This noodle uses Japanese udon noodles. There are many variants of Banh Canh because you can vary endlessly with the broth and meats. Japanese udon noodles are made from wheat flour, Vietnamese noodles are made from tapioca and rice flour. It does not matter whether you use the Japanese or Vietnamese version. Japanese udon noodles have a subtiel acidic flavor.

Banh Canh is based on pork or chicken broth. The broth of pork and chicken can also be combined with a broth of crab and shrimp shells to make Banh Canh Cua (‘udonnoedelsoep with crab’). The shells are first baked with chopped onions and garlic. The different types of fish in Banh Canh are shrimp, Cha ca chien-fishcakes or fish balls (fried or steamed), fresh crab, surimi, etc. Besides the fish, the dish also uses meat from the broth, it can be even pig’s feet. Boiled quail eggs and congealed pig’s blood (huyet) are delicacies that can also be added.

In this recipe, I use pork broth with fish cakes, surimi and scallops. I had the scallops and surimi in the fridge. Just to show that this is also a dish to clean up your freezer. The fish cakes and fish balls you can make yourself or buy ready-made at specialty stores and Asian groceries.

Ingredients

  • udon noodles, according to instructions
  • meat: ready made or self made fish cakes Cha ca chien, surimi and scallops (and/or shrimp)

Pork broth

  • 2 l of water
  • 750 g pork, such as spare ribs
  • 1 onion, peeled
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce

Garnish and sauces

  • spring onion, in rings
  • Vietnamese coriander or cilantro
  • fried onions, homemade or ready-to-eat
  • lemon, cut into wedges
  • Sriracha chili sauce
  • bird’s eye chili or chilli (optional)
  • basic fish dipping sauce Nuoc cham (optional)

Preparation

  1. Make the pork broth and add all the broth ingredients, except for the fish sauce, in the boiling water. Simmer the broth for at least 2 hours.
  2. Cook the udon noodles according to instructions.
  3. If the broth is ready, add the fish cakes, surimi and scallops in the soup. Add the fish sauce to the broth. Taste the soup and add any extra sugar, salt and/or fish sauce.
  4. Put in a large bowl some udon noodles, coriander and spring onion. Pour the boiling soup over the noodles and take some of your favorite braised meat out of the pan.
  5. Garnish with spring onions, fried onions, lemon juice, fish sauce and chili sauce. Dip the meat in the basic fish dipping sauce to taste.