When I was a kid I loved Chinese food as I had good access to it with all the Chinese takeaways. Over time, that love has broadened to include many more cuisines from South East Asia as I’ve had more exposure. Vietnamese, Japanese, Korean and Thai food I also now love though I await the day when vegetarian versions of Char Sui Buns are readily available (yes I should make some!). All these cuisines have a few things in common for me – they have a few central ingredients which are used to create many different dishes, they’re fresh, flavourful, healthy, quick to make and the meat recipes are generally quite easy to substitute. This recipe from ‘The Vietnamese Market Cookbook’ is a great example of this.
- Chicken flavoured stock
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 onion
- 200g crabmeat
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 2 tbsp cornflour
- 1 bunch asparagus
- rice noodles (I didn’t measure these – enough for 4 – I really like the wide strip ones)
- 1 punnet of shitake mushrooms
- coriander leaves
1.) Peel and chop up the onion
2.) Heat the oil in a large casserole dish and fry the onion until soft
3.) Boil some water and make up 1.5 litres stock
4.) Add the crabmeat to the pan and fry for a couple of minutes then add the fish sauce and fry for one more minute
5.) Pour in the stock and turn up the heat
6.) Slice up the mushrooms and asparagus and add to the pan with the rice noodles. Reserve the tips of the asparagus as they cook quicker.
7.) Cook on a high heat for 5 minutes until the noodles are soft, after 3 minutes, add the asparagus tips. While this is cooking, chop up the coriander leaves.
8.) When the soup is done, sprinkle in some pepper. Serve up with a garnish of coriander.