INDONESIAN RECIPES Part 2 – Crab Noodle Soup

ImageThere are few more evocative sounds in Bali than the sound of spoon on china as the Bakso Boy alerts his customers to his approaching handcart. These homemade contraptions are death traps of gas bottle, open flame and bicycle wheels that valiantly traverse the increasingly congested roads of the island. They stare down lorries and badly driven tourist buses with the courage that only a a deep rooted belief in the afterlife can bring and it’s not unusual to see exploded and burnt out handcarts at the side of the road. Many may think that eating from one of these street vendors comes with a similar degree risk – and you wouldn’t be wrong. But stop them early enough in the day, and provided you’re of a fairly hearty constitution, a hearty bowl of soup of made to order, to your own specifications (with much pointing and use of the phrase ‘tidak pedas’ – not hot) can be enjoyed for a tenth of the price of a Starbucks cappuccino back home.

Hot soup may seem like an odd thing to consume in the tropics, but it is strangely cooling. Not that this was a problem when I made this soup in the British high summer last week.

I used the master stock from cooking the pork belly from the previous recipe and let it down byImage 50% with chicken stock. The paste I added gave it another layer of flavour. Contrasted with the cold crab and cucumber and it was I hope, a tasty yet light interlude in the meal. If you wanted to make it from scratch, get some pork bones from the butcher and make the stock as per the Pork Belly recipe, strain and use that as your base.



Serves 4

  • 400ml master pork stock
  • 400mil light chicken stock
  • 100g white crab meat
  • 10cm piece of cucumber, cubed into 1/2 cm pieces
  • One layer of thread rice noodles from a standard pack

For the paste

  • 1 dried red chili
  • 1 thumb size piece of ginger, roughly chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 3 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp chopped coriander root, if you can get it or a handful of leaves if not
  • 1 tsp belacan or shrimp paste


  1. First make the paste by dry frying the chili until it is blackened. Remove and place in a small blender.
  2. Next dry roast the coriander seeds and add to the blender.
  3. Add the rest of the paste ingredients to the blender and pulse until smooth. Add a little water if you require.
  4. To make the soup, heat the pork and chicken stock in a pan and add a teaspoon of the paste and taste. Add more paste as required until you’re happy with the heat and flavour.
  5. Next add the noodles and heat gently until they are soft.
  6. Using a fork, curl up equal amounts of noodles into each plate.
  7. Place equal quantities of crab and cucumber into the bowls and pour over the soup.
  8. Serve immediately.