Vietnamese Recipes & Cuisines (Soups)

Crab and Asparagus Soup Recipe

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.

Ingredients : Serves 4

15 ml


2 cloves

15 ml

225 g

450 g

1/4 teaspoon

1/4 teaspoon

1 sprig

1 sprig


For stock


25 g


2 cloves

15 ml


1/4 teaspoon

Vegetable oil

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 steamed

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

Garlic, crushed

Nuoc cham

Black peppercorns

Sea salt, or to taste

Method :
  • 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, until smooth.

  • 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 leaves.

  • 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.

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