Saturday, October 2, 2010

Sup Mang Cua (Crab and Asparagus Soup)

Sup Mang Cua is a soup that you probably see at a lot of Vietnamese gatherings. Most of the family parties that I have attended have served this type of soup. This is a light soup that enhances the flavor of crab meat blended with asparagus. This soup is a great appetizer, so try it out next time you have guests over... it's sure to be a hit :)

This recipe yields 4-5 servings (picture displays normal soup bowl)

  • 2 cans 14 oz chicken broth + 2 cans water
  • ½ lb fresh asparagus, cleaned and cut into about 1 inch or you can use canned asparagus OR 14 oz canned asparagus, white or green
  • 1 15 oz can quail egg
  • 1 cup crab meat
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbsp onion, diced very small
  • 1 Tbsp Butter
  • 2 tsp fish sauce, 1 Tbsp for the crab meat and (optional) 1 for soup
  • 1 tsp chicken bouillon powder
  • 1 tsp rice cooking wine (optional)
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 full Tbsp potato starch (can sub tapioca starch, but my mom says potato starch is better)
  • ¾ cup water

Step 1
Pour chicken broth and water in a big pot. Bring to a boil. In the mean time, clean your asparagus by stripping off some of its scale/skin (see pic). Then cut into 1 inch pieces and wash. When your broth has come to a boil carefully add your asparagus into the soup and wait for it to boil again, then lower to medium heat for 15 minutes.
Step 2
Clean and dice onion finely. Drain quail egg from can and wash. Set both aside. Gently wash your crab meat in a metal strainer (you need to wash the crab meat because even though it comes prepackaged, it may be semi dirty). Let excess water drain out. Then in a small pan, melt butter, and then add onion and sauté for about 1 minute. Add crab meat, then fish sauce. Sauté the crab meat for 2-3 minutes then stir in cooking wine and cook for 1 minute.

Step 3
Add chicken bouillon powder to your soup and then add the crab meat to the pot. Bring to slight boil. In the mean time, mix ¾ cup water with 2 full Tbsp of potato starch very well so it is fully dissolved. This will thicken up your soup. Slowly pour the starch water into the soup while stirring constantly with chopsticks (or ladle). Make sure you stir constantly, otherwise you soup’s thickness won’t be even. *You may want to slowly add the starch water until it reaches your desired thickness… you don’t have to use all of the starch water*

Step 4
Add 2 tsp sugar and taste the soup. If it’s not as salty as you want it, you may want to add another tsp of fish sauce. This is the time to adjust the flavor in your soup. When you feel that the soup is to your taste, beat one egg and pour into a small strainer (see pic). You want to stir while your egg drips from your strainer to create those strands of egg. Then add your quail eggs and bring to a boil, and then you’re done. After you’ve turn off the stove, try not to stir the soup as much otherwise you’ll ruin the thickness.

Serve hot, sprinkled with some black pepper and this is optional, but I like to add some zing to my soup with hot chili oil (sate).

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