There's more to Vietnamese soups than pho! The abundance of ingredients in this recipe for bun rieu ensures a variety of sensational flavours and textures.
- 150 g pork mince
- 200 g tin crab mince
- 400 g tin crab meat in spices
- 200 g fresh crab meat
- 200 g dried shrimp, blended
- 12 eggs
- 3 tbsp fish sauce
- 6 litres chicken stock
- 6 tomatoes, chopped into large chunks
- 1 packet lightly fried fresh bean curd (tofu)
- splash of olive oil
- 3 tbsp tomato paste
- 180 g tamarind, soaked overnight in water or cooked for 10 minutes in water
- 8 spring onions
- 1 lemon
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 450 g vermicelli noodles
- 1 lettuce
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.
Place the pork mince into a large bowl. Add all the crab meat, the dried shrimp, eggs and fish sauce. Mix well.
In a very large saucepan, bring the chicken stock to the boil. One spoonful at a time, scoop the pork and crab mixture into the stock. When the meat rises to the surface of the stock, add the tomatoes and sliced bean curd.
In a separate small saucepan, heat a splash of olive oil and 3 tbsp of tomato paste and stir for a couple of minutes. Pour over the top of the soup to add colour. Place the presoaked tamarind paste into a strainer over the soup. Pour a couple of spoonfuls of the hot broth through the sieve to help release the flavour from the pulp.
Add the chopped spring onions, juice of the lemon and sugar.
To serve, soften the vermicelli noodles in hot water and place a handful into individual soup bowls. Pour the soup over the noodles. Top with thinly sliced lettuce.