Learn how to make Vietnamese Banh Canh Tom Cua, which is a shrimp and crab soup recipe made with thick noodles, that you can make right at home. It's a easy to make dish for any weeknight because of how easy it is to make.
Any seafood soup lover will have a affection for Vietnamese Crab and Shrimp Thick Noodle Soup called Banh Canh Tom Cua. I would equate this to a warm bowl of soup on a cold and gloomy day. The noodle that is used in this recipe is made of tapioca, similar to the ones in this recipe for Vietnamese Banh Canh Homemade Noodle Soup.
I generally make this when I'm in a bind on a weeknight or when my kids just need a hearty bowl of soup to cheer up! It's a flavorful dish that most people love!
All About Banh Canh Tom Cua - Vietnamese Shrimp and Crab Thick Noodle Recipe
What is Vietnamese Banh Canh?
Vietnamese Banh Canh is a noodle that is very similar to udon noodles. It is a thick noodle made from a combination of rice flour as well as tapioca. It has a chewy, springy texture when bitten into. Often, Banh Canh can be found premade at Asian grocery stores, but can also be easily made right at home.
What does Banh Canh Tom Cua taste like?
An authentic Banh Canh Tom Cua dish is generally made with chicken stock with thick, chewy noodles with balls of soft crab and ground shrimp that have been cooked in the broth. It's topped with chopped cilantro, green onion, Thai basil, bean sprouts, and fried shallots to give it a fresh boost to an already robust flavor.
It has an incredible seafood flavor that is absorbed by the tapioca noodles, making each noodle absolutely delicious. When topped with crispy onions and fresh leafy Vietnamese herbs, the balance takes it to another level of goodness.
What are other names for Vietnamese Shrimp and Crab Thick Noodle Soup Recipe?
Vietnamese Shrimp and Crab noodle soup can be found with many different names including:
- Banh Canh Tom Cua
- Banh Canh Cua Tom
- Vietnamese Banh Canh Seafood
- Vietnamese Seafood Thick Noodle Soup
- Vietnamese Thick Noodle Soup with Crab and Shrimp
- Vietnamese Udon Noodle Soup with Crab and Shrimp Balls
What does Banh Canh Tom Cua mean?
Banh means cake in Vietnamese. Canh means soup. Cua means crab. Tom means shrimp. Together, Banh Canh Tom Cua means Noodle Soup with Shrimp and Crab.
Other Variations of Banh Canh Tom Cua
Vietnamese Banh Can Tom Cua is very similar to Khao Piak Sen, which is an Authentic Lao Tapioca Noodle. The reason is because it shares the same recipe of noodles made from rice flour and tapioca starch, but is different in the soup base that it is made from.
Asian Grocery Store List for Vietnamese Shrimp and Crab Thick Noodle Soup
As usual, I try to list out the items you should get at your local Asian market. I generally only list items when you need to make a special trip, and since you need to for the banh canh noodles, I also listed some other things you might get while you are at your local Asian grocer.
Good Shrimp or Prawns
You can often buy big shrimp at a lower price than those of most western markets. Just beware that the shrimp may include the heads of the shrimp.
I use canned crab meat. See below for a photo of the canned meat I use. This allows you to not have to worry about buying crab, then cracking the crab, and cleaning up the mess. Canned crab meat is the magical ingredient for making this recipe easy to make.
Premade Banh Canh Noodles
There are a ton of different brands of premade banh canh noodles and they are usually found in the refrigerated section of the grocery store. The differences in the noodles when cooked are the texture and the chewiness. The noodles that are glassier in physical appearance are often less chewy than the more opaque white ones. I prefer the latter.
Fish Sauce (Squid Brand)
Fish sauce that I recommend getting is the squid brand, as it is not too strong and intense of a flavor.
Annatto Oil provides that orange hue to soup you normally see (similar to that of Bun Bo Hue).
Fresh Herbs and Vegetables
In most Asian grocers, the fresh vegetable aisles will have lots of leafy greens. I would recommend cilantro, Thai basil, green onions, and mung bean sprouts for this dish.
About This Recipe for Banh Canh Tom Cua
My recipe for Banh Canh Tom Cua makes it really simple and easy to make right at home. This recipe uses canned crab meat and chicken broth.
