Crabstick Hotpot: Replicate The Restaurant Flavor At Home

Craving a comforting bowl of Vietnamese crab and tomato hotpot (Lẩu riêu cua)? This flavorful dish features a delicate broth infused with crab fat, balanced by the crisp freshness of vegetables. Discover the secrets to crafting an authentic Lẩu riêu cua in the comfort of your own home, perfect for a chilly evening.


Sour crab hotpot, a flavorful dish, offers a sophisticated combination of cartilage ribs, beef shank, and fried tofu, along with the naturally refreshing taste of freshwater crab. This hotpot not only attracts diners with its unique flavor but also contributes to overall well-being. Cooking sour crab hotpot is not overly complicated; however, preparing the ingredients requires meticulousness and effort. Discover the secrets of making hotpot that not everyone knows to confidently prepare this dish for everyone to enjoy.

Benefits of freshwater crab

Freshwater crab is not only a familiar rustic food on the daily meals of many Vietnamese families but is also considered a valuable “medicine”. Crab meat contains a large amount of vitamins, minerals and calcium, in addition to vitamins B1, B2, PP, …

Crab meat is an important source of protein in the daily diet. Freshwater crabs are often used to cook delicious and nutritious soups such as amaranth crab soup, jute crab soup, Malabar spinach crab soup, …

According to traditional medicine, freshwater crab has a salty taste, a fishy smell, and a cool nature. It can disperse blood, strengthen tendons and bones, joints, and is used to treat heatstroke, eliminate toxins, scabies, and blood clots, … However, people should not eat raw crab salad and crab water because it can cause poisoning and lung fluke infection.

Crab meat is an important source of protein in the daily diet

Ingredients for sour crab hotpot

– Freshwater crab: 700g – 1kg

– Cartilage ribs: 500g

– Beef shank: 500g

– Tofu: 5 – 10 pieces

– Tomatoes: 3 fruits

– Vermicelli: 500g

– Sour rice: 50g

– Vinegar: 50g

– Shrimp paste: 30g

– Shallots: 50g

– Vegetables for hotpot: split water spinach, banana flower, young banana stalk, coriander (coriander), green onions, perilla, Vietnamese balm, bean sprouts …

– Spices: seasoning, pepper, sugar, fish sauce

Crab hotpot is a favorite dish of many people

Steps to make

To create the sweet, savory, and distinctive flavor of freshwater crab in the hotpot broth, you need to master the art of preparing it. The process of cooking sour crab hotpot requires many intricate steps due to the use of a variety of ingredients.

The following instructions will guide you through each step, from preparing the ingredients to cooking, presenting, and enjoying the dish. The aim is to help you perfect the flavors and create a delicious hotpot to enjoy.

Step 1: Prepare the cartilage ribs

After buying the cartilage ribs, wash them with diluted saline solution to ensure hygiene. Next, precook the ribs in boiling water to remove impurities and remove the meat’s odor. To add flavor to the dish, marinate the cartilage ribs with a teaspoon of seasoning and chopped shallots, letting them marinate for about 15 minutes. After marinating, put the ribs in a pan and stir-fry briefly with a little cooking oil.

Step 2: Prepare the remaining ingredients

After cleaning the freshwater crab, separate the shell and use a toothpick to extract the crab fat, placing it in a small bowl. Grind or mince the remaining part of the crab, then filter to extract the water.

After cleaning the beef shank, slice it into thin slices. You can put the meat in the freezer for a while to make it firmer, easier to slice. After slicing, marinate the meat with ginger and a little cooking oil.

After peeling, mince the shallots. After peeling and cleaning ginger, slice it into thin strands. After picking and washing the green onions and coriander, chop them finely.

After washing and removing the stems, cut the tomatoes into wedges. After picking off the base and wilted leaves, soak the vegetables to accompany the hotpot in diluted saline solution, then wash them and drain them.

After slicing the tofu into squares, fry it with cooking oil until golden brown.

After filtering the sour rice through a sieve, take a bowl of the supernatant.

Step 3: Proceed to cook sour crab hotpot

Put the cartilage ribs in the pot, add enough water, then boil for about 30 – 45 minutes until the ribs are soft.

Next, put another pot on the stove, pour the crab water in with a teaspoon of salt, and cook over medium heat. Use chopsticks to stir gently until the water starts to boil and the crab fat floats to the top, turn off the heat and remove the crab fat to set aside. Then add a teaspoon of shrimp paste to the pot.

Continue to add tomatoes to the pan and stir-fry with a little shallot to create a fragrant smell, then add the crab fat and stir-fry until cooked.

Finally, put the hotpot on the stove, add the mixture of cartilage ribs and crab fat water and bring to a boil. Next, add the sour rice water, vinegar, and adjust the spices to suit your taste. When the water starts to boil again, add the crab fat, pour the stir-fried crab fat on top along with the fried tofu and chopped green onions and coriander.

Step 4: Presentation and enjoyment

When enjoying, serve the cooked beef shank on a plate. Boil the water in the hotpot until boiling, then dip each piece of beef and fresh vegetables into it, and enjoy with vermicelli.

Crab hotpot creates a special flavor with a broth that smells of vinegar, natural sweetness from fresh and delicious cartilage ribs, and sweet and chewy beef shank

Crab hotpot creates a special flavor with a broth that smells of vinegar, natural sweetness from fresh and delicious cartilage ribs, and sweet and chewy beef shank. Try sipping a bowl of hot and sour hotpot water, sparkling with fat, dipping in water spinach, banana flower, Vietnamese balm, perilla, feeling the crunchy taste when chewing. Add a piece of fried tofu dipped in shrimp paste, you will not be able to stop enjoying it.

Frequently asked questions

Freshwater crab is a good source of vitamins, minerals, calcium, and vitamins B1, B2, and PP. It is also an important source of protein in the daily diet. In traditional medicine, it is believed to have a positive impact on blood dispersion, tendon and bone strength, and the treatment of heatstroke, toxin elimination, and more.

To make sour crab hotpot, you will need freshwater crab (700g-1kg), cartilage ribs (500g), beef shank (500g), tofu (5-10 pieces), tomatoes (3 fruits), vermicelli (500g), sour rice (50g), vinegar (50g), shrimp paste (30g), shallots (50g), various vegetables (such as split water spinach, banana flower, young banana stalk, etc.), and spices (seasoning, pepper, sugar, fish sauce).

The process involves multiple steps, including preparing the cartilage ribs by cleaning and marinating them, stir-frying briefly, and then cooking in a pot with water for 30-45 minutes. Separately, prepare the remaining ingredients, such as cleaning and mincing the crab, slicing the beef shank, and chopping the vegetables. Finally, combine all the ingredients and spices in a hotpot, bringing it to a boil and adjusting the flavors to your taste.

To serve, place the cooked beef shank on a plate and boil the hotpot broth. Dip pieces of beef and fresh vegetables into the boiling broth and enjoy them with vermicelli. The dish offers a unique flavor with a vinegar-scented broth, natural sweetness from the cartilage ribs, and chewy beef shank.
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