Bánh canh cua giò heo or crab and pork hock tapioca noodle soup is a typical dish in central Vietnam. Bánh canh noodles are similar to udon noodles except they are typically made with a combination of tapioca flour and rice flour. The noodles are translucent and have a chewy consistency. The stock is based on a simple pork bone stock and this recipe takes approximately 1.5 hours to prepare. If you have frozen pork stock, then this recipe takes only half an hour to create. For those that do not like pork hock, we also offer substitution for those items. You can easily make this a simple crab noodle soup as well. Either way, it is another delicious noodle soup that is not typically offered in Vietnamese restaurants in the United States.
Difficulty: Medium / Serving: 6 portions / Time: 1.5 hours
2.5 lb pork neck bone
2.5 lb of pork hock slice 1 inch lengthwise (substitute with other cuts of pork or pork neck bones)
1 pack of cha or pork meatloaf (substitute with boiled pork loin)
14 oz of pork patty mix (You can puree ground pork or other poultry meat in a food processor to make the paste)
3.5 oz of crab paste with bean oil
2 cups of fresh lump crab meat
2 yellow onions
1/2 teaspoon of fish sauce
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon of chicken bouillon powder
4 teaspoons of sea salt
1 teaspoon of ground pepper
1/2 tablespoon + 2 teaspoon of rock sugar
1 tablespoon of vegetable or canola oil
Garnish with diced green onion and cilantro
1 package of frozen bánh canh noodles or regular udon noodles per person or make your own noodles:
- 2 cups of tapioca flour
- 3 cups of rice flour
Equipment: Potato Ricer with the largest hole setting
1. Make pork bone stock (1 hour and 5 minutes)
Boil enough water to clean the bones and pork hock with 1 teaspoon of salt to cure the smell.
Remove the bones and hock when the outside of the bone looks “cooked”. This takes approximately 5 minutes. Remove them from the pot and rinse thoroughly with cold water.
In a large stock pot, boil 6 quarts of water with the rinsed bones,pork hock, 1 teaspoon of salt and 2 teaspoons of rock sugar on a low boil for 1 hour.
2. Make the noodles while the bones simmer (optional)
In a pot big enough to boil the noodles, fill it halfway with water and 1 tablespoon of oil.
At the same time, mix 4 cups of water with 3 cups of rice flour, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Turn the heat to high and stir continuously (approximately 4 minutes).
At first, the flour liquid will be completely mixed and feels very liquidity. When you feel some dough clumping on the bottom of the pot while you are stirring and there is some weight to the handle, pour in 2 cups of tapioca flour a little bit at a time while stirring continuously. Stir until the dough forms and pulls away from the pot. Remove from the heat.
Immediate fill a potato ricer with enough dough. Squeeze the noodles into the boiling pot of water right away. The noodles are cooked when they float to the top. Use a slotted spoon and scoop the noodles into a bowl of cold water to stop the cooking process. Repeat until the rest of the dough is cooked. Strain the noodles and set aside.
The noodles should be translucent and the texture should still be semi firm and chewy.
3. Make the crab balls
In a food processor, add 2 cups of fresh lump crab meat, 2 cups of pork paste, 1/2 cups of crab paste with bean oil, 2 tablespoons of diced onion, 1 teaspoon of ground pepper, 1 teaspoon of chicken bouillon powder, 1 teaspoon of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of fish sauce. Puree until you get a nice paste.
*Optional: You can add 1 drop of red food color and 2 drops of yellow food color to the meat mixture before pureeing to a vibrant “crab” color.
*If you cannot buy pre-made pork paste at the Asian supermarket, you can puree ground pork or other poultry in a food processor until the meat turns into a paste.
4. Make the bánh canh broth (15-20 minutes)
Strain pork stock into another pot. You will need approximately 4.5 quarts of liquid. If you do not have enough pork stock, add low sodium chicken stock to the broth.
Season the broth with 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 tablespoon of chicken bouillon powder, 1/2 tablespoon of rock sugar, 1 teaspoon of regular sugar and the roasted onions.
Cook the broth for 15 minutes or until the rock sugar has dissolved. Bring the broth to a rolling boil.
Use a spoon and scoop the crab paste into the broth. Make as many crab balls as you want to eat. You can freeze the rest.
Add the onions and scallion ends to the broth at the end for extra flavor.
Add 2 tablespoons of annatto oil for color.
Place a handful of noodles into the bottom of the bowl. Add the pork bones/meat and scoop a few crab balls into the bowl. Fill it up with broth and garnish with the scallions and cilantro.