Bánh Đa Cua Recipe

Lastest Updated April 21, 2024
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Vietnamese rice noodle soup (Banh Da Cua) with crab meat is a hearty delicacy with a rich and distinct flavor from minced crab, betel leaf rolls, and fish cakes. In addition to the incredible taste, this dish will mesmerize you with its vivid appearance.

If you’ve tried Southern Vietnamese dishes, such as Bun Mam, and wonder what some iconic recipes of the Northern region taste like, Banh Da Cua is an excellent starting point. Explore this amazing dish today!

Vietnamese Rice Noodle Soup With Crab

What Exactly Is Banh Da Cua?

“Bánh Đa Cua” is the staple in the cuisine of Hai Phong, a province in the Red River Delta area of Northern Vietnam. The essential ingredients in this dish include crab, pork wrapped in betel leaves (“chả lá lốt”), fish cakes, fresh vegetables, and, most importantly, Banh Da noodles.

Unlike other kinds of rice noodles in Vietnamese cuisine, Banh Da noodles have a reddish color that comes from the juice extract of “Gấc”, a unique Vietnamese fruit. Their strands are also wider than that of Pho or Hu Tieu noodles.

For people in Hai Phong, Banh Da Cua is more than just a bowl of noodle soup. It’s the combination of the modern and traditional cooking styles of this province. With its bright colors and remarkable flavor, this delicacy can capture the heart of any foodie.

Tools

This recipe doesn’t ask for any hard-to-find or fancy kitchen tools. However, note that you will need more than one pot.

Fancy Kitchen Tools
  • Large/small pots: You’ll need different pots to cook the pork broth and the crab broth.
  • Pan: For frying the pork fat and shallots and cooking the tomatoes.
  • Knife and chopping board: An irreplaceable pair of cookware for any recipe.
  • Tongs: For transferring the ingredients.
  • Ladle: For spooning the broth out.
  • Slotted spoon: For handling the noodles.
  • Sieve: This tool is especially important as you’ll need it to filter the minced crab.

Ingredients

Don’t be discouraged by the rather long ingredient list. You can find most of them easily on Amazon or in Asian stores.

Main Ingredients

Minced Crab
  • Minced crab: Fresh minced crab will taste the best, but you can also use canned crab. Make sure that the product used hasn’t expired yet.
  • Crab mustard: If you mince your own crab, remember to keep the crab mustard (or tomalley) that you find on the carapace.
  • Bone-in pork ribs: Alternatively, you can opt for pork legs or other pork cuts that you like.
  • Ground pork: For making the betel leaf rolls. Vietnamese people also use beef or a mixture of pork and beef. However, pork is the preferred choice for this recipe.
  • Fish cake: Go for pre-fried fish cakes if you want to save time. Note that they won’t taste as good as the ones you fry at home.
  • Pork fat: For making the fried pork fat. Feel free to omit it if you want to cut down on the fattiness. 
  • Dried shrimp: If you can’t find dried shrimp, dried squid makes for a great substitute.
  • Banh Da noodles: There are two types: red and white. You can use either one, but the red type is the more traditional option. If you can’t find Banh Da noodles, you can use rice noodles instead.

Vegetables:

Vietnamese Water Spinach
  • Vietnamese water spinach: Also known as “morning glory”, a well-loved kind of vegetable in Vietnam.
  • Shallots: For making fried shallots. You’ll also add one whole shallot to the broth.
  • Tomatoes: Add a balanced sweet and tart flavor to the broth. They also lend their beautiful red color to your dish.
  • Betel leaves: These leaves have a distinct flavor and aroma that is somewhat peppery. You’ll use them to marinate the pork and make the leaf-wrapped pork.
  • Wood ear mushrooms: For marinating the pork.
  • Saw leaves, scallions, and cilantro: For sprinkling on top of the noodle soup. You’ll also add the roots of scallions and cilantro to the pork broth.
  • Shredded banana blossom, bean sprouts, peppermint, lime, chili pepper: Fresh vegetables to enjoy together with the noodle soup. 

