Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Banh Canh Cua - Crab Noodle Soup

Even though I have already posted a recipe for Banh Canh Cua, this version is more authentic. The other version is like a quick fix, this version will take some time but it's definitely worth the extra effort.

The other day I went to our local supermarket looking for ingredients to make dinner. I wasn't really looking for any specific ingredients, kinda hoping something would jump out at me. As I was walking through the seafood section, I notice a sign, "wild caught stone crabs". They were running a stone crab claws special for $7.99 a lb. There were around 4-5 five claws per package and each package ran around $7-$8. I knew this is what I have to make for dinner, so I grabbed five packages with the largest claws.

After coming home, my sister-in-law looked through our freezer outside and dug up two dungeness crab parts. We use the meat a couple weeks ago to make Tamarind Crabs, and save the head with all the eggs for later use. There was no other option, these ingredients screamed Banh Canh Cua.

Instead of buying premade noodles, I wanted to make the noodles from scratch out of rice and tapioca flours. Again this took extra time but it's really not hard. It taste so much better than the premade noodles. The broth is a little tricky because I use some left over ingredients and then frozen stone crabs. The frozen stone crabs are already cooked so it's not going to give off a lot of crab flavor. Using mushroom will also give sweetness and lots of flavor to the broth. If you do not have access to stone crabs just use two whole dungeness crabs. On some occasion, Costo sells whole frozen dungeness crab for around $10 each.

For this recipe, I'm going to list what I did with my ingredients (5 lbs of stone crabs claws and 2 head parts of the two dungeness crabs). Since most people will not have the heads of two dungeness crabs laying around, I'm also going to list the procedure if you were going to use two whole dungeness crabs. I'll try not to sound confusing but please let me know if you have any questions. Enjoy!

3 cups of rice flour
2 1/2 cups of tapioca flour
1/2 cups to the side
boiling water
a big bowl
wooden spoon
rolling pin

1. Sift together 3 cups of rice flour and 2.5 cups of tapioca flour.
2. Slowly add boiling water a little bit at a time to the flour mixture. With a wooden spoon work the flour and boiling water together. You want to add enough water to form a dough that you can knead and then flatten.
3. Once you have achieve a texture where you can mold the dough, split the dough into smaller balls (about the size of racketball).
4. Use the rolling pin to flatten the dough balls and then cut the flatten dough in half. With a knife cut the half sheet of dough into 1 cm strips.
5. Store the noodle in a container and sprinkle tapioca flour in between noodles so it doesn't stick together. The additional tapioca flour will help thicken soup later too.


2 lbs of pork neck bones
5 lbs of stone crabs
the hard shell and it's content to two dungeness crabs
1 teaspoon of of minced shallots
1 teaspoon of minced garlic
cooking oil
4 cup of mushroom quarters
rock sugar
mushroom seasoning
fish sauce
green onions

1. Steam the stone crab claws and save the liquid that is produced. Let the claws cool.
2. Preboil the pork bones with a good amount of salt. Re
move the pork from the dirty liquid and rinse under cold water.
3. Transfer the pork bones in a big pot filled with water. Let bones simmer in water up to 2 hours.
4. If you are using dungeness crabs, you want to remove the hard shell and scrape as much of the yellow content from the shell. You then would want to steam the crab meats and save the crab liquid for later.
5. Add the dungeness shell I just cleaned out into the broth. Add all the liquid produce from steaming the crabs.
6. Taste the broth with salt, rock sugar, and mushroo
m seasoning.
7. Heat up some cooking oil in pan and fragrance the minced garlic and shallots.
8. Add the head/egg content of the two dungeness crabs to the garlic and shallots. Sauteed the egg content until fragrance.
9. Add the content to the broth, which will give the broth some color.
10. Add the mushroom.
11. Taste the broth with additional fish sauce if needed.
12. Crack the claws and remove the meat.

13. Rough chopped the green onions and cilantro for garnish.
14. Like the previous recipe, you should prepare each bowl individually. Whenever you want to cook up a bowl, transfer the broth to a separate pot. Once the broth comes to a boil add the noodle and then turn down the heat. Make sure you stir the noodle around with a spoon or it's going to stick to the bottom. The noodle and extra tapioca powder will thicken the broth so add additional broth if needed.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Thit Bo Xao Dua Chua - Beef Sauteed with Pickled Mustard Green

My mom makes the best dua chua (pickled mustard green), I swear i'm not bias! I have eaten others and it never compares to my mom. It always lack one of the following; texture, color, or taste. Good dua chua must come out crunchy, if there is no crunch when you bite into it something went wrong during the pickling process. The color should be yellowish green, like an olive green. Finally it should taste sour and not too bitter. She knows I love her dua chua, so every time I visit she has a tub for me to take home.

There are a lot of different ways to use dua chua in Vietnamese cooking but my favorite is to sauteed it with beef. A while ago one of my reader asked me to post a recipe on canh dua chua (pickled mustard green soup). I will get to that recipe the next time I have access to my mom's dua chua.

For this recipe you want to use a fatty cut of beef with a little bit of tendons, I like to use beef chuck. Not only will it give the dish more flavor but I just love the chewy texture with the crunchy mustard green. During Lent I also like sauteing pickled mustard green with squids, I will save that for a future post.

I have to say there's something very addicting about dua chua. The dua chua give a sourness to your dish that is very pleasing to our taste buds. The liquid that is produce from the pickled mustard green and beef marry together and become this wonderful sauce. I can seriously just eat the sauce alone with white rice and you can still taste the beef and pickled mustard green.


1 lb of beef chuck cut into thin strips
2 cups of pickled mustard green
2 medium tomatoes (cut into smaller chunks)
4 stalk of onions (cut down to 1 inch)
2 teaspoon of minced garlic
2 teaspoon of minced shallots
fish sauce
cooking oil

1. Marinade the beef with the garlic, shallots, and 3 tablespoon of fish sauce for about 30 minutes.
2. Heat up cooking oil in a pan/wok.
3. Once the pan is hot enough add the beef and stir. You don't have to cook it all the way through but enough to brown the outside.
4. Add the pickled mustard green to the beef and add 3 additional tablespoon of fish sauce.
5 At this point there should be a lot of liquid produce in the pan by the beef and pickled mustard green. Let the beef and pickled mustard green braise in the liquid on medium to low heat for about 10 minutes.
6. Add the tomatoes and let it cook down.
7. At the very end add the green onions.
8. Enjoy with a bowl of rice!