Vietnamese Crispy Pancake, Bánh Xèo
Back around Christmas I went to Vietnam, and while I was there I took a cooking class in Hoi An. I’ve spent the last 7 months trying to recreate the Bánh Xèo we made, and finally, finally, nailed it. This is the recipe from the cooking class and if you follow the instructions it’s not too hard to make.
- 2 cups of rice flour (note: do not get rice flour from some frou-frou organic supermarket, get it from an Asian grocery store. I don’t know the difference, but I can promise you it won’t work the other way around)
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1.5 cups of water
- 3/4 cup canned coconut milk
- 3 green onions, thinly sliced
Whisk and let set for 30 minutes.
Ingredients (dipping sauce):
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup good quality fish sauce
- 4 tbsp lime juice
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1 garlic clove
- 1-2 small red chilis
Mash the garlic and chili in a mortar and pestle, then mix with the remaining ingredients. Adjust sweet, sour, and salty to taste.
Ingredients (finishing the rest!):
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1/4 lb pork shoulder, in thin slices
- 1/4 lb small shrimp, peeled, deveined, and sliced in half lengthwise
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 cups bean sprouts
- A few big lettuce leaves
- A few sheets of square rice paper
- 2 cups of fresh herbs (mint, Thai or Vietnamese basil, cilantro, basil)
Heat up a 10 inch non-stick pan on high. Add 1 tbsp of oil and a couple pieces of pork and shrimp. Cook halfway before adding 1/2 cup of batter (batter should be a bit runny), moving the panning to cover it. Add some bean spouts on half. Drizzle another tablespoon of oil around the outside lip of the batter, turn heat to medium and cover for 1 minute. Remove cover and continue cooking. You think it’s done? Keep going. It needs to almost burn and takes about 4 times as long as you think.
When it’s actually done, it will be pretty brown on the bottom. Toss in some herbs and fold in half using a silicon spatula or chopsticks if you’re really handy. A hard spatula will break it, just be gentle and patient.
Wrap in lettuce and rice paper, and eat with dipping sauce.