Bún Riêu Chay is a light yet comforting Vietnamese noodle soup with a tomato-infused base, creamy tofu 'crab' blend, and served with fresh herbs. A delicious yet underrated Vietnamese dish.
What is Bún Riêu Chay (Vegan Vietnamese Crab Noodle Soup)?
Bún Riêu Chay is a plant-based version of the traditional Vietnamese Crab Noodle Soup - a popular noodle soup from Northern Vietnam. It has a balance of tangy flavors from the tomato and sweetness from the mushrooms. Moreover, this noodle soup is perfect for the fall and winter months, as it's like a comforting hug in a bowl!
This original dish uses crab blend to make the 'Riêu'. To make it 100% plant-based, we use soft tofu and mix it with annatto oil, salt, and pepper. Use a small strainer to strain out the bean curds, add this to a bowl, and combine with some seasonings.
Why this recipe works
This recipe is:
- Perfect for weeknights or breakfast or lunches on the weekends
- Can be made in batches and the broth will become more flavorful over time
- Has a balance of savory, tangy, and sweet flavors
- Healthy, full of vegetables, fresh herbs
- Flavorful and nourishing
- Versatile and easily accessible ingredients
What you'll need for this recipe
To make this recipe, you'll need:
Fruits & vegetables:
- 1 daikon
- 3 carrots
- 2 apples
- 100g mushrooms of choice (I use a combination of oyster and king oyster mushrooms)
- Scallions (green onions)
- Bean sprouts
- Fresh herbs
- Tofu (I used 300g firm tofu and 100g soft tofu)
- Vegetarian ham (giò chay)
- Rice noodles
Aromatics & seasonings:
- Tamarind paste
- Soy sauce
- Annatto seeds
- Salt and sugar
How to make this recipe
Step 1: Make the stock
First, make the stock by peeling and slicing the carrots and daikon. Cut the apple into similar size pieces and separate the green part of the scallions from the white part. Use the white part of the scallions for the stock and reserve the green part later for garnishing.
Pressure cook the vegetables and fruits with 1.5L water for 30 minutes or on the stovetop for 1 hour.
Step 2: Make the toppings
While the vegetables are being cooked, pat dry and cut the tofu into cubes. Fry the tofu cubes in oil on a non-stick pan until golden on all sides. Remove from heat and set aside.
In the remaining oil on the pan (add more oil if needed - make sure to have at least 3 tablespoon oil remaining), add the annatto seeds. Stir fry the annatto seeds on medium heat.
Turn off the heat and strain off the seeds. Alternatively, you can use pre-made annatto oil.
To make the annatto oil, add 2 tablespoon annatto oil to a pot, cut the tomatoes into cubes, and stir fry in the pot for 5 minutes. Next, add the stock water (straining the fruits & vegetables).
After this, add the mushrooms and bring to a boil. Season the broth with salt, pepper, tamarind paste, and soy sauce. Simmer on low heat for 15-20 minutes while we prepare the remaining ingredients.
Next, we prepare the vegan 'crab' meat (Riêu):
Mash the soft tofu into crumbles with a fork.
Stir fry the tofu crumbles in a pan with the remaining annatto oil, salt, and pepper. Stir fry for about 1-2 minutes. Then transfer to a bowl and press down firmly with a fork or the back of your spatula.
How to serve this Bún Riêu Chay?
Serve the broth and toppings over cooked rice noodles and fresh herbs.
Tamarind paste is made from a sour, dark, sticky fruit that grows in a pod on a tamarind tree. It adds a tangy unique flavor to the broth. If you cannot access it, you can use a mix of rice vinegar (or lime juice) and sugar (1:1 ratio). However, note that the flavor might be slightly different.
Vegetarian ham is optional and adds to the texture. You can leave it out of the dish.
I recommend lettuce, bean sprouts, Thai basil, and perilla leaves. Alternatively, you can also use cilantro or mint.
Of course, feel free to use other mushrooms that you have on hand. Cremini mushrooms, oyster mushroom, shimeji mushrooms work well here.
If you have tried my recipe, please let me know what you think by leaving me a review on this page or tagging me on Instagram @veggieanh. I would love to see your creations!Print