Spices:

Vietnamese Water Spinach
  • Fish sauce: Use Vietnamese fish sauce for the most authentic taste.
  • Brown sugar, salt, and pepper: Basic seasonings that add sweetness and saltiness. You can adjust the amount used to your liking. 
  • Soup powder: For marinating the meat and seasoning the broth. Look for “Bột Canh” in Asian stores.  
  • Cashew oil: For cooking the crab mustard. I choose this specific kind of oil for its unique color.
  • Olive oil: For frying the fish cakes and betel leaf rolls.

Step-By-Step Directions

Without further ado, here are the detailed instructions for cooking Banh Da Cua. Making this recipe is not the most straightforward process, so make sure that you follow my directions carefully.

Step 1: Prepare The Vegetables

Wash the pork bones and let them dry. Soak the dried wood ear mushrooms in water to soften them. Rinse the dried shrimp and allow them to dry.

Mince the saw leaves, cilantro, and scallions, keeping the roots of the cilantro and scallions for cooking the pork broth. Next, mince the betel leaves and wood ear mushrooms. Thinly slice the shallots.

Cut the tomatoes into quarters. Note that you shouldn’t cut the tomatoes into smaller pieces as they might break apart during cooking.

Prepare The Vegetable

Step 2: Filter The Crab Meat

Put the minced crab into a small pot and prepare about 1.5 quarts (about 1.5 liters) of water. Gradually pour water into the pot and stir the crab meat with your hands (remember to wear food prep gloves). Pour the crab through a sieve into a larger pot to filter out tiny bits of crab shells. Repeat this step a couple of times.

Filter The Crab Meat

Step 3: Marinate The Ground Pork

Add the minced wood ear mushrooms and betel leaves to the ground pork. Season the mixture with 1 teaspoon of brown sugar, 1 teaspoon of pepper, and 1 teaspoon of soup powder. Mix well and let the meat rest for 10 minutes.

Marinate The Ground Pork

Step 4: Cook The Pork Broth

Blanch the pork ribs with 1 teaspoon of salt and scallions for 2 to 3 minutes. Then, transfer the bones to a cold water bath and clean them.

Blanch The Pork Ribs

Next, add about 2.5 quarts of water (about 2.5 liters) to a pot together with 1 shallot and the roots of cilantro and scallions. Simmer for 30 to 45 minutes over medium heat.

Quarts Of Water

Step 5: Cook The Crab Meat

Place the filtered crab pot on the stovetop and add 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. Use chopsticks to lightly stir the crab to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Once boiled, set the heat to low.

After 3 to 5 minutes of cooking over low heat, transfer the crab meat that floats on the surface to a bowl and turn off the stove.

Cook The Crab Meat

Step 6: Make The Betel Leaf Rolls

Spread a betel leaf on a chopping board on its glossy side. Place some ground pork on the leaf’s surface and roll it up carefully. Use the petiole to lock the roll and prevent the meat from falling out. Repeat this step for the remaining leaves and pork.

Make The Betel Leaf Rolls

Pour some olive oil into a heated pan and fry the fish cakes until they turn golden brown on all sides. Transfer the fried fish cakes to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb the oil.

Add the betel leaf rolls into the same pan and fry them for 5 to 10 minutes or until all sides are evenly cooked. Transfer them to another paper towel-lined plate.

Pour Some Olive Oil

Step 7: Fry The Pork Fat

Add the pork fat to a pan and stir for 10 to 15 minutes over medium heat or until the fat turns golden and crispy. Set aside.

Fry The Pork Fat

In the same pan, add the sliced shallots and stir until they turn light yellow. Set aside.

Add The Sliced Shallots And Stir

Step 8: Make The Crab Broth

Add the tomatoes to the same pan and stir lightly. Then, add the dried shrimp and continue stirring for 2 to 3 minutes. Pour the tomatoes and shrimp mixture into the pot that you used to cook the crab and simmer it over low heat.

Make The Crab Broth

Next, pour cashew oil into a heated pan and add the crab mustard. Stir lightly for 3 to 5 minutes on low heat. Then, add the crab mustard to the crab broth pot and simmer over low heat.

Season the broth with 1 tablespoon of fish sauce, 3 teaspoons of soup powder, and 1 teaspoon of brown sugar. Feel free to adjust the amount to your taste.

