Managed to catch up on the last day for AFF Indochina. I guess among all parts of Asia, Indochina’s food didn’t have much appeal for me accept for the Vietnamese Banh Mi (baguette sandwich), Bun Thit Nuong (Grilled Pork Vermicelli) and Banh Xeo. I came across these 3 when I was studying in Sydney. Well I must say that I have widen my palate and food knowledge when I was in Sydney because it was so culturally vivid with so many towns of different ethnics living there. So there would be a town, with lots of Vietnamese residence, living and operating food stalls, markets there. I haven’t been to Vietnam yet so that would probably be the closest to original since the shops there are operated by Vietnamese themselves.
Since coming back, I have never had any good Vietnamese food, or maybe I just don’t eat out often enough. I realize with the Vietnamese cuisine, alot of fresh herbs and leaves comes to place. The use of mint, basil leaves and coriander are very much common in alot of dishes. With Banh Xeo, it’s no surprise to wrap them up with raw crunchy bean sprouts, grilled prawns or pork.
I remember having a really crispy Banh Xeo in a Vietnamese Restaurant in Sydney and I’ve always wanted to try to make it. But just never did. Haha. If you want to have a look at my “to-cook” list, I’d take years to complete it.
Banh Xeo, these crispy pancakes have their bright golden yellow hue from a magic ingredient called tumeric, and it’s fragrance from coconut milk. Southern-style bánh xèo contains coconut milk and certain Central regions skip the turmeric powder altogether. They are served wrapped in mustard leaf, lettuce leaves or banh trang wrappers, and stuffed with mint leaves, basil, fish leaf and/or other herbs, and dipped in a sweet and sour diluted fish sauce; Nuoc Cham.
It is relatively easy to whip up, whether for a single person’s meal, or to share. Mine was however not that crispy. It had a crepe like texture with crispy sides. I adapted the recipe from this site.
- 90 (1/2 cup) rice flour
- ¼ tsp ground turmeric
- 120ml coconut milk
- 90ml ice cold water (plus extra if necessary)
- Oil for frying
- 200g of cooked pork or chicken finely sliced
- 100g of cooked medium sized prawns, shells removed
- 100g of bean sprouts
- Freshly sliced chilli
- Mixed herbs including mint and coriander (cilantro)
- Lettuce (optional)
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tbsp line juice
- Chopped chilli to taste
- ½ tsp sugar or to taste
- Small pinch of minced garlic
- Combine all the ingredients for the batter and mix until smooth. Then set aside for about 1 hr until the batter thickens.
- Make the dipping sauce (nuoc cham) by combining all the ingredients and set aside. Season and taste.
- Heat a cast iron pan over high heat and add 1 tsp of oil until sizzling
- Stir the batter and add some batter to the pan, swirling it round to cover the base of the pan.
- Cook until the underside is golden. Flip pancake over for a quick 10 seconds.
- Then decant pancake onto a plate and spoon in various toppings of your choice and fold over and keep the pancake warm.
- Continue frying the batter adding in a tsp of oil for each new pancake till all the batter is gone.
- Serve warm stuffed pancakes with more herbs, a salad and the dipping sauce.