While it is a cheater recipe in place of authentic Banh Canh Tom Cua that is normally made from a pork broth, it is still just every bit as delicious. These shortcuts are well worth having a bowl on a busy weeknight.
This recipe also expects you to have left overs. So you'll have a pot for the broth, and when you are ready to cook for meals later, you scoop the broth into a separate pot and cook the noodles in it for freshness instead of having to remake the broth again.
Tips and Tricks Before Making Vietnamese Banh Canh Shrimp and Crab Noodle Soup
I would recommend creating the balls of shrimp and crab meat right before dunking them into the simmering chicken broth.
When serving, you might serve with fish sauce, black pepper, and additional crispy onions so others can personalize the dish to suit their tastes.
How to Make Authentic Vietnamese Banh Canh Tom Cua
Ingredients for Vietnamese Shrimp and Crab Thick Noodle Recipe
- 16 ounces of lump crab meat
- 2 pounds of shrimp or prawns, ground
- ½ tablespoons of sugar
- 1 teaspoon of ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon of fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon of paprika
- 2 32 oz boxes of chicken broth
- 3 medium shallots, minced
- 2 bags of premade banh canh noodles
- fish sauce, to taste
- black pepper, to taste
- annatto oil
- crispy onion
- fresh herbs like cilantro, green onion, and Thai basil
Instructions for Making Banh Canh Tom Cua
In a large bowl, mix together the crab meat and ground shrimp.
Add in sugar, ground black pepper, and fish sauce. Incorporate well. Set aside.
Prepare the noodles according to packaging instructions. Set aside.
To make the soup broth, heat up vegetable oil. Add in paprika and stir for 30 seconds to bring out the flavor.
Next, pour chicken stock into a medium soup pot. Add in water to ¾ from the top of the pot. Bring it to a boil.
Bring the bowl of crab and shrimp mixture next to the pot. Using your fingers, creating small, loose meatballs. Slowly drop them into the soup broth.
Allow the meat to cook for five minutes and come to a boil. Turn off the stove.
With a new pot, move enough broth for the serving along with the crab meat.
Next, add in the precooked noodles. The noodles will be ready when they float to the top (3 minutes) and thicken the soup broth.
Ladle into a bowl.
Personalize to taste with fish sauce, black pepper, and annatto oil.
Top with crispy onion, cilantro, green onion, and Thai basil.
Preserving Vietnamese Crab and Shrimp Thick Noodle Soup
Homemade banh canh noodles are best if eaten within a week of being made. To reheat, just add into the banh canh broth after being brought to a boil.
Frequently Asked Questions About Banh Canh Tom Cua
Can I make Banh Canh Tom Cua without making noodles from scratch?
The cooking time for Banh Canh Tom Cua can be shortened by using canned crab meat, chicken broth, and premade tapioca noodles (or even udon noodles as a substitute).
What's the best crab to use for Banh Canh Tom Cua?
Any crab will work for this recipe, but mud crab is often used. Male crabs have more meat whereas female crabs provide the orange color. I often use canned crab meat for this recipe to make it easier to cook on a weeknight.
Can I substitute with imitation crab meat for Banh Canh Tom Cua?
Substituting imitation crab meat for Banh Canh Tom Cua is not recommended as the flavor of real crab meat is the foundation of the soup base.
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Summary About Banh Can Tom Cua Recipe
This bowl of hearty Banh Canh Tom Cua has an explosion of flavor with a springy tapioca noodle that everyone generally loves. For a non-seafood version, check out my other banh canh recipe that makes the tapioca noodles from scratch. This is a delicious soup that you can make on any weeknight. If you are a fan of seafood, having the crab and the shrimp in this dish is absolutely divine. I absolutely love it for cooking!
Try These Other Delicious Vietnamese Soups You'll Love!
Here are some additional authentic and delicious Vietnamese recipes that you will love:
- Vietnamese Bun Bo Hue – Spicy Noodle Soup
- Authentic Vietnamese Pho Broth
- Vietnamese Banh Canh Recipe with Homemade Tapioca Noodles
- Vietnamese Stuffed Bitter Melon Soup Recipe
- Vietnamese Canh Bap Cai Recipe
Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 274Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 347mgSodium: 2988mgCarbohydrates: 16gFiber: 1gSugar: 4gProtein: 42g