Tablespoon Of Fish Sauce

Pour in the pork broth and keep on simmering over low heat to keep the stock heated.

Pour In The Pork Broth

Step 9: Time To Serve!

Blanch the water spinach briefly and transfer it to a cold bath to maintain its crispiness and color.

Rinse the noodles about 10 minutes in advance. Then, blanch them in boiled water for 30 seconds.

Rinse The Noodles

Add the noodles to a bowl and place the fish cakes, betel leaf rolls, crab meat, and pork ribs on top of them. Pour in the broth and drizzle the noodles with some fried pork fat, fried shallots, scallions, and cilantro. Serve with fresh vegetables on the side.

Rice Noodle Soup With Crab Meat

Don’t Miss These Handy Tips

If you want to improve the flavor of this already-delicious dish, here are some useful tips for you.

  • Besides rinsing the noodles, you can also soak them in cold water for about 3 to 5 minutes before blanching.
  • Feel free to add more fish sauce or freshly squeezed lime juice to your noodle soup for a richer taste. A few slices of chili pepper or some Shacha sauce are great additions if you like a spicier dish.
  • In addition to fresh vegetables, I love enjoying my Banh Da Cua with some bagel twists (Banh quay).
  • For the leftovers, store the noodles and the broth in different containers and keep them in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Experience The Food Culture Of Northern Vietnam

Banh Da Cua is the perfect first step to exploring the amazing cuisine of Northern Vietnam. You can enjoy it as a hearty morning dish, lunch, or dinner. No matter what time of the day, a bowl of Banh Da Cua will never fail you.

If you like this dish, I’m sure that you will also be interested in trying other delicious, simple-to-make recipes that I’ve posted. So don’t hesitate to like and share this recipe for more content like this in the future. Have fun cooking, and see you again soon!

Vietnamese Rice Noodle Soup With Crab Meat Recipe

Vietnamese Rice Noodle Soup With Crab Meat (Bánh Đa Cua)

Vietnamese rice noodle soup with crab meat is a flavorsome and hearty recipe that you’ll no doubt love. Let’s try this recipe and see what the famous Vietnamese cuisine has to offer!
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Breakfast, Main Course, Snack
Cuisine: Vietnamese
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 399kcal

Ingredients

Main ingredients

  • 1.1 pounds (500 grams) of minced crab
  • 0.66 pounds (300 grams) of bone-in pork ribs
  • 0.44 pounds (200 grams) of ground pork
  • 0.22 pounds (100 grams) fish cake
  • 0.22 pounds (100 grams) of pork fat, sliced into small cubes
  • 1 ounce (30 grams) dried shrimp
  • 1.1 pounds (500 grams) Banh Da noodles
  • Crab mustard

Vegetables:

  • 0.66 pounds (300 grams) of water spinach
  • 1.1 pounds (500 grams) or 5 medium tomatoes
  • 1 ounce (30 grams) shallots
  • 0.7 ounces (20 grams) of betel leaves
  • 0.7 ounces (20 grams) of saw leaves, scallions, cilantro
  • 0.22 pounds (100 grams) of shredded banana blossom
  • 0.44 pounds (200 grams) of bean sprouts
  • 20 dried wood ear mushrooms
  • Peppermint, lemon, chili pepper, etc.

Spices:

  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 teaspoons soup powder
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 teaspoons cashew oil
  • Olive oil

