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.
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
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
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
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.
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