Instant Bún Riêu Cua

Something neat happened yesterday: I made bún riêu cua in 30 minutes.

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When you think about Vietnamese food in the states, Pho comes to mind and it’s good but it’s sort of like saying that barbecue is the national food for all the United States when there are in fact, a distinct type of food for every region. When you venture into south Vietnam, very few people know what pho is. Bún (dried rice stick) is favored over it’s fresh noodle cousin and the same type of noodle which takes longer to cook, gets put into a plethora of soups. My parents are from the southern most tip in Vietnam and you can find a bún riêu stand on every block. The traditional southern version has ground beef or pork short ribs, egg drop, minced crab or prawns, tofu, Roma tomatoes, and *gasp* congealed pork blood if you dare.

The trouble with cooking Vietnamese food is that it takes typically a good 3 hours to create a broth. I’m going to show you a quick way to make it for a quick weeknight meal. 30 minutes. I promise it will be delightful.

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Recipe: Serves 2

Ingredient list:

  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 large shallot sliced thinly
  • 1 tablespoon of olive or vegetable oil
  • 1 small can of bún riêu paste (either crab or shrimp)
  • 4 cups of chicken broth (more if you liked more soup)
  • 2 roma tomatoes
  • 1 package of rice vermicelli
  • 4 eggs
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 bag of puffed tofu
  • cilantro and green onion, chopped finely
  1. In a large boiling pot, bring water to boil and cook rice noodles until softened. Drain and rinse in cold water very thoroughly. Set aside.
  2. In a medium sauce pan or small stew pot, heat oil at medium heat and fry shallots. Add the crab/shrimp paste, then garlic. Add chicken broth, tomatoes, and simmer for 10 minutes or until the tomatoes are stewed.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk eggs together and add a pinch of salt and pepper. Slowly drizzle the egg mixture and allow the mixture to cook and float to the top. Add in your green onions and cilantro.
  4. Separate noodles into large soup bowls and spoon broth over on top.

There it is. 30 minute bún riêu.

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