Vietnamese Steamed Rice Rolls Banh Cuon

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Banh cuon or Steamed Rice Rolls is a very light crepe often with ground pork, minced wood ear mushroom, and onions and eaten with Vietnamese ham (cha lua), steamed beansprouts, and cucumbers. Another variation arising from a village in Northern Vietnam famous for their banh cuon is called banh cuon “Thanh Tri” a style where the crepe is not rolled but kept in sheets without any filling, and sprinkled with fried onions.

Locally, a maker makes ones that have the wonderful colours of chives and grated vegetables in the rolls. Very nice. Vietnamese banh cuon is different from the rice rolls found at Chinese dim sum, cheong fun, because the banh cuon crepe is extremely thin and delicate and not topped with sweet soy sauce. The reason for this thinness is the process of how it’s made. Banh cuon can be made extremely thin because it’s steamed over a fabric covered pot which can quickly cook the rice flour, keeping it moist and workable. A very thin layer of batter is poured on to the cloth and evenly spread and steams paper thin, and in less than a minute, a flat and flexible bamboo stick is used to lift off the delicate rice crepe.

Batter

VNSteamed2•    1 bag of rice flour (16 oz)
•    1 bag of tapioca flour (14 oz)
•    1 ts salt
•    3 qt of water

Filling

•    1 lb ground pork
•    1 cup Wood Ear mushrooms
(soaked and drained and chopped into small pieces)
•    1 medium onion
•    1 shallot, thinly diced
•    1 tbs fish sauce
•    fresh cracked pepper

Accompaniments

•    Vietnamese ham, Cha Lua
•    Fried Shallots
•    Bean Sprouts (steamed-microwave covered for about a minute)
•    Cucumber (thinly juliened)
•    Nuoc mam cham
•    Cooking oil, brush, large tray

Method

VNSteamed3Step 1: In a large mixing bowl, combine the rice and tapioca flour with water and salt. Mix well.

Step 2: Boil a little water in the bottom of a wok or deep pan. Place the rolls on a plate inside the steamer and cover with the steamer lid. Place the steamer with the rolls into the wok or pan, ensuring it sits over the boiling water. Steam for 5 minutes or until they are warmed through and silky shiny.

Step 3: Steam up the beansprouts in the microwave, and slice up the cha lua, and julien the cucumbers

Step 4:Then make the filling. In a pan on medium high heat, add a small bit of cooking oil and fry the shallots. When shallots begin to turn yellow, add the ground pork and onions. Stir frequently and season with fish sauce. Mixture is done when the pork is no longer pink. Drain any excess liquid/fat and season with pepper and additional fish sauce or salt to taste. Set aside.

VNSteamed4Step 5: Add a small amount of filling into the center of the crepe and spread it out thinly. Then fold over the sides and place in a serving tray. You can make many banh cuon and stack them on top of one another and it won’t stick due to the very lightly oiled surface that you’re working on.

Serve with plenty of steamed bean sprouts and julienned cucumbers, cha lua (Vietnamese ham) and nuoc mam cham on the side.
This video will guide you. Why don’t you try it at home? Click here

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