This classic Vietnamese soup gets its flavour from boiling whole crabs with pork and fresh tomato in coconut water.
- 3 small live mud crabs
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 500 g pork shoulder (on the bone), cut into 5 cm chunks
- 2 litres coconut water
- 5 tomatoes, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, diced
- 200 g minced pork
- 200 g minced prawn
- 450 g firm tofu, thickly sliced
- 3 red chillies, diced
- 1 lime, cut into wedges
- 1 cup bean sprouts
- ½ cup Vietnamese mint leaves
- cooking oil
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.
- Thoroughly clean the outside shell of the crabs. The shell is loaded with flavour as is the inside of the crab, which may be filled with roe. Halve the crabs, remove the gills and discard. Tip the juices, crab ‘mustard’ and any roe in a bowl and set aside.
- In a large stockpot over high heat, add the crushed garlic, a tablespoon of cooking oil and let it cook for a few minutes. Add the pork and coconut water, bring to a boil, then cover and simmer.
- In a separate large frying pan over low heat, add 1 tablespoon of cooking oil, the tomatoes and diced garlic cloves and cook for about 4 minutes. Remove and add to the stock pot mixture.
- Combine the minced pork and minced prawn, using your hands. Form into small round, flat patties. Cook the patties in the frying pan with a tablespoon of cooking oil and until they are golden brown on both sides. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- Cook the tofu in the same frying pan over a low flame for a few minutes on each side until golden brown, then remove and set aside.
- Using the same frying pan (add a little more oil if necessary), add the crab (in batches) and any juices and stir-fry for a few minutes, then add everything to the stockpot mixture and simmer until the crab is cooked.
- When the soup is ready, divide among bowls, topping with the patties and tofu. Garnish with the diced chillies, lime wedges, mint leaves and bean sprouts.
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