Vietnam Meat Recipes #4

Shrimp On Crab Legs (Cang Cua Boc Tom)

Serving Size : 10


  • 10 Crab legs or several hard -shell crabs Shrimp paste, prepared as -for Shrimp on Sugar Cane
  • 1/4 c Vegetable oil


  • 1 Clove garlic
  • 1/2 Fresh hot red chili pepper -or 2 dried
  • 2 ts Heaping, granulated sugar
  • 1/8 Fresh lime
  • 2 tb Fish sauce (nuoc mam)
  • 2 1/2 tb Water, more if necessary


Here we have a party dish that will bring out “oohs” and “ahs” from your guests on sight – and a repeat performance on taste.

Crab claws, alone, are sometimes available in fish stores. If they aren’t, boil several hard shell crabs and use the claws; you can use the bodies in many other dishes.

The crab claws in fish stores are already partially peeled and serve not only as a handle but are edible as well. If you prepare your own claws, peel the upper section around which you mold the shrimp paste.

Boil the crab legs or crabs for about 10 minutes, then drain and cool; remove the claws from the crabs, if using, and reserve the bodies for another purpose.

Have the shrimp paste ready; preheat the oven to 350F.

Pour the oil into a bowl. Dip your fingers into the oil and pick up 2 tablespoons of the shrimp paste. Mold it into an oval around and halfway down the crab claw, covering the part of the claw where it was attached to the body; this will leave a claw tip extended to serve as a handle. Place the claws on a baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.

Serve with Nuoc Cham and watercress.

NOTE: In Vietnam, this dish is always barbecued over charcoal. If you wish to prepare it this way, cook for 10 minutes on each side.

NUOC CHAM Directions:

This exciting sauce is almost always served at Vietnamese meals, just a Westerners serve salt and pepper. It’s base is nuoc mam (bottled fish sauce). Freshly prepared, it is a constant delight, and so addictive to Western palettes that it will appear with meals other than Vietnamese. To best appreciate the results of its superb blending qualities at the table, use it sparingly at first, gradually adding more until the result is just right for your palate.

Peel the garlic. Split the chili pepper down the center and remove the seeds and membrane. Cut into pieces and put into a mortar, together with the garlic and sugar. Pound into a paste. Squeeze the lime juice into the paste, then with a small knife remove the pulp from the lime section and add it as well. Mash this mixture and add the fish sauce and water.

NOTE: If you find this a trifle strong at first, dilute it with an additional 1/2 tablespoon of water.

From “The Classic Cuisine of Vietnam“, Bach Ngo and Gloria Zimmerman, Barron’s, 1979.

Pickled Pigs’ Ears (Tai Heo Ngam Chua)


  • 4 qt Water
  • 1 tb Alum
  • 2 c Distilled white vinegar
  • 2 c Granulated sugar
  • 1 t Salt
  • 2 lb Pigs’ ears


Lip-smacking, tangy, chewy, and exotic, these morsels go perfectly with drinks before dinner, and very well without drinks at any time.

Boil 2 quarts of the water with the alum for 5 minutes, then remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Boil the vinegar with the sugar and salt for a few minutes, or until the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from the heat and cool.

Boil the remaining 2 quarts water and drop in the pigs’ ears. Boil for 20 minutes. Remove the pigs’ ears and cut them into lengthwise slices 1/4 inch wide. After the sliced pigs’ ears have cooled, return them to the alum water to soak for 2 hours, then drain and rinse under cold water. Dry lightly.

Place the pigs’ ears in a jar, pressing them down. Pour in enough cooled vinegar mixture to completely cover the contents of the jar. Refrigerate.

NOTE: This can be eaten after 3 day and will keep for several weeks in the refrigerator.

Yields 2 quarts

From “The Classic Cuisine of Vietnam”, Bach Ngo and Gloria Zimmerman, Barron’s, 1979. ISBN 0-8120-5309

Duck With Sugar Cane (Vit Tiem Mia)

Yield: 6 servings


  • 1/2 c Shelled peanuts, red skin -removed
  • 1/2 c Chestnuts, either fresh or -dried
  • 1/2 c Ginkgo nuts, canned or fresh
  • 1/2 c Dried lotus seeds
  • 8 Dried Chinese mushrooms
  • 1/2 c Red dates (jujubes)
  • 1 Duck (about 5 pounds)
  • Salt
  • 1 tb Finely chopped fresh ginger -root
  • 3 Shallots, chopped fine
  • 2 Eighteen-inch pieces of -sugar cane (if unavailable, -omit)
  • Clear water from 1 coconut
  • 1 ts Rock sugar
  • 1 tb Fish sauce
  • 3 Scallions, both green part -and white, cut into 4 -pieces crosswise
  • Black pepper to taste
  • Fresh coriander, chopped


