Did you know the French introduced asparagus to the Vietnamese? The Vietnamese word for asparagus is "French bamboo," due to its resemblance to bamboo shoots. This Asparagus Crab Soup is often served at weddings for a first course. Sup mang tay cua has a slightly thick, silky texture and combines the sweet and succulent flavors of crab and beautiful fresh asparagus.
8 cups (64 ounces) chicken stock or prepared broth
1 medium onion, chopped
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
Pinch of salt
2 1/2 pounds (2 bundles) asparagus,trimmed and cut on the diagonal into 1-inch pieces
1/2 pound cooked crab meat, remove any shells or cartilage (you can also use the canned variety)
2 tablespoons corn starch mixed with 4 Tbs. water
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
Chopped cilantro and scallions for garnish
In a large saucepan high heat, combine the chicken stock, onion, fish sauce, white pepper and salt; bring to a rolling boil. Add the asparagus and simmer until the asparagus is cooked but still crisp-tender, about 2 minutes.
Reduce the heat to medium-low. Slowly pour the cornstarch and egg mixture into the stock, stirring constantly to form even threads of cooked egg, about 2 minute.
Add the crab meat and boil until it is warmed through, 2 to 3 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve immediately. Garnish with a pinch of cilantro and scallions.