Bun Rieu is one of my favorite soups to make, because it is so simple and easy to whip up. I’ve made this on a weeknight before, but it’s usually a weekend recipe since it does take a little bit of prep work.
Getting all of the ingredients can be a challenge, and a bit on the pricey side – because the cost of getting real crab can be high. You MUST go to the Asian supermarket in order to make this recipe. There’s no substitute for the Minced Crab in Spices (the Lee brand is my favorite) and I also love the funky/salty flavor of fine shrimp sauce (mam tom). It smells very fishy, so be aware. (Mam tom is in the brown jar in the below photo.)
There’s a lot that goes in this recipe, but don’t let the recipe list overwhelm you. It’s very simple.
It basically consists of two steps – making the pork broth, and adding the rieu mixture to the soup. I buy pork broth at the Asian market, but you can also use chicken broth if you prefer. The authentic Vietnamese version uses pork, though – since pork is an important staple in Vietnamese cuisine. We eat a lot of pig!
Some people make their pork broth from scratch, but I think that’s way too time consuming.
If you can find it, you should buy some annato seeds to make annato oil. This will help redden the sauce at the end. I couldn’t find it at my local Asian market, so I used tomato paste instead. It did the trick, but annato seed oil works much better!