In this delicious example of a sup, the
recipe has clearly been adapted form the classic French asparagus veloute
to produce a meatier version that has more texture, and the Vietnamese
stamp of nuoc cham. Generally, jars of asparagus preserved in brine are
used for this recipe, or fresh asparagus that has been steamed until very
soft and tender. It is best to avoid canned asparagus though, because it
tends to have a metallic taste.
Shallots, finely chopped
Garlic, finely chopped
Rice flour or cornflour
Cooked crab meat, chopped into small pieces
Preserved asparagus, finely chopped or fresh asparagus, trimmed and
Salt, or to taste
Ground black pepper, or to taste
Basil leaves, for garnishing
Coriander leaves, for garnishing
Meaty chicken carcass
Dried shrimp, soaked in water for 30 minutes, rinsed and drained
Onions , peeled and quartered
Sea salt, or to taste
To make the stock, put the chicken carcass
into a deep pan. Add all the other stock ingredients, except the salt,
and pour in 2 liters of water. Bring the water to the boil, and boil for
a few minutes, skim off any foam, then reduce the heat and simmer gently
with the lid on for stock.
Skim off any fat, season with salt, then
strain the stock and measure out roughly 1.5 liters.
Heat the oil in a deep pan or wok. Stir in
the shallots and garlic, until they begin to color. Remove from the
heat, stir in the flour, and then pour in the stock. Put the pan back
over the heat and bring the liquid to the boil, stirring constantly,
Add the crab meat and asparagus, reduce
the heat and leave to simmer for 15-20 minutes.
Season to taste with salt and pepper, then
ladle the soup into bowls, garnish with fresh basil and coriander
Serve with a splash of nuoc cham.
Soup by the sea
In households close to the sea, where
large crabs - some as large as 60 cm in diameter - can be found in
abundance, this soup may be made using a very generous quantity of fresh
crab. If you have a good supply of fresh crabs, you can increase the
quantity of crab meat as much as you like, to make a soup that is very
rich and filling.