These particular noodles dry in the sun for about 6 hours before going into the cutting room. In Australia you can buy the fully dried noodles from Vietnamese supermarkets.
The red noodles made from flour and coloured with a dark caramel made from granulated brown sugar are known as ‘Banh Da’ and are a speciality of Hai Phong.
- 1 tbsp chilli oil
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 red chilli, thinly sliced
- 4 cm piece ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 live mud crab, about 1 kg, cooked and meat picked (see note)
- 1 spring onion, thinly sliced
- 200 g banh da
- handful water spinach, blanched and refreshed in iced water, drained
- handful bean sprouts
- 1 tbsp fried shallots
- 1 tbsp roasted peanuts
- 2 tsp sugar
- 2 tbsp oyster sauce
- 1 tbsp Vietnamese sate or Sriracha
- 60 ml (¼ cup) soy sauce
- salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
1. For the sauce, place all the ingredients in a small saucepan, stir to combine well and bring to a simmer. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
2. Place a frying pan or wok over medium heat, add the oil, garlic, chilli and ginger and cook for 1 minute or until fragrant. Add the cooked crab meat and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add 2 tablespoons of the sauce and the spring onion and stir-fry for another 30 seconds. Transfer the crab mixture into the reserved upper crab shell and set aside.
3. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil and cook the noodles for 5 seconds if using fresh or according to packet instructions if using fully dried. Drain, then place in a bowl with the water spinach, bean sprouts and the remaining sauce. Toss to coat well, then transfer to a serving plate. Top with the filled crab and scatter with the fried shallots and peanuts.
Catch Luke Nguyen on the tracks dishing up Vietnamese fare in the brand-new series, Luke Nguyen's Railway Vietnam.