Vietnamese Crab & Shrimp Thick Noodle Soup (Banh Canh Tom Cua)
- 1 large yellow onion or 4 shallots (leave whole)
- 3 lb pork bones (neck bones and/or spareribs)
- 1 teaspoon (for cleaning) plus 1 tablespoon sea salt (for stock)
- 3 liters water
- Large chunk daikon (peel)
- 2 tablespoons chicken bouillon powder
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon annatto oil
- 1 drop orange gel food coloring (optional)
- 1/3 cup tapioca starch
- 1/2 cup cold water
- Ground black pepper
- 2 scallions/green onions (slice thinly)
- Small bunch cilantro (slice thinly)
- Fried shallots
- 1 lime (cut into wedges)
- Bake onion/shallots in the oven at 350°F for about 40 minutes or until soft. Allow them to cool then peel/scrap off all charred areas to prevent browning the broth. Set aside.
- Clean the pork bones thoroughly: Add the pork bones to a large stock pot and fill with water to cover by 1 inch. Add salt (1 teaspoon). Parboil the bones for 5 minutes or when you see a lot of foam forming. Drain content of the pot into a colander placed in the sink and rinse bones under cold running water. This cleaning will keep the stock clear. It also helps to get rid of the foul pork smell.
- In a large stock pot, add water (3 liters), cleaned pork bones, roasted onion/shallots and daikon. Bring pot to a boil and reduce the heat to a very low simmer. Cook for 1 hour, uncovered. If you are reusing the same stock pot that was used to clean the bones, make sure to clean the pot thoroughly before making stock. After 1 hour, remove onions/shallots and daikon from the pot and discard.
- Season stock with stock powder, sugar, salt (1 tablespoon) and fish sauce.
- Add annatto oil and/or food coloring to the stock for color.
- To thicken the broth, in a small bowl, mix tapioca starch and water (1/2 cup) until completely dissolved. Add slurry to broth and simmer for an additional 5 minute to thicken.
- Cook the Banh Canh noodles per packaged instructions. Toss gently with sesame seed oil to prevent sticking.
- To prep the crab. heat annatto oil (1 tablespoon) in a small skillet at medium-high. Add garlic and pan-fry until fragrant. Add cooked crab meat and lightly saute until colored and aromatic. Set aside.
- To assemble, add a handful of Banh Canh noodles into a bowl. Ladle broth over noodles. Add 2-3 shrimp, desired amount of crab meat and pork spare ribs from broth. Garnish with a sprinkle of black pepper, scallions/green onions, cilantro and fried shallots. Serve with a wedge of lime on the side.