It may appear similar to Bun Rieu but there definitely is a difference in taste. Canh Bun's broth and the "rieu" (crab mixture) is much lighter. The crab mixture in Bun Rieu is sturdy and becomes almost like a cake. Canh Bun's crab mixture is fluffy and easy to break apart. To achieve that fluffy texture ricefield crabs are smashed, shell and all, into a paste which is then combine with eggs. I notice some Canh Bun vendor does not use tomatoes but my family loves to include it. I found some frozen ricefield crab paste at the Vietnamese market which I hoped would make this dish. Instead of using the jar shrimp/crab paste labeled as Gia Vi Nau Bun Rieu, I use something similar call crab meat in soya bean oil. It is less pungent that the jar we commonly use for Bun Rieu. My brother introduced me to this jar from Seattle because I can't seem to find it here in the midwest. My brother made the first pot of Canh Bun since we moved to the States.
I have to say the frozen ricefield crab meat really hit the spot. It gives off an aroma that no other crab can give, an aroma you are suppose to get out of a bowl of Canh Bun. Because it's frozen, the crab paste becomes extremely runny when thawed. I combine blue crab meat, ground pork, and mince dried prawns to help glue the crab mixture together. You achieve that fluffy texture I added a lot of
dried prawns (tom kho)
1 can of blue crab meat
1 container of frozen ricefield crab paste
1 jar of crab meat in soya bean oil
1/4 lb ground pork
shrimp paste (mam tom)
7 large tomatoes
1 large bunch of morning glory
already cooked pork blood (cubed)
large rice noodle (use for Bun Bo Hue)
herbs of choice
rice paper (optional)
1. Rinse and wash pork bones. Par boil bones to get rid of scums.
2. Simmer pork bones in a pot of water.
3. Soak dried prawns in warm water until soften.
4. Add 3 teaspoon of salt, rock sugar, and 1 tablespoon of mushroom seasoning. Let simmer for 1-2 hour.
5. Remove dried prawns from water(pour the water into the broth) and finely mince it.
6. Combine ground pork, ricefield crab paste, minced dried prawns, 5 eggs, and 1/2 tablespoon of shrimp paste. Mix thoroughly and set aside for later.
7. Wash tomatoes and cut into large pieces.
8. Wash morning glory and then blanch, drained and let dr
9. Cook the noodle until al dente, drained and then let dry.
10. Add the jar of crab meat in soya bean oil to the broth.
11. Taste with addtional sugar and fish sauce. I like to add shrimp paste to the broth as well.
12. Let broth simmer for 30 minutes and then add tomatoes.
13. When broth come to a boil add the crab mixture.
14. Add tofu and blood cube. Add additional shrimp paste for flavor, be careful not over salt the broth.
The broth is now finish and ready to eat. You can put noodle and morning glory right into the pot and start cooking it. I like to use a separate smaller pot to prepare each bowl. A little bit of broth, noodles, and morning glory. Let pot come to a boil and then you are ready to serve. Enjoy!