Coconut crab udon soup recipe

A dish that is 'synonymous with my childhood', says Pham
A dish that is 'synonymous with my childhood', says Diem Pham - Laura Edwards

A rich and creamy soup with bouncy, chewy noodles and wonderful umami hits of crab, this is my quick and easy version of Bánh Canh Cua Nuóc Côt Dùa – a dish so synonymous with my childhood that every time I eat it, I am transported back to my village market with a bowl cupped in my hands. Rather than just a recipe, this feels like I’m sharing the key to my happy place. Hopefully you will try it and join me there.


Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes




  • 500ml chicken stock

  • 400ml coconut milk

  • 2 tbsp cream cheese (I use Philadelphia), optional

  • 200g mixture of brown and white crabmeat

  • 2 chicken stock cubes, crumbled

  • 20g cornflour

  • 2 x 200g packets of ready-to-heat udon noodles

  • 4 spring onions, finely chopped

  • 4 coriander stems, leaves and stems finely chopped

  • 4 Thai basil stems, leaves finely chopped

  • 4 tsp crispy fried shallots (shop-bought or homemade)


  1. Put the chicken stock, coconut milk, 200ml water and the cream cheese (if using) into a saucepan and bring to the boil.

  2. Add the crabmeat, crumbled stock cubes and ½ tsp salt, then lower the heat to medium and cook for 2 minutes.

  3. In a small bowl, mix the cornflour and 40ml water together, then pour into the soup and stir for 10 seconds.

  4. Add the udon and cook for a further 3 minutes until the noodles are soft and bouncy, then add the spring onions and remove from the heat.

  5. Pour into your serving bowls and garnish with the herbs, crispy shallots and a pinch of black pepper.

Recipe from Vietnamese Made Easy by Thuy Diem Pham (£22, Quadrille)

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