  1. Prepare the various nuts, the lotus seeds, dried mushrooms, and red dates as follows:
  2. Soak the peanuts in hot water for 30 minutes; drain and set aside.
  3. If using dried chestnuts, boil for 20 minutes, drain, and set aside.
  4. If using fresh ginkgo nuts, remove the shell and blanch to remove the thin inner skin; set aside.
  5. Soak the Chinese mushrooms in hot water for 20 minutes, then drain, remove the stems and cut into quarters; set aside.
  6. Boil the dried lotus seeds for 20 minutes; drain and set aside.
  7. Soak the red dates in hot water for 30 minutes. (If they are very dry, boil for 10 minutes.) Drain and set aside.
  8. Rinse and clean the duck.
  9. Rub salt over the duck and rinse off; let dry for 10 minutes.
  10. Combine the ginger, shallots, and 1 teaspoon salt.
  11. Rub the inside of the duck with the mixture.
  12. Combine the peanuts, chest- nuts, ginkgo nuts, lotus seeds, and 1 teaspoon salt and stuff the duck.
  13. Sew the duck closed with heavy white thread, or else use skewers.


Peel the sugar cane and cut into thin lengthwise strips, the same length as the duck. Place 3 pieces of white kitchen string on a flat surface, long enough to tie the slices of sugar cane around the duck, covering the entire surface. Bring the string around and tie as you would a roast. Turn the duck over and slide the remaining strips under the string, covering the entire duck with the sugar cane.

Pour the coconut water into a large pot. Put the duck into the pot and add enough water to completely cover. Add the rock sugar and 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil and remove the scum continuously for 15 minutes, then turn the heat down, cover, and keep at a lively bubble for 2 hours. Turn the duck every 30 minutes.

After 2 hours, remove the duck from the pot; untie and discard the sugar cane. To the liquid remaining in the pot add the mushrooms, red dates, 1 teaspoon salt, and the fish sauce. Boil, covered, for 15 minutes, then remove the duck to the broth, cover, and simmer for an additional 15 minutes. Remove the duck and add the scallion pieces to the broth.

To serve, break the duck, with the bones, into 8 pieces. Put the pieces in individual bowls and add broth, some of the various nuts that were stuffed into the duck, red dates, and mushrooms. Sprinkle with black pepper and chopped fresh coriander.

Green Onion Rice

Serving Size : 4


  • 6 cups cooked rice
  • 1 pound small cooked shrimp or shrimp meat
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped green onions including tops
  • hot chili peppers minced, OPTIONAL
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 cups nuoc cham


In a high-sided nonstick pot or wok, combine the cooked rice, cooked shrimp or shrimp meat, green onions, chile peppers (if desired) and water. Cook over high heat, stirring often to mix well and prevent sticking, until all ingredients are thoroughly heated and most of the water is gone, about 8 minutes.

Turn the heat to high and stir for 1 more minute as the pot gets hotter. Add the nuoc cham and stir rapidly to mix thoroughly. Continue to cook over high heat, stirring constantly, until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and serve.

Vietnamese Braised Pork in Coconut

Take note that this Vietnamese classic pork dish uses coconut juice, not to be confused with coconut milk. Your local Asian market should carry this product. The addition of hard-cooked egg as a garnish is a good way to introduce extra protein.

From “Home Cooking Around The World.”, submitted by Foodcrazee


  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cold water
  • 1 can (14 ounces) coconut juice (See Note)
  • 3 tablespoons Vietnamese fish sauce (nuoc mam)
  • 1 1/2 pounds pork shoulder, with some fat, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 4 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon bl ack pepper
  • 4 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and cut into wedges


In a clay pot or large saucepan, stir together the sugar and water. Over low heat, cook until it’s a golden color, 5 to 10 minutes; watch closely, since as soon as the color begins to change, the sugar mixture can darken very quickly and burn. Remove from heat.

Carefully stir in the coconut juice and fish sauce — there may be a little spattering. Return to very low heat and stir until well blended, scraping up any caramelized pieces stuck to bottom of pan.

Stir in the pork. Then stir in the shallots, ginger and five-spice powder. Simmer, partially covered, until pork is very tender, about 2 hours, stirring from time to time and checking to make sure liquid is not simmering too hard. When done, stir in the pepper.

