My mom used to make a simple soup of just boiled tuna fillets and rice vermicelli noodles. Best enjoyed when we've visited the Oregon Coast and can buy fresh tuna right off the fishing boats. I had nearly forgotten about this fish noodle soup until I saw it on the menu at Quan Mien Trung Vietnamese Cuisine - Rosemead. You can add fish patties and fish balls like the restaurant version if you'd like.
I kept my version of Bun Ca Ngu (Vietnamese Tuna Rice Vermicelli Noodle Soup) fairly basic with a focus on the tuna. Made a broth with chicken bones and added the tuna steaks near the end so they didn't overcook. If you can't find any fresh tuna, I think king mackerel would also work well. You want a meaty and firm fish, something that will remain intact while simmering. The pineapples help to offset the fishiness. Some tomatoes would work too if you have any on hand. Top with a sprinkle of cilantro, green onions, or Vietnamese coriander.
Bun Ca Ngu (Vietnamese Tuna Rice Vermicelli Noodle Soup)
For 2 to 4 servings, you'll need:
2 tuna fillets
1/2 cup pineapple, chopped
1 tsp salt
1 tblsp Nuoc Mam (Vietnamese Fish Sauce)
1/2 to 1 lb rice vermicelli noodles, boiled and drained
Cilantro, green onions, or rau ram (Vietnamese coriander) as garnish
Nuoc Mam Cham (Vietnamese Fish Dipping Sauce)
Optional: Make broth with chicken bones and the tuna fillets. Add a large diced tomato if you wish.
I made a simple broth with just the fish fillets. But ideally, if you have time and want to make a more nuanced soup, fill a 5-quart pot with some chicken bones, a large onion, a large tomato, 1/2 cup pineapple, 1 tsp salt, and 1 tblsp fish sauce. Let simmer on medium-low heat for about 20 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Remove the chicken bones and add the tuna fillets and cook for another 10 minutes or until the fish is done.
Boil the rice vermicelli noodles and drain. Chop some extra pineapple for garnish if you wish. Chop the greens for garnish.
To serve, add the noodles to the bowl and spoon the tuna and broth over the noodles. Add fish balls or fish paste patties if you wish. Add some pineapples and greens to garnish. Serve with a bowl of fish dipping sauce for the tuna.
Other Vietnamese noodle soups:
Bun Bo Hue (Vietnamese Hue-Style Beef Noodle Soup)
Bun Mang Ga Tay (Vietnamese Rice Vermicelli Noodle Soup with Bamboo Shoots and Turkey)
Bun Nuoc Leo Soc Trang (Vietnamese Rice Vermicelli Noodle Soup in Savory Broth with Fish, Roast Pork, and Shrimp)
Bun Rieu Cua Tom Oc (Vietnamese Crab and Shrimp Rice Vermicelli Noodle Soup with Snails)
Bun Thang (Vietnamese Rice Vermicelli Noodle Soup with Chicken, Egg, and Pork)
Mi Ga Tay Tiem (Vietnamese Egg Noodle Soup with Chinese 5-Spice Turkey)
Mi Hoanh Thanh (Vietnamese Wonton Noodle Soup)
Mi Vit Tiem Chay (Vietnamese Vegetarian "Duck" Chinese Five-Spice Egg Noodle Soup)
Pho Bo (Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup)
Pho Ga (Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup)
1 year ago today, Tiffany Rose.
2 years ago today, lil' sis's 21st birthday bash.
3 years ago today, revisiting Mission 261 - San Gabriel and Pinkberry - Rancho Cucamonga.