- Take the crab-roe out of the shell and put it in a small bowl.
- Mince the body of the crab.
- With the crab meat, put it in a big pot with 4 liters of water. Use your hand to mix it together.
- Separate the crab water from the remains and throw it away.
- Put the crab water into a big pot and stir over high heat for 1 minute. After that, cover the pot with a lid.
- When it simmers, take the lid off so that the water doesn’t boil over and keep boiling.
- After another 5 minutes, the crab should be floating on top of the water (magic, I know.)
- Take the minced crab parts out of the water and put it on a plate. Leave to cool.
- Fry the crab row so it’s cooked.
- 0.8kg tomatoes
- Cut the tomatoes into small pieces and place in a pot with a tiny bit of water.
- Put it on a burner and mince it until it macerates.
- Using a sieve, separate the tomato water from the remains. Throw the seeds and skin away.
- Cut your tofu into about 1cm cubes, it doesn’t need to be exact.
- In a pan, heat up the oil and fry the tofu cubes until they are a nice golden brown color.
- Place them on a plate lined with thick tissue paper to soak up excess oil.
Neptunia oleracea vegetables (Water mimosa)
- 0.5 kg of neptunia oleracea vegetables
- Pick the fresher parts of the vegetables and wash clean.
- Put them in a pan with water and boil.
- Once boiled, take them out.
Shallots and welsh onions
- 0.1kg shallots
- 0.1 kg welsh onions
- A teaspoon of oil for each ingredient
- Mince the shallots into very thin slices and fry it in oil until golden brown and crispy.
- Mince the welsh onions into slightly thicker, but still thin, slices and fry in oil until soft.
- Place each on plates lined with tissue to soak in excess oil.
Crab sausage balls
- 200g raw sausage (without casing)
- The minced crab
Take half of the minced crab and mix it in with the raw sausage.
- With the mixture, make small sausage balls with a diameter of about 2 cm.
- Boil these in the same crab water used before, this will make the water sweet. You can tell when it’s done when the sausage balls start to float.
- When they’re done, put them on a plate.
- The crab water
- 8-10g dracontomelon (about 10)
- The tomato broth
- 300 ml wine vinegar
- Fish sauce
- Soup seasoning
- The minced welsh onion
- Put the crab water on low heat again
- Mix the dracontomelon (washed and seeded), tomato broth, and wine vinegar in
- Mix in the fish sauce and soup seasoning in to your liking
- Then mix in the minced welsh onion
My grandma stresses that it must be in this order, or it will go ruined. I don’t fully understand why, but she’s the chef with the magic.
- Soup water
- The minced crab
- Crab sausage balls
- Crab roe
- Shallots and welsh onions
- Neptunia oleracea vegetables (water mimosa vegetables)
- 1 kg rice vermicelli
- Shrimp paste
Procedure (for one serving)
- In a medium sized bowl, put ⅙ of the noodle in.
- Top it with tofu, some minced crab, the water mimosa vegetables, welsh onions, and some sausage balls.
- Add in soup water to your liking.
- When served, top the dish with some crab roe, shallots onions, and shrimp paste.
- Serve with soup water hot.