Banh Xeo

“Banh xeo” is Vietnamese style crepe with whole shrimp, thinly sliced pork and bean sprouts. “Banh xeo” is a popular street snack in Vietnam, especially in the Central and the South of Viet Nam. The name means “sound crepe,” the “ xeo” being an onomatopoeic word for the sound of the cooking process when it hits the hot skillet.

banhxeo1“Banh xeo” is eaten hot in the cold season. Walking along this street, people cannot help hearing the joyful sound of the cooking and the flavor of this dish coming out of the restaurant kitchens, which makes it hard to resist the temptation of walking into one of the restaurants along the street to enjoy this delicious banh xeo.

“Banh xeo” made from this cooker is very crispy and tasty. These are some pale yellow spicy Vietnamese style crepes. banhxeo2One piece on the bottom, and another on top encase what is usually a salad consisting of bean sprouts, prawns, boiled pork, taro and carrot. Drench it in fish sauce, and you have a deliciously messy slice of fine pleasure. The dish is round, and you cut it into slices, like a pizza, so it resembles a triangle on the main platter, but usually by the time it arrives on your plate, it could resemble anything.

banhxeo3The mixture necessary for making “banh xeo” is a liquid made of rice flour, soy bean and sliced spring onion. Some restaurants add the first extract of coconut to the mixture and color it with turmeric flour. It is said that some restaurants add beer to the mixture, which was neither denied nor agreed upon by the restaurant directors. The secret to extra-thin crepes is a deep frying pan and a quick wrist to coat the frying pan with the batter before it starts to set.

Banh xeo recipe…

Crepe Batterbanhxeo4

•    Rice flour — 1 cup
•    Sugar — 1/2 teaspoon
•    Salt — 1/2 teaspoon
•    Turmeric — 1/4 teaspoon
•    Coconut milk — 1 cup
•    Water — about 1/2 cup

banhxeo5Filling

•    Oil — 2-3 tablespoons
•    Shallots or scallions, spring onion, minced – 2-3 tablespoons
•    Garlic, minced – 2-3 cloves
•    Shrimp, peeled and deveined – 3/4 pound
•    Fish sauce – 2-3 tablespoons
•    Salt — to taste
•    Mung bean sprouts — 1 pound

Salad

•    Green leaf or romaine lettuce, cleaned and separated into individual leaves — 1 head
•    Cilantro — 1 bunch
•    Mint — 1 bunch
•    Nuoc cham dipping sauce — 1 recipe

Method

1. In a large bowl, mix together the rice flour, sugar, salt and turmeric, then slowly beat in enough water to make a thin crepe batter. Set aside to rest while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

2. Heat the oil in a sauté pan over medium-high flame and add shallots or scallions and garlic. Sauté for 1-2 minutes without browning. Add the shrimp and sauté for another 3-4 minutes until the shrimp is cooked through. Add the fish sauce and salt to season. Remove shrimp to a bowl and set aside.

3. Wipe out the sauté pan and reheat over medium flame. Add a small amount of oil. Stir the crepe batter well and pour 1/2 cup batter into the sauté pan. Swirl the pan to coat the bottom. Lay 3 or 4 of the cooked shrimp over one half of the crepe and then sprinkle a small handful of sprouts over the shrimp. When the the middle of the crepe looks cooked through and the edges of the crepe begin to brown, fold the crepe over to cover the filling and side onto a plate. Hold in a warm oven as you finish the rest of the crepes.

4. To serve the crepes, arrange the lettuce and herbs on a large platter. Give each diner guest his own individual crepe with a small bowl of nuoc cham dipping sauce. Each person takes a leaf of lettuce, breaks off a piece of crepe and places it in the leaf along with a few sprigs of the herbs. The leaf is then rolled up, dipped in the sauce and eaten.

Variations

•   Pork Banh Xeo: Substitute half of the shrimp with pork loin or pork belly cut in thin strips. Sauté the shallots and garlic first, then add the pork to cook through, and finally add the shrimp

•   Vegetarian Banh Xeo: Substitute fried, shredded tofu for the shrimp to make a vegetarian version. Add a variety of mushrooms to give a meaty flavor. Use soy sauce instead of fish sauce.

•    Banh Xeo with Egg: Beat 4-5 eggs and pour a little over each crepe after you add the batter to the skillet, but before you add the fillings. Cover the pan for about a minute to let the egg set, then continue with the filling ingredients.

Add 1-2 chopped scallions to the crepe batter.

Sauté some sliced mushrooms with the rest of the filling.

Include some peeled, seeded and thinly sliced cucumber or julienne carrot with the rest of the salad ingredients if you like

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