bánh canh cua – Vietnamese Udon Noodle Soup

Banh Canh Cua

around this time of year,
while the majority of the country
is thinking/talking/consuming all things:
pumpkin, turkey, stuffing, cranberries, eggnog,
i’m craving random,
not as well-known vietnamese noodle bowls
that take a full day to make
and then even more dayyyyyyys to finish.

the season is in full swing,
and though we don’t partake in festivities often,
we still find ourselves succumbing
to the stray dinner and drink and party invites.
you’re the last one,
so be the best one.

Banh Canh Cua

bánh canh cua – Vietnamese Udon Noodle Soup
this makes an ass-ton, like i don’t know how much in measurements, but we were eating this for a number of nights straight.

to me, this dish is more about the noodles than anything else. there’s a bouncy chewy texture to them, kinda sorta like udon noodles. there are plenty of different resources online that will have the full exact measurements of the seasoning, that is authentic, but this version worked for me and my hankering for some random not-often consumed viet noodle bowl was sated.

3 lbs pork neck bones
1 onion
carrot & celery (optional, i added this because it felt weird to not have them in when making stock)
6 cups chicken stock (homemade or store bought)

in a big stock pot bring a pot of water + pork neck bones to a boil. drain the water and wash the bones and clean the pot. put bones back into the pot with the onion and fill with water. bring to a boil and lower heat. simmer slightly covered for a few hours. skim accordingly

after a few hours, remove the bones (discard them, or if you’re like my gpa, pick at the bones, dunking the morsels of meat in really good & spicy fish sauce)

add the chicken stock and stir to mix.

crab + shrimp balls
1 clove garlic
half onion
salt, pepper, sugar – to taste
1/2 lb cleaned/deveined shrimp
1/2 lb crab meat
splash fish sauce
1 – 2 tsp of annatto oil (to make: 1/3 cup of neutral oil warmed gently with 1 TBL of annatto seeds)
1-2 tsp crab paste in soy bean oil

in food processor add the shrimp and alllllll the ingredients, except the crab meat. pulse until the shrimp is roughly chopped. then add the crab meat and pulse for about 5-10 seconds, taking care to not mush up the crab meat, you’re aiming to bind all the ingredients together.

shape into ping pong sized balls. fridge or freeze until ready to use

green scallions, chopped
cilantro, finely chopped
chili pepper, thinly sliced
lime wedges
optional fish and shrimp and crab balls, already prepared, can be found in frozen aisle at asian markets

banh canh noodles
1 bag rice flour (16 oz)
5 TBL tapioca starch or flour
1 1/2 cups of super duper hot boiling water

mix rice flour and tapioca starch, set aside
in a kettle, boil water and pour it into the flour mixture until a dough is formed, it won’t be too wet or dry. the consistency reminded me of play-doh. wrap in plastic and ignore for 30 minutes

here is where you can shape/cook the noodles the way you want. you can put it through a potato ricer or roll out the dough into a disc and cut into 1/4 inch strips. we attempted both and will now just buy already-made udon noodles.

to assemble
best to make 2 servings at a time

in a medium sauce pan, portion out enough stock for 2 servings. bring to a boil, lower heat and season according to taste, with fish sauce and sugar

add in the homemade shrimp/crab balls and any other prepared balls you want. when the pot reaches a boil again, add in the noodles. unlike pasta, don’t stir. allow for the noodles to cook to al dente, it’ll swell, around 5 minutes, but do keep an eye out for it. the stock will thicken, it’ll go from brothy to stew-y. don’t be alarmed

portion into bowls. top with green scallions, cilantro and a healthy drizzle of annatto oil and spritz of lime juice


4 years ago: cauliflower + pumpkin gnocchi
3 years ago: garlic panna cotta + curried root vegetable soup
2 years ago: vegan carrot cake
1 year ago: brownie cookies

bún riêu – vietnamese seafood noodle soup

bún riêu - vietnamese seafood noodle soup

lately i’ve been thinking a lot about
vietnamese food
specifically the foods i ate growing up.
it’s that weird, icky, emo
akin to nostalgia,
an emotion that is so foreign,
and unwelcome,
to me
that i would like to punch it in the face.

instead, i think i will attempt to feed it
because starving is just not our thing.

