Bun Rieu – Tomato Noodle Soup

Bun Rieu 1

This week’s Mom’s 52 dish is likely the simplest Vietnamese noodle soup to make.  If you’re craving a warm, noodle soup, but you’re short on time, Bun Rieu – Tomato Noodle Soup is the way to go.  This dish can be made in just about an hour, which beats other noodle soups like Pho Bo – Beef Noodle Soup and Bun Bo – Beef Lemongrass Noodle Soup.  A Vietnamese noodle soup you can make on a busy weeknight?  Yes, please!

Bun Rieu – Tomato Noodle Soup

INGREDIENTS – makes 4-5 servings:

  • 2.5 lbs. pork soup bones
  • 1 gallon water
  • 7 Tbsp. nuoc mam (fish sauce)
  • 3 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. sugar
  • almost an entire (6 oz.) can of tomato paste
  • 1/2 lb. shrimp, peeled & deveined
  • 1/2 lb. lump crab meat (drained) OR ground pork
  • 3 shallots, chopped
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. garlic powder
  • 3 stalks of green onions, chopped
  • 2 (5.6 oz) cans of Gia Vi Nau Bun Rieu (minced prawns in spices)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1 (14 oz.) package of Bun Giang Tay (rice vermicelli) noodles
  • 4 extra large tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 Tbsp. mam ruot/mam tom (shrimp sauce)
  • cilantro, bean sprouts, mint, lime wedges (for garnish)

—–

STEP 1:  BLANCH THE MEAT

  1. Fill a large stockpot halfway with water and turn on high heat.
  2. Once the water boils, gently add the pork soup bones and stir for 10 seconds.
  3. Drain by carefully pouring the pot contents into a colander over the sink.
  4. Rinse the pot well, as it will be used in Step 2 below.
  5. Rinse the drained meat well to rinse off the scum, and drain again.

—–

STEP 2:  START THE BUN RIEU BROTH

  1. In a large stockpot, heat 1 gallon of water using high heat.
  2. When the water boils, add the blanched meat and turn the heat down to medium.
  3. Add to the broth 5 Tbsp. nuoc mam (fish sauce), 3 tsp. salt, 2 Tbsp. sugar, and almost an entire (6 oz.) can of tomato paste.  Mix gently.  Allow the broth to simmer while you move on to the next steps.

    Move onto the next steps while the Bun Rieu broth cooks.
    Move onto the next steps while the Bun Rieu broth cooks.

—–

STEP 3:  START THE EGG CAKE

  1. Using the flat end of a knife, smash the shrimp to make a paste.  Alternatively, grind it in a food processor.  Place the mashed shrimp into a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add to the shrimp the crabmeat/pork, 3 chopped shallots, 1/8 tsp. pepper, 1/8 tsp. garlic powder, 1 tsp. sugar, 2 Tbsp. nuoc mam (fish sauce), the chopped green onions, 2 (5.6 oz) cans of Gia Vi Nau Bun Rieu (minced prawns in spices), and 3 eggs.  Mix well.
    This helps to flavor the egg cake for Bun Rieu.
    This helps to flavor the egg cake for Bun Rieu.

    The egg mixture for Bun Rieu has a nice red color from the "minced prawns in spices."
    The egg mixture for Bun Rieu has a nice red color from the “minced prawns in spices.”
  3. In a large, non-stick skillet, heat 1 Tbsp. EVOO on low heat.  Once heated, pour the egg mixture into the skillet and spread evenly.  Continue to cook this mixture, without mixing, on low heat for 15 minutes.  After this time, the edges of the egg cake will be cooked, while the center will still be slightly soggy.  Remove from heat.

    The egg cake for Bun Rieu should be cooked on low heat to prevent burning, and it should be removed from heat when cooked 80% through.
    The egg cake for Bun Rieu should be cooked on low heat to prevent burning, and it should be removed from heat when cooked 80% through.

—–

STEP 4:  COOK THE BUN NOODLES

  1. Cook Bun Giang Tay (rice vermicelli) noodles according to package instructions.

—–

STEP 5:  FINALIZE BUN RIEU

  1. Once the Bun Rieu broth has been cooking for 50 minutes, remove the soup bones.
  2. Turn the heat up to high and add the quartered tomatoes and 1 Tbsp. of mam ruot/mam tom (shrimp sauce).  Mix well.

    Shrimp sauce - stinky but key!
    Shrimp sauce – stinky but key!
  3. At this point, you can add Dau Hu (fried tofu) and/or Oc (snail meat), if you like these items in your Bun Rieu.
  4. Once the broth begins to simmer again, gently slide the egg cake from Step 3 above into the Bun Rieu broth.  The egg cake will break into large chunks as it slides into the broth.  Remove from heat.

    The egg cake will break into large clumps once added gently to the Bun Rieu broth.
    The egg cake will break into large clumps once added gently to the Bun Rieu broth.
  5. To serve Bun Rieu, place cooked bun noodles into a large bowl and gently ladle the Bun Rieu broth, including large pieces of tomatoes and egg cake, on top of the noodles.  Garnish with chopped cilantro, and serve at the table with bean sprouts, mint, lime wedges, and additional mam ruot/mam tom (shrimp sauce), to taste.  Enjoy!

Was this Mom’s 52 recipe helpful?  Do you have any questions about this recipe?  Please post your comments below.  If I don’t know the answer, I’ll send your question to Mom! 

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