Instructions 

  • Wash the pork bones and let them dry.
  • Soak the dried wood ear mushrooms in water to soften them.
  • Rinse the dried shrimp and allow them to dry.
  • Mince the saw leaves, cilantro, and scallions, keeping the roots of the cilantro and scallions.
  • Next, mince the betel leaves and wood ear mushrooms.
  • Thinly slice the shallots.
  • Cut the tomatoes into quarters.
    Prepare The Vegetable
  • Put the minced crab into a small pot.
  • Gradually pour water into the pot and stir the crab with your hands.
  • Pour the crab through a sieve into a larger pot to filter out tiny bits of crab shells. Repeat this step a couple of times.
    Filter The Crab Meat
  • Add the minced wood ear mushrooms and betel leaves to the ground pork.
  • Season the mixture with pepper, soup powder, and brown sugar. Mix well and let the meat rest for 10 minutes.
    Marinate The Ground Pork
  • Blanch the pork ribs with salt and scallions for 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the bones to a cold water bath and clean them.
    Blanch The Pork Ribs
  • Next, add water to a pot together with 1 shallot and the roots of cilantro and scallions. Simmer for 30 to 45 minutes over medium heat.
    Quarts Of Water
  • Set the filtered crab pot on the stovetop and season it with salt. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat.
  • Use a chopstick to lightly stir the crab to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Once boiled, set the heat to low.
  • After 3 to 5 minutes of cooking over low heat, transfer the crab meat that floats on the surface to a bowl and turn off the stove.
    Cook The Crab Meat
  • Spread a betel leaf on a chopping board on its glossy side.
  • Place some ground pork on the leaf’s surface and roll it up carefully. Use the petiole to lock the roll.
  • Repeat this step for the remaining leaves and pork.
    Make The Betel Leaf Rolls
  • Pour some olive oil into a heated pan and fry the fish cakes until they turn golden brown on all sides. Put them onto paper towels to absorb the oil.
  • Add the betel leaf rolls into the same pan and fry them for 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer them to another paper towel-lined plate.
    Pour Some Olive Oil
  • Add the pork fat into a pan and stir for 10 to 15 minutes over medium heat. Set aside.
    Fry The Pork Fat
  • In the same pan, add the sliced shallots and stir until they turn light yellow.
    Add The Sliced Shallots And Stir
  • Add the tomatoes to the same pan and stir lightly. Then, add the dried shrimp and continue stirring for 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Pour the tomatoes and shrimp mixture into the pot that you used to cook the crab and simmer it over low heat.
    Make The Crab Broth
  • Next, pour cashew oil into a heated pan and stir in the crab mustard. Stir lightly for 3 to 5 minutes on low heat.
  • Add the crab mustard to the crab broth pot and simmer over low heat. Season the broth with fish sauce, soup powder, and brown sugar.
    Tablespoon Of Fish Sauce
  • Pour in the pork broth and keep on simmering over low heat to keep the stock heated.
    Pour In The Pork Broth
  • Blanch the water spinach briefly and transfer it to a cold bath.
  • Rinse the noodles about 10 minutes in advance. Then, blanch them in boiled water for 30 seconds.
    Rinse The Noodles
  • Arrange the noodle soup and enjoy it with fresh vegetables on the side.
    Rice Noodle Soup With Crab Meat

Video

Notes

  • The total cooking time is based on 4 servings.
  • Besides rinsing the noodles, you can also soak them in cold water for about 3 to 5 minutes before blanching.
  • Add more fish sauce or freshly squeezed lime juice to your noodle soup for a richer taste.
  • Add some chili peppers or Shacha sauce if you like it spicy.
  • Bagel twists (Banh quay) are another excellent side dish for Banh Da Cua.
  • For the leftovers, store the noodles and the broth in different containers and keep them in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Nutrition

Calories: 399kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 133mg | Sodium: 1503mg | Potassium: 728mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 2926IU | Vitamin C: 38mg | Calcium: 104mg | Iron: 10mg
Richie

Richie

Content Writer

Expertise

Home Cooking, Meal Planning, Food Styling, Food Photography, Cooking-video Maker, Beverage Evaluation Expert

Education

Saigon Culinary Arts Centre, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

  • Program: Diploma in Culinary Arts
  • Focus: Vietnamese and Asian cuisines with intensive training and hands-on approach.

Vietnam Australia Vocational School (VAAC), Hanoi, Vietnam

  • Program: Bartender
  • Focus: Basic knowledge on how to store, preserve and select ingredients, and practice cocktails, mocktails, hot and cold drinks.

Richie, based in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, is a dynamic Content Writer with a talent for capturing the essence of culinary art.

Richie specializes in creating visually appealing and tasty content, offering a new angle on Vietnamese and other culinary traditions. With a background in graphic design and a love for food styling and photography, he expertly combines beauty with food narratives, encouraging his audience to discover the culinary world through his imaginative perspective.

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