**Recipe: Bun Rieu - Vietnamese Crab Noodle Soup**
*Bun Rieu*, a delightful Vietnamese crab noodle soup, is a harmonious blend of flavors and textures that captivates the palate. This recipe brings together fresh ingredients to create a fragrant and delicious soup that's perfect for any occasion.
- 2 lbs blue crabs
- 8 ripe Roma tomatoes, cut into quarters
- 3 stalks of green onions, cut into segments
- 120g dried shrimp
- 7 liters of water + 1 liter for soaking dried shrimp
- 2 tsps tamarind paste or to taste
- 2 tsps paprika
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 2 Tbsps good quality fish sauce
- Salt, sugar, and optional seasoning to taste
- Rice vermicelli noodles
- Shredded banana blossom, water spinach, perilla leaves, mint leaves, coriander, and Vietnamese mint
- Lime wedges and fresh chili peppers
- Shrimp paste dipping sauce (*mắm tôm*) for serving
1. Begin by rinsing the dried shrimp and then boiling them in 1 liter of water along with the garlic cloves. Allow the mixture to boil until the liquid turns flavorful. Once done, remove the shrimp and set them aside to cool.
2. Clean the blue crabs thoroughly. Separate the crab "gạch đê" (lumps of crab roe) and remove the crab's apron. Chop the crab into small pieces and use a knife to gently pound the crab pieces until they are slightly crushed. Marinate the crab meat with a pinch of salt and then blend it with water in a blender. Blend just until the meat is slightly crushed, as you'll need to strain it later. After blending, squeeze the mixture with your hands to extract the crab meat. Strain the mixture through a fine strainer to separate the solid crab meat from the shell pieces. Collect about 7 liters of strained liquid.
3. Combine the crab liquid with the shrimp stock and mix well. Add salt, fish sauce, tamarind paste, sugar, and paprika. Place the mixture on medium heat. Once the liquid starts to show a pinkish hue, gently stir with a long spoon from the bottom to prevent the crab mixture from sticking to the pot. Maintain medium heat to prevent the crab mixture from breaking and becoming grainy. If it gets too hot, the mixture may lose its texture.
4. Heat oil in a separate pan, sauté the green onions until fragrant, and then add the tomatoes and paprika. Stir-fry quickly and then transfer the mixture to the crab soup pot. Adjust the seasoning to your taste.
5. If you prefer a smoother consistency and want to keep the dried shrimp intact, blend the dried shrimp into a fine paste and add it to the crab mixture before cooking.
6. To serve, prepare a bowl of rice vermicelli noodles and top it with shredded banana blossom, water spinach, perilla leaves, mint leaves, coriander, and Vietnamese mint. Ladle the hot crab mixture over the noodles. Serve with lime wedges, fresh chili peppers, and shrimp paste dipping sauce.
**Enjoy the Soulful Flavors of Bun Rieu**
Bun Rieu is not just a dish; it's an experience that captures the heart of Vietnamese cuisine. With its vibrant colors and exquisite flavors, this noodle soup brings together the best of Vietnam's culinary heritage. Whether enjoyed as a comforting meal or shared among friends and family, Bun Rieu is a true testament to the artistry of Vietnamese cooking.
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