Sup Mang Cua, or Vietnamese Asparagus and Crab Soup, has always been one of my favorite soups, and a cherished childhood memory. Growing up, my mom would always make this soup on Sunday mornings. It was our lunch after we got home from Mass.
This soup is easy to make, and it offers a lot of versatility in terms of what you put in it. When I was younger, we didn’t always have fresh asparagus on hand, so my mom would use sliced bamboo shoots as a substitute. She started adding in quail eggs during my college years, and some people love this soup with baby corn, mushroom, and baby fungus. You can pretty much add in whatever vegetables you like, but there are two mandatory ingredients – crab meat and asparagus (or bamboo shoots).
Sup Mang Cua is a light, healthy soup that is perfect for dieters. Many recipes ask you to add cornstarch (or flour), dissolved in water to thicken up the broth, but I’ve omitted this step, because I think the soup tastes fine without the extra thickening.
Sup Mang Cua – Vietnamese Asparagus and Crab Soup
- 10 cups chicken stock
- 1 lb fresh asparagus cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces
- 5 cloves garlic sliced
- 6 oz can lump crab meat more crab, if desired
- 15 oz can quail eggs optional
- Handful of dried shitake mushrooms optional
- Handful of dried fungus optional
- 150- gram bag fresh white beech mushroom optional
- 2 eggs lightly beaten
- Fish sauce to taste
- Black pepper to taste
Prep all the vegetables and other ingredients.
- Wash and cut the asparagus. Cut them into diagonal bite-size pieces.
- If using canned quail eggs, drain and rinse them with cold water.
- Cut the ends of the white beech mushroom. Wash and set aside.
- If using dried shitake mushrooms and dried fungus, wash them in cold water. Add them to a saucepan, cover with plenty of water, and boil for 10 minutes until they are soft and plump. Drain and rinse with cold water.
- Discard the stem of the shitake mushrooms. Slice both the fungus and mushrooms into thin slices.
Make the broth and soup.
- In a large stock pot, over medium high heat, bring the chicken stock to a boil.
- Add the asparagus, sliced garlic, crab meat, and the other optional ingredients – quail eggs, shitake mushrooms and fungus, and white beech mushrooms – to the pot.
- Reduce the heat to medium low.
- In a small bowl, lightly beat the two eggs. Set aside.
- Using a whisk (or ladle), swirl the soup in a circular motion and slowly add the eggs – a little bit at a time as you continue to swirl.
- Add fish sauce, to taste.
- When the asparagus is fully cooked, your soup is done.
- Ladle into soup bowl. Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper, to taste. Serve and enjoy!