Ingredients (for the stock):
- 5 qt pork stock
- shrimp heads
- 4 medium to large ripe tomatoes
- 10 medium sized fried firm tofu
Ingredients (for the crab topping):
- 1 5.6 oz can of minced crab in spices
- 4 eggs
- 6 oz of crab meat
- 1/4 lb of ground pork
- 1 tsp of ground black pepper
- 1 tsp of fine shrimp paste (mam tom)
- 2 tbs of minced dried shrimp
Ingredients (for Annato Scallion Oil):
- 4 tbs of annato seeds
- 4 tbs of cooking oil
- 1 bunch of scallions—chopped into 1-inch pieces
- vermicelli noodles
- lettuce—finely chopped
- lime wedges
- Vietnamese herbs: perilla, mint, lemon balm, split ong choy stems
- Soak dried shrimps until softened with hot water for about 20 min, and then mince finely using food processor or minifood chopper and set aside. This can be done day in advance and refrigerated.
- Cook the vermicelli noodles and set aside.
- In small sauce pan, heat canola or vegetable oil with the annato seeds over medium heat. When the seeds release their red color, remove the seeds with strainer. (You can prepare this oil in larger quantities in advance and keeps months refrigerated). Add the scallions and turn off heat and set aside.
- At the same time add pork or chicken stock into large pot and bring to boil.
- In the meantime, make the crab mixture. Combine ground pork, crab, can of prawn/crabmeat in spices, shallots, fine shrimp paste, dried shrimps, pepper, and egg into a food processor. Pulse for about 30 seconds until it becomes a fine paste. When the stock comes to a boil, turn down to simmer and slowly add this crab mixture into stock by the ladle full. The crab mixture will sink but as it cooks will float. Now add the tomatoes and tofu and cook until tomatoes are tender. Finally, season stock with additional fish sauce (or shrimp paste) as needed. Garnish with annato scallion oil.
- Add vermicelli noodles to bowl and ladle on the bun rieu. Serve with vegetable and herbs and enjoy!