Bún Riêu (Vietnamese Pork, Crab, and Tomato Noodle Soup)

Bún Riêu (Vietnamese Pork, Crab, and Tomato Noodle Soup)

This dish is easily one of my favorite Vietnamese soups. It is incredibly flavorful and delicious. Perfect for fall and winter. Do not be overwhelmed by the ingredient list! 

 Prep Time: 30 minutes | Cook Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
Total Working Time: 2 hours 50 minutes
Servings: 8-9
 

INGREDIENTS

 Noodles
  •  2 pounds medium rice noodles, cooked per package instructions
Soup
  • 2.5 pounds of large pork bones or pork riblets or mixture of both!
  • 20 cups (5 quarts) of water
  • 50 grams of rock sugar
  • 1 large onion, peeled
  • 2 large shallots, peeled
  • 1/4 cup of vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 tablespoons of annatto seeds
  • 6 tomatoes, quartered
  • ~6 ounces of mam tom bac (purple shrimp paste)
Meatballs/Rieu
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable or canola oil
  • 3 large shallots, minced (~270 grams or 9 ounces)
  • 5.6 ounces canned minced prawn in spices
  • 5.6 ounces canned minced crab in spices
  • 1 pound of peeled shrimp
  • 3/4 pound of lean ground pork
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon powder
Add-ins
  • 1 pound of deep fried tofu
  • 1/2-3/4 pound of cooked pork blood, cut into inch cubes (optional)
    • ~2 cups of water
    • 2 stalks lemongrass, slice off bottom of the stalk and chop into 3 inch long pieces
    • 1 tablespoons fish sauce
    • 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon powder
Garnish and vegetables (see note #1)
  • Cilantro, chopped
  • Green onion, chopped
  • Mam tom (optional)
  • Beansprouts (1-1.5 pounds)
  • Banana blossom, thinly sliced
  • Water Spinach, shredded 
  • Green leaf lettuce, sliced (1-2 heads)
  • Lime wedges
  • Perilla leaves
 NOTE
  1.  My must haves are definitely the cilantro, beansprouts, green leaf lettuce and water spinach!

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Blanch pork bones. In a large pot, cover the bones with cold water and bring to a boil. Once boiled, lower the heat, sprinkle in 1 teaspoon of salt, and let simmer on low-medium heat for 20 minutes. Pour the dirty water and pork bone into a clean sink or colander. Run pork bone under cold water and use your hand to clean off all the nasty bits. 
  2. In a clean LARGE pot, add in 20 cups of water, 1 large onion, 2 large shallots, and the cleaned pork bones. Cover with lid and bring to a boil. Let simmer on low heat for 90 minutes. While the stock is cooking, we can prep everything else!
  3. Heat up 2 tablespoons of oil in a pan on medium heat. Add in minced shallot and stir fry for 2-3 minutes until it softens and for another minute undisturbed to get a semi char. Add in one can of minced shrimp and one can of minced crab in spices. Combine well and stir fry on low-medium for 4-5 minutes until it comes to a slow boil. Remove to a large mixing bowl and let cool completely.
  4. Coarsely chop the shrimps with a knife and toss it into the mixing bowl with the crab/shrimp mixture (from step 3, once the mixture is cooled).
  5. Add the ground pork, pepper, chicken bouillon powder, fish sauce, and eggs to the mixing bowl. Mix well, cover with saran wrap or reusable food wrap, and place in the fridge. 
  6.  Skip if you are not adding pork blood. In a small sauce pot, add in 2 cups of water, lemongrass, fish sauce, and chicken bouillon powder. Bring to a boil. Add in pork blood cubes (and more water as needed so that the pork blood is fully submerged) and bring it back to a boil. Turn heat to low and let simmer for 15 minutes. Remove pork blood and rinse under cold water. Discard lemongrass. 
  7. Cook the noodles per instructions on bag and set aside.
  8. Back to the soup! Squeeze all the juice from the onion and shallots into the stock pot and then discard them. 
  9. In a clean bowl, liquefy the mam tom with a few tablespoons of the stock. Then add it into the large stock pot. Stir to combine. 
  10. Add in the rock sugar and stir to combine. Turn the heat to medium.
  11. Take the pork and shrimp mixture out from the fridge and give it a quick mix. Once the soup back to a boil, use a large spoon to scoop 2-3 tablespoon size meatballs into the pot until all of it is used. Turn heat to medium-high to bring it back to a boil. Note that it will take some time for the soup to come back to a boil since the meatballs are cold and would cool it down. Once the soup is boiling, lower heat to medium and let simmer for 10 minutes.
  12. In the meantime, add 1/4 cup of oil and 1 tablespoons of annatto seeds to a pan on low-medium heat. Stir for about 2 minutes until oil start to bubble. Remove from stove and continue stirring it for another minute. Then remove the seeds from the pan and discard, leaving the oil in the pan. 
  13. Place the pan with red oil back on the stove on medium heat. Toss in the chopped tomato slices and stir fry for 1-2 minutes. Remove from stove and set aside. 
  14. Place the tofu and pork blood into the soup pot. Turn the heat to medium-high and let cook for 7-10 minutes. 
  15. Toss the tomato and all the red oil into the soup pot and let cook for 5 minutes or until the tomato is softened and the meatballs float to the surface. Skim any foam at the top and discard. 
  16. Taste the soup, it should be a bit saltier than you’d like because the flavor will be reduced after adding in the noodles and vegetables. If the soup is not salty enough, liquefy a teaspoon of mam tom with a teaspoon of the stock and pour into the soup. Taste and repeat until the flavor and saltiness is to your liking.
  17. Place all the vegetables onto a plate for serving. This allows each person to customize their bowl to their liking. 
  18. Assemble time! Add noodles in a serving bowl and microwave for ~20-30 seconds to warm it up. Add in the tofu, tomato, rieu (meatballs), pork ribs/bones, pork blood, and soup. Garnish with chopped cilantro and green onion!

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