BÚN RIÊU

Updated: Mar 22


A large part of Vietnamese cuisine consists of a vast array of delicious rice noodle soups. Many people are most familiar with phở or bún bò huế which both contain rich and delicate broths. However, one less popular and unique Vietnamese rice noodle soup that I have grown up eating is bún riêu. Bún riêu is a traditional Vietnamese soup created from of a clear tomato broth topped with minced crab paddies. In Vietnamese, bún means noodles, and riêu refers to the crab paddies. The use of tomatoes in bún riêu creates an acidic and sweet broth. The crab paddies or riêu, are a unique component of this dish making it really stand out from the other Vietnamese rice noodle dishes. Another key ingredient in bún riêu is fermented shrimp paste. I am not going to lie, but this ingredient has a pretty strong smell which took me many years to grow accustom to. Fermented shrimp paste is vital and embodies the essence of this dish. Trust me, the flavor it adds is nothing like how it smells! This is one of the easiest Vietnamese broths to make but has the most complex flavor profiles in my opinion. Bún riêu is commonly garnished with fried tofu, congealed pigs blood, herbs and tamarind which adds additional depth to the broth. I am beyond excited to introduce everyone to this dish and give bún riêu the spotlight it deserves!


Cook Time: 90 minutes


Difficulty: ★★★☆☆



 

INGREDIENTS


Crab Paddies

  • 3 ounces of tomato paste

  • 1 lb of ground pork

  • 1 lb peeled raw shrimp, chopped

  • 1 onion, chopped

  • 1 tsp chicken bouillon

  • 1 egg

  • 1 tbsp sugar

  • 1 tbsp black pepper

  • 1 tbsp garlic powder

  • ½ tsp fermented shrimp paste

  • 14 ounces of minced prawns in spices. (Can usually find this in any asian supermarket in the soup section)


Broth

  • 43.5 ounces (3 cans) of chicken broth

  • 43.5 ounces of water

  • 3 ounces of tomato paste

  • 1 tsp fermented shrimp paste

  • 3-4 tomatoes, chopped into 8ths

Noodle

  • ~4 ounces of uncooked, thin vermicelli per serving

Garnishes (All are HIGHLY recommended but are completely optional)

  • Fried tofu

  • Congealed pork blood, cubed (Video on how to prepare here)

  • Onion, sliced

  • Cilantro, chopped

  • Green onion, chopped

  • Vietnamese balm

  • Lettuce

  • Mint

  • Perilla or Shiso

  • Bean sprouts

  • Lime

  • Tamarind concentrate


 

RECIPE


Crab Paddies

  1. In a large bowl, mixing the ground pork, chopped raw shrimp, onion, tomato paste, minced prawns in spices and fermented shrimp paste. Make sure the ingredients are evenly mixed

  2. Next, add the egg, chicken bouillon, sugar, black pepper and garlic powder. Stir well until evenly mixed. Should have an orange wet paste. Place in the fridge until ready to use.

Broth

  1. In a large pot, pour the chicken broth and water in. Add the fermented shrimp and tomato paste while broth is still cold.

  2. Heat to a rolling boil.

  3. Grab the crab paddy paste you made earlier from the fridge. Add the paste in the broth with a medium sized spoon one scoop at a time.

  4. Add tomatoes

  5. Allow the broth to continue on a rolling boil for 15 minutes or until the crab paddies are completely cooked through.

  6. TASTE, TASTE, TASTE!! The shrimp paste is very potent so it is possible that your broth may be too strong or salty. If that is the case, add more water to dilute the flavor according to your preference. If the broth is too bland, add in some fermented shrimp paste. REMEMBER, a little goes a long way.

Noodles

  1. Follow instructions on the package

  2. Basic noodle boiling tip is to continue to check on the noodles so it does not stick to the pot you are boiling them in. When you can easily squeeze through the noodles with your finger tip, they are done.

  3. When noodles are done, drain the water using a colander. Run cold water through it immediately to stop the noodles from further cooking and sticking to each other.

Assembly

  1. Portion the vermicelli noodles into large bowls and reheat the noodles in the microwave for 30 seconds.

  2. Garnish the noodles with the chopped cilantro, green onions, sliced onions, fried tofu and the congealed pigs blood.

  3. Before using a ladle to pour the broth in the prepped bowls, make sure the broth is boiling. Add enough broth to submerge the noodles. Remember to add the crab paddies and tomatoes that are stewing in the boiling broth as well!

  4. Finish off the noodle soup with the herbs of your choosing, a squeeze of lime and 1 tsp of tamarind concentrate.

  5. You can always add more fermented shrimp to your liking as well. REMEMBER, a little goes a long way.


 

CONCLUSION

This has got to be one of my favorite dishes my mom has taught me how to make. The broth is so easy to prepare yet contains so many layers of flavor. All the different garnishes that I mentioned in this recipe really compliment the broth in different ways. I highly recommend everyone try them to get to full effect of this delicious broth. The herbs compliment this dish well and the tofu really soaks in the broth. As for the congealed pork blood... I know how skeptical people are about this ingredient, because I used to be as well. However, the irony flavor that the pork blood contains really resets your palate, allowing your tastebuds to absorb the delicious broth another time around. This recipe is definitely ScrubsToAprons' most adventurous dish in terms of ingredients. I hope everyone enjoys this recipe and was able to experience these unique and iconic flavors from Vietnam. The number of aprons I am going to give the recipe is...



9/10




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