To serve, bring the clay pot to the table and serve from that, or spoon the stew into bowls. Garnish with the wedges of hard-cooked egg.

Makes 4 servings.

Note: Do not substitute coconut milk.

Serving tip: For a more substantial meal, serve the stew over cooked rice noodles or white rice.
Per serving: 485 calories; 30 g fat (18 g saturated fat; 56 percent calories from fat); 19 g carbohydrates; 306 mg cholesterol; 1,231 mg sodium; 36 g protein; 1.5 g fiber.

From “Home Cooking Around The World.”, submitted by Foodcrazee

Vietnamese Dilled Tomato-Fish Soup (Ca Nau Ca Chua)

This fragrant soup is very light, subtle, and extremely low calorie. Served in large bowl portions, it is an excellent appetite suppressant. Don’t be put off by the fish sauce (nuoc mam or the like)–added to broth it merely acts, like salt, to season the dish. Serve hot to 4-6.


  • 1 Tablespoon peanut oil
  • 1 pound fish fillets, cut in triangle shapes (cod, snapper, perch, or whatever looks fresh)
  • 3 tomatoes, peeled and cut into triangle shapes
  • 1 onion, cut into eighths
  • 2 Tablespoons nuoc mam or other fish sauce
  • 2 quarts water
  • 2 celery stalks, cut into a fine julienne
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh dill, minced
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • Garnish: additional nuoc mam, sprigs of dill, and, for heat, stir in Vietnamese chili-garlic sauce (tuong ot toi Viet Nam).


Heat the oil in a large pot and add fish–saute til lightly browned. Add the tomatoes, onion, and nuoc mam and simmer for 5 minutes. Pour in the water and bring to a boil. Cook at a low boil for 15 minutes.

When ready to serve, stir in the celery, the dill, and the black pepper. Let cook a minute or two then ladle into bowls. Top each with a dill sprig. Serve with extra nuoc mam and with chili-garlic sauce for those who like it hot.

Crab, Shrimp, and White Fungus Soup (Sup Nam Trang)

Don’t be put off by the “white fungus” in this Vietnamese recipe. I wish I could tell you what it is, besides very pretty and vegetable–looking like delicate pieces of reef coral inside their hard plastic gift box ($3.99 for 8 ounces, Peony Mark Brand, which will make LOTS of the soup). In any case, if you can assemble all the ingredients, this is really a lovely soup: white on white, except for the pink of the shrimp and the touches of green garnish–but hot and spicy in some parts, crunchy in others, rich and chewy with the tang of the sea, all brought together under the light orchestration of the fine cilantro garnish. It takes practically no time to prepare. Serve hot to 4 people as a first course.


  • ½ ounce dried white fungus (about ¼ cup), reconstituted in hot water for about 10 minutes (until soft and expanded), then chopped coarsely after cutting away its hard knobs. In a pinch, you can substitute tree ears, but that would shoot the color scheme.
  • 1 teaspoon peanut oil
  • 1 large shallot, sliced thin
  • pinches of white pepper
  • 1 hot chile, seeded and sliced thinly
  • ¼ lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • ¼ lb. cooked crab meat
  • 3 cups vietnamese chicken stock, or regular chicken stock simmered with a 1-inch piece ginger that has been crushed with a blow
  • 1 generous Tablespoon cornstarch, dissolved in 2 Tablespoons water
  • 1 egg white, lightly whisked
  • salt and white pepper to taste
  • Garnish: 1 Tablespoon cilantro, chopped extra fine; serve hot (piquant) chili sauce on the side (preferably the Vietnamese chili-garlic sauce(Tuong ot Toi Viet-Nam, if you can get it).


Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat, then sauté the shallot and white pepper for about a minute. Stir in the shrimp and cook another minute, flipping after 30 seconds. Add the stock, then stir in the crab and fungus. Bring to a simmer, then thicken with the cornstarch liquid, stirring constantly.

When ready to serve, pour in the egg white in a slow, steady stream, stirring slowly to form ribbons. Remove from heat, season with salt and white pepper, and ladle into bowls. At the last minute, sprinkle with the finely minced cilantro–which will open up the flavor of the soup–and put on the table. Pass the chili sauce separately.

Crab and Asparagus Soup (Sup Mang Tay)

Delicate and moony, this is one of those gorgeous Eurasian hybrids that is neither French nor Vietnamese, but something quite in its own category. French colonialists brought asparagus to Vietnam, but couldn’t get it to grow–so they imported cans and cans of it…and the Vietnamese people got hooked. Although the soup is customarily made with canned white asparagus, I prefer fresh–and green is even prettier, to my taste. Serve hot as a first course to 4-6 people. It could be an absolutely sensational start to a perfectly roasted chicken.


