Squid bamboo soup from Vietnam
Bamboo is a popular ingredient in traditional Vietnamese cuisine, especially during the year-end meal on the 30th day of the last lunar month of the year. One of the most famous and delicious bamboo soups is the squid bamboo soup from Bát Tràng village, an ancient ceramics village near Hanoi.
The two main ingredients of the soup are dried squid and dried bamboo, both of which need to be thinly sliced like silk thread. In sunny weather, visiting Bát Tràng village to see the golden trays of bamboo and squid silks is a sight to behold.
Preparing the bamboo
To prepare the bamboo, premium dried bamboo shoots are typically used, often originating from the mountainous regions of Northwest Vietnam, and are readily available in local markets. The dried bamboo is soaked for two hours, sliced into thin strips, and then further torn into threads before being dried completely on a tray. The bamboo threads are then boiled in water, and after seven times of boiling and changing the water, they are ready for cooking.
For the squid, large ones are recommended, such as big-fin reef squid or broad squid (Sepioteuthis lessoniana). The squid bought from the local market is typically dried squid, which is washed with warm water, alcohol, and ginger before being grilled until it smells good. The grilled squid is then flattened with a wooden pestle or hammer, torn into threads, and fried with lard until it becomes slightly tough again.
Cooking squid bamboo soup
To prepare the soup, peeled shrimps, pork sternum, premium handmade fish sauce, and cooking water are necessary. The pork sternum is cooked for six hours on low heat, then removed, and peeled shrimps are added to the pot for an additional two hours of slow cooking. After water has reduced by half, the soup is ready.
To fry the bamboo and squid, the ready bamboo threads are placed in a pan with lard and an equal volume of soup, then cooked on low heat until the water has dried out. See this video here.
The fried squid (in an equal volume to the bamboo) is added and stirred together. The mixture is flavored with handmade premium fish sauce, a bit of salt, and some sugar to enhance the flavor.
Instant soup from natural ingredients
Finally, the soup is placed into small boxes (180-200 grams per box) and frozen for regular use. To serve, boil 500-700 ml of water, add 180-200 grams of bamboo squid, stir, and cook until boiling again. Serve the soup with coriander and green onion for added flavor.
Enjoy your delicious Kungfu soup!
Lessons learned from squid bamboo soup
- Squid bamboo soup is a specialty of Bat Trang village near Hanoi.
- Dried squid and dried bamboo together result in a delicious taste.
- Both main ingredients have to be prepared separately and combined in a stock soup.
- This soup is often used as an instant soup for later use.