bún riêu - vietnamese seafood noodle soup

bún riêu – vietnamese seafood noodle soup
loosely adapted from wandering chopsticks

*note: i seem to recall seeing snails in this dish growing up. that’s an ingredient that i cannot locally source and if i’m to be honest, it’s something that i like to consume when prepared by professionals. i’m not there yet to make it myself. instead, i made do with local maryland crab and csa tomatoes – hooray for in-season AND local. alas, the fish cakes were purchased frozen and already prepared. this is when dw will turn a blind eye, conceding that some things just cannot be helped.

this makes a lot. like, an ass clown amount. we’ve have it for leftovers for a week, and we shared this with cousins who recently welcomed a baby boy, leaving them with portions too.

i won’t post the full recipe, because it’s fucking long WC does a great job of writing it all out. below are my short cuts and methods that worked for me.

i used two 32 oz boxes of organic seafood stock. i wasn’t about to make crab stock. i did use shrimp shells though.
i purchased backfin crab meat from whole foods, because lump meat would’ve been a waste of good meat and money.
i did not use canned tomatoes, instead, we’ve been drowning in csa tomatoes and so i diced up 15oz worth of tomatoes and rough chunked 4 big tomatoes.
spare ribs were also purchased at whole foods, and i think may have been dw’s favorite part of the dish.
i added two extra eggs to the rieu, because i like it extra eggy. i did not bother with keeping it whole, i just free formed balls with spoons and dropped into the broth.
if you can’t get your hands on banana blossom, shredded cabbage is fine.

last, this dish was just ok on the first day, in fact, i was a little disappointed. but the following days were so much better.


bún riêu - vietnamese seafood noodle soup

1 year ago: quinoa sushi rolls
2 years ago: blueberry breakfast cookies

other vietnamese goodness:
homemade bánh cướn chay
vietnamese bò kho – beef stew
phở gà
tôm rang muối – vietnamese salt & pepper shrimp
vietnamese vermicelli noodle bowl – bun thit ga nuong
chả trứng thịt hấp – vietnamese steamed egg meatloaf

soy sauce egg noodle bowl

Soy Sauce Egg Noodle Bowl

today is the first day of
the Year of the Sheep.
if that means nothing to you,
it just basically means
it’s the Lunar New Year.
these noodles are a symbol of
long life (hopefully).
may this year be a good one:
happy new year friends!

Soy Sauce Egg Noodle Bowl

soy sauce egg noodle bowl

*note: i didn’t include serving amount etc because that is at your discretion. the yaki soba noodles that i buy come already portioned out and normally dw + i can put away 3 portions. oink. or rather, baaaah. (that’s the sound of a sheep right???!)

4 medium-hard boiled eggs, peeled
3 TBL dark soy sauce
3 TBL thin soy sauce
1 TBL sugar
2 star anises
3 cloves

fresh yaki soba noodles
chinese broccoli, cut in thirds
hot chili oil, store bought or homemade
green scallions or chives, to garnish
fried shallots and garlic, to garnish, very optional (and not pictured)

soy sauce eggs:
prepare your eggs, or medium or hard boiled, peel. set aside.

this is the most unscientific way: in a pourable glass measuring cup add the soy sauces and add enough water to equal 1 cup. add to a small saucepan along with the sugar, star anises and cloves. bring to a gentle boil and stir until sugar is dissolved. remove from heat and cool to room temp.

using a tall jar that would fit the 4 eggs and submerge them fully in the soy sauce mix. ignore at least 4 hours and up to 5 days.

noodle bowl prep:
halve the eggs

in a pot boil some water. loosen the noodles for less than a minute in the hot water. portion out. add a tablespoon or so of the egg soy sauce to fully coat the noodles. if you’re feeling fancy, add some of the hot chili oil and coat.

par-boil the chinese broccoli and portion out accordingly. top bowl with egg halves, garnish with chives or green scallions (and fried shallots and garlic, if using) and hot oil.