  • 1 teaspoon peanut oil
  • ¼ lb. cooked crabmeat, cut into bite-size chunks
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 5 cups Vietnamese chicken stock (or regular chicken stock simmered with a 1-inch piece of smashed ginger)
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch dissolved into 2 Tablespoons water
  • 1 lb. asparagus. If using fresh, cut off the tips, slice each spear lengthwise, then chop into halfmoon shapes
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten
  • Garnish: 1 thinly sliced green onion; 2 Tablespoons cilantro leaves; red wine vinegar


Heat the oil in a large saucepan, then stir in the crab, salt, and pepper and toss for about 1 minute. Pour in the stock and asparagus and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and cook until the asparagus is tender–about 5 minutes or more, depending on the thickness of the pieces. Stir in the cornstarch liquid and allow it to thicken the soup for a minute or so.

When ready to serve, slowly pour the egg white into the simmering soup, stirring slowly to create ribbons. Let these set for a minute, then ladle the soup into bowls and top with the green onion and cilantro leaves. Serve piping hot–and pass the red wine vinegar separately.

Watercressed Shrimp Soup (Canh Sa Lach Soan)

This Vietnamese soup is really lovely to look at–I recommend serving in flat soup bowls for the full effect. In taste, the broth is earthy and sour, with an sea-salt tang, all counterpointed by the sweetness of the shrimp and the peppery crunch of the watercress. In a word, it’s an elegant appetite stimulant. Serve hot to 4 people as a first course.


  • 1 shallot
  • 3 Tablespoons nuoc mam (fish sauce)
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ pound large shrimp (about 12), peeled and deveined, shells reserved for the broth
  • 6 cups Vietnamese chicken stock (or regular chicken stock simmered with a 1-inch piece of smashed ginger root)
  • 1½ bunches watercress, chopped into manageable pieces for eating (it’s traditional to leave whole, but what a mess!)


Pound the shallot into a paste, then mix in the nuoc mam and the pepper. Toss in the shrimp and pound the paste into them–they should stay whole.

Heat the stock in a large saucepan to a boil, then stir in the reserved shrimp shells, reduce to medium heat, and cook for about 8 minutes. Fish out the shells with a strainer spoon.

When ready to serve, reheat the stock to a boil. Add the shrimp and cook for 1 minute. Toss in the watercress, and cook for another minute. Ladle into bowls and serve immediately.


Hot and Sour Fish Soup (Cahn Chua Ca)

Visually beautiful, with red, dark green, and white cut shapes in a tamarind-dark broth; in taste, sour piquant offset by sweet fish and earthy okra–it’s a sensational soup: appetite stimulating and totally, totally satisfying at the same time. Serve piping hot to 6 people as a first course or to 2-3 people as a meal.


  • 1 cup raw rice slowly boiled with about 2 cups of water for 20-30 minutes (pot tightly covered)
  • 1 pound fish fillets or steaks, cut into ¼-inch strips
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon fish sauce (nuoc mam or nam pla)
  • 6 Tablespoons tamarind concentrate dissolved in 6 Tablespoons hot water
  • 5 cups fish stock
  • 1 fresh tomato, skinned, (or 3 canned tomatoes that have been seeded), cut into thin wedges
  • 2 small red bird chilies, thinly sliced
  • 3 Tablespoons fish sauce (nuoc mam or nam pla)
  • 1½ cups okra (fresh or frozen, but let the frozen defrost), sliced into rounds
  • Garnish: 1 cup mung bean sprouts; ¼ cup slightly chopped cilantro; 2 teaspoons hot pepper oil (which you can make by sautéing ¼ teaspoon dried hot peppers in 2 teaspoons of oil); and small lime wedges


Prepare the rice and set aside when done.

In a bowl, mix the scallion, black pepper, and 1 Tablespoon of nuoc mam, then toss in the fish strips and let marinate for 15 minutes.

In another bowl, stir the tamarind concentrate into the hot water and let sit until ready to use.

In a large saucepan, bring the stock to a boil, then stir in the tamarind, the tomato wedges, the sliced chiles, and 3 Tablespoons of nuoc mam. Simmer for 3 minutes, then add the okra and fish. Simmer until the fish is done–about 3 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in the bean sprouts, cilantro, and chile oil. Spoon rice portions equally into the bowls, then ladle the soup over each one and top with the lime wedges.