I am so happy that crab season lasts longer this year. I plan on making “banh canh cua” or Vietnamese fat rice noodle with crab soup. Banh canh cua is one of my favorite soups. There are two versions, pork soup and crab soup. I grew up with both but being a seafood fanatic, I enjoy the crab version much more. The noodles look fat like udon, but are made with rice or tapioca, not wheat. The tapioca noodles are clear after boiling and taste more chewy compared to the rice noodles. This dish brings back fond memories of my pharmacy rotation in Vietnam. My classmates and I would go to Ben Thanh market in Saigon for lunch or dinner and order banh canh from the various food stands. The atmosphere was always lively, great for eating and people watching. I hope you find this soup tasty and comforting!
2 Dungeness crabs
10 cups of water
2 lbs of pork neck bones
¼ cup of fish sauce
¼ cup of sugar
2 pkg (15 oz) fat rice noodles (they look like udon)
1 lb of deveined shrimps
chili pepper and pepper to taste (optional)
cilantro and green onions for garnish
Fill a large stockpot with 3 cups of water and bring to a boil. Place the crabs in the water and steam for 15 minutes. Save the crab stock. Remove the meat from the body and claws, and save the juice from the body. In a separate stockpot, fill 10 cups of water and cook the pork neck bones for 2 hours. Pour the strained the pork stock, 2 cups of crab stock, and juice from the crabs into a separate stockpot. Add fish sauce. Let simmer for 30 minutes and remove any scum at the surface. Add sugar to taste.
Boil the rice noodles until semi-clear. Strain and leave the noodles in cold water so they do not expand.
When ready to serve, transfer the noodle to a serving bowl, top with crab meat and shrimps and then add soup. Garnish with green onions, cilantro, pepper, and chili pepper. Enjoy!
I was out of town for a pharmacy conference in Anaheim for a few days and have not had time to blog. It felt really nice to be back home and back to my daily routine. For dinner, I decided to make crab bisque, inspired by a crab dish that I had at Joe’s Crab Shack near our hotel. French in origin, bisque is a smooth and creamy soup based on a strained broth of crustaceans, usually lobster, crab, shrimp, and even crayfish. I paired the bisque with toasted baguettes and a glass of white wine. If you are entertaining guests this holiday, this bisque would be a perfect start to your dinner party.
2 (1 1/2-pound) crabs
1/2 cup coarsely chopped shallots or onions
1 cup coarsely chopped leeks
1 cup coarsely chopped carrots
1 cup of chopped tomatoes
1 clove of garlic
1/2 tsp saffron
1 tbsp of olive oil
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup white wine
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsps cornstarch
1 tbsp sugar
chives for garnish
Fill a large stockpot with 3 cups of water and bring to a boil. Place the crabs in the water and steam for 15 minutes. Discard the water. (you can also save 1-2 cups of this original stock if you want a stronger crab taste)
Remove crab meats from the body and claws. Save the shells.
Place 5 cups of water in a clean stockpot and turn on high heat. Put the shells in the stockpot and cook for 30 minutes. This should yield 4 cups of crab stock.
Add olive oil to a large sauté pan and turn on medium heat. Add the garlic, shallots, leeks, carrots, tomatoes, and saffron and sauté for 20 minutes.
Add 4 cups of strained crab stock to the sautéed vegetables. Turn down heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
Press entire contents of sautéed pan through sieve into a clean sauté pan.
To finish the bisque, add heavy cream slowly, using whisk to blend. Add white wine. Simmer on low heat for 15 minutes; bisque will thicken slightly.
Mix cornstarch with 1/4 cup water and slowly add to bisque with whisk. Simmer on low heat for another 15 minutes. Add pepper and sugar (more if you like a sweeter taste).
Place pieces of previous cleaned crab meat in bowl and add 1 cup of bisque.
November is the beginning of Dungeness crab season. I like my crabs steamed with beer and dipped in a mixture of salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Unfortunately, fresh crabs are still expensive in San Diego at this time of the year ranging from $5.99 to $8.99 a pound. You can get crabs from northern California for a lot cheaper, $1.99 at its cheapest and $3.99 most of the time. Seattle is another place to get fresh Dungeness crab for a decent price. Dungeness crabs are abundant in the Pacific Northwest. I heard rave review from my Seattle friends about the annual Dungeness Crab and Seafood Festival in Port Angeles held each October, but have not had the luxury of going. It is on my must do list! Until then, I was content with buying a jar of crab meat from Costco to satisfy my craving for crab cakes. This will probably be your most simple recipe for crab cakes.
Crab Cakes Ingredients
3 tbsps light mayonnaise
1 tbsp lemon juice, plus wedges for serving
1 small egg
1/2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tbsp Old Bay Seasoning
Coarse salt and ground pepper
8 oz crabmeat, fresh would be best but you can get the Costco Chicken of the Sea super lump crabmeat
1 cup of fine Ritz cracker crumbs
1 green onion
3 tbsps of chopped bell pepper
olive oil for frying
In a large bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, lemon juice, egg, mustard, Old Bay, teaspoon coarse salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
Add bell peppers, green onions, cracker crumbs, and crabmeat to mayonnaise mixture.
Mix well and leave in fridge for 15-30 minutes so the crabmeat can absorb all the flavors. Form the mixture into patties, about ½-1 inch thick.
Pour 1 tbsp of olive oil into a skillet and gently lay the cakes in the oil. Fry for 3-4 minutes on each side or until golden brown.
Remove the cakes from the oil and drain on a paperlined plate. Serve with lemon wedges and tartar sauce or your sauce of choice.