Soy Sauce Egg Noodle Bowl

other asian and new year goodies:
chinese egg tarts
savory sticky rice
sweet potato mochi cakes
turnip cakes
scratch off lottery tickets
waffle cone fortune cookies

miso ramen

Miso Ramen Bowl

so what ended up happening was:
i looked in the freezer
for any kind of inspiration
something to catch my fancy
i’ve been in a rut lately, you see
not cooking much
just throwing of stuff on a plate
and calling it The Pile
and then whining
two hours later
that i was hungry
and that we should go get ice cream
and so,
in the cavernous back there
(just kidding, my freezer is tiny)
hidden behind the veggie bouillon cubes,
wedding cake,
and various i don’t know whats
was a lone package of ground pork
leftover from last autumn’s csa pork stash
i had it in my heart to make
dandan noodles uh-gain
despite how utterly delicious that dish is
i required something more inspired,
something completely inappropriate
for the lingering heat & humidity
we’re finally getting
so ramen came along

Miso Ramen Bowl

you can get the full on recipe here
i’ll just list a few of my tweaks:

i used So Delicious Coconut creamer instead of soy milk
i didn’t bother to fancy up my eggs, a simple soft-hard boiled egg was fancy enough
i used a mild miso, it didn’t specify if it was yellow or white, it just said mild
i used dashi flakes instead of dashi granules (it’s what i had in the pantry)
i used dried wood ear mushrooms instead of shitake (it’s what i had in the pantry)
last: i used water instead of stock, because i completely forgot to buy some AND i didn’t feel up to making any


Miso Ramen Bowl

Phở Gà – vietnamese chicken noodle soup

Phở Gà

when i was in college,
maybe 18 or 19,
i dated a beautiful boy
(dated is probably too strong a word, ahem)
one with almond shaped eyes
hair silkier and blacker than mine
and he had a tendency to ignore me at the parties
where i would impatiently wait for him to look my way
but his eyes always shifted anywhere and everywhere else
to say the least,
it was a complicated relationship
one studded with embittered arguments
huffy silences
really mean answering machine messages
(yes, it was that long ago)
until one night,
middle of the night soon after the start of my 3rd year,
during a period in time when
i had gotten myself ridiculously entrenched
in yet another complicated relationship,
one that got me kicked out of the house,
i told him enough already
it was 3am
i was half asleep
and goddamnit, i had to report to work
in two and a half hours
and i put the phone back on the cradle
turned off the ringer
and washed my hands of that soap opera

Phở Gà

the thing about phở is that
it seems complicated
the broth is spice laden
you add things
you subtract things
it is never the same bowl
i myself would prefer to go out for phở
than to make it
but i found myself with a whole chicken to use
and it being soup season & all
i decided to uncomplicate it
in its most simplest
it’s chicken broth that’s been infused with
some exotic spices
maybe i’m oversimplifying
but in a time where i don’t have time
for convoluted bs
this is exactly what i can handle

Phở Gà

phở gà
adapted from wandering chopsticks

package 1-lb of Banh Pho (Vietnamese Flat Thin Rice Noodles)
1 whole chicken, about 3-4lbs
1 onion, studded with about 15 cloves
2 2″ knob of ginger
2 sticks of cinnamon
6 star anise pods
4 cardamom pods
head half a of garlic
4 carrots, scrubbed and chunked, keep the skin on
2 tsp salt
fish sauce to taste

in a small frying pan, dry fry the spices

with a creme brulee torch char the clove studded onion, garlic and ginger knobs

in an 8 quart pot add the chicken and charred vegs, and carrots

in a small spice bag add the spices and then put into pot

add water until everything is just about covered

season with salt

bring to boil and then lower temp to simmer for about 45 min – 1 hour

remove chicken and allow to cool, then shred, putting bones back into pot. cover chicken until ready to eat

meanwhile, allow soup to simmer for another hour or so (i let it go for about 3 hours)

when ready to eat, cook up noodles according to package instructions and divvy into bowls

top with shredded chicken, garnish with thinly sliced onions and scallions

carefully ladle soup into bowls

it’s even better the next day, and then the next

serves 8 – calories: 366 | fat: 6g | carbs: 41g | protein: 37g

phở gà

other noodle bowl concoctions:
morestomach – vermicelli noodle bowl
whisk & knife – beef noodle soup
i am a food blog – oxtail pho
my darling lemon thyme – spicy noodle salad with pickled vegs
use real butter – chinese soy sauce chicken
angry asian creations – wonton noodle soup
angry asian creations – shrimp pad thai
angry asian creations – singapore noodles