Thursday, March 20, 2014

Banh Canh Do Bien - Seafood Tapioca Noodle Soup (Lent Friendly)

I already post a recipe for Banh Canh Cua (Crab Tapioca Noodle Soup), which is made with a pork base broth and requires fresh crabs.  This version has no meat product (beef, chicken, poultry) and does not require fresh crabs.  I usually tell my family it's my "lazy" version of banh canh, meaning I spend less time on the broth.  I usually make the noodles from scratch because it taste better and it's cheaper then store brought banh canh noodles.  Please refer to my Banh Canh Cua recipe for instructions to make homemade noodles.

For this recipe I use dried prawns and a lot of mushroom to make the broth.  It is said that mushrooms give a natural umami taste, savory taste, so I go crazy with the mushrooms.  Instead of fresh crabs I use jar crab meat in soya bean oil (the same jar I use to make bun rieu).  Shrimp, mushroom, and fish cake (cha ca) contribute to the "meat" of the soup, you can also use frozen shrimp and fish balls.


Banh canh noodles
1/2 cup of dried prawns (rehydrated)
1 daikon (or 2-3 carrots)
1 onion
3 cups of mushroom
1 lb of shrimp(cooked in the microwave)
fish cake (cha ca usually already cooked)
1/4 cup of crab meat in soya bean oil
1 tablespoon of minced shallots
fish sauce
green onions(garnish)
cooking oil
tapioca flour

1.  Fill a 6 quart pot with water,the rehydrated dried prawns, onion,
and daikon. Let these ingredients cook on the stove to make the broth.
2. Once you have extract all the sweetness from the dried prawns and daikon, you can remove daikon and onions.
3.  Season the broth with salt and sugar.
4.  Heat up some cooking oil in a pan.  Add the minced shallots and the crab meat, sauteed the two together so the crab meat is more frangrance.  Add this to the broth.
5.  Add the mushrooms to the broth.  Let it cook in the broth.
6.  Season the broth with additional sugar and fish sauce if needed.
7.  It's best to make banh canh per bowl.  I usually have a little sauce pan to make each bowl of banh.
8.  Transfer enough broth for one bowlto the sauce pan.  Add the
noodle to the broth.  If you like the broth more thick(especially if you use store brought banh canh noodles),have some tapioca flour handy.  Add more tapioca flour to the broth base on your personal preference.
9.  Add the shrimp and fish cake to the broth.
10.  Once the noodle has soften, transfer to a bowl.
11.  Top off with green onion, cilantro, and a squeeze of of lime juice.
12.  Enjoy!