Recipe - Vietnamese Pancake - Bánh Xèo
July - September is the rainy season of Saigon. There is nothing like the joy pancakes brings when it is pouring outside. Like many Vietnamese dishes, Bánh Xèo has many regional varieties. While the Southern version is HUGE, think NYC pizza size, the Central version is petite, similar to the traditional fluffy pancakes. The core of the dish remains the same though: cumin rice flour mixture hugging fresh water shrimp, pork, and bean sprout, served with lots of fresh herbs, lettuce, pickled carrot and daikon, and fish sauce vinaigrette.
Easy Peasy Recipes
At Nha Tien, we believe that eating good, balanced and well decorated dishes is essential to one's wellness. This goal, however, should not be far-fetched. Vietnamese dishes are quite easy and fun to make, once you get a hang of basic techniques. What adds the umami flavors to Viet dishes, however, is patience (time). Let it marinate. Make them in advance. Get on with your life. and Voila!
Every now and then, we will be posting recipes that are simple (10 or less ingredients and less than 30 minutes of active cooking time), the longer you let them marinate the better, and can be made in advance (and taste great when reheated).
So let's get to it!
Bánh Xèo - Vietnamese Pancakes
We picked Bánh Xèo as our first dish because this is a recipe that would earn you "wow" whenever it is served. Though looks complicated, it is not that hard. And it is fun to make it because when we make them, we couldn't help but ditching elegance and stuffing ourselves. The combination of crispy pancakes, shrimp, pork, mushrooms, herbs, lettuce, pickled, and fish sauce ... yumm. It is like a music festival in our mouths, with lots of texture and flavors.
Petite size pan (see photo) or any non-stick pans would do
Tongs or Spatulas for folding
Containers for flour mixture
200gr Rice Flour
1 tbsp Cumin Powder (the best cumin powder in Vietnam is from Hoi An Region!)
150gr Pork Shoulder (we love a bit of fats in our pork for tenderness, but any cuts would do)
100gr Shrimp (shelled)
100gr Mushroom, thinly sliced
1-3 Lettuce head & Herbs (Thai Basil, Shiso, etc.)
100gr Pickled Daikon and Carrot
50gr Spring Onion
2 Red peppers (optional)
Salt, pepper, fish sauce
Prep (can be don up to 2 days in advance):
Mix rice flour, cumin powder, 1/2 tsp salt, handful of diced onion with 300ml water. Set aside for at least an hour or overnight. The mixture can be kept up to 3 days in the fridge, when you are ready to make the pancake, pour away the separated top water layer, and replace it with fresh water. The mixture should be runny.
Cut Pork Shoulders, and shrimps to small pieces. Sauté lightly with a pinch of salt. Set a side
Turn the heat on high to get the pan nice and hot. Add 1 tsp of cooking oil
Turn down the heat to low. Pour 2/3 - 1 ladle of the flour mixture, just enough to thinly cover the whole pan. The thinner you can get, the crispier the pancake would be.
Put 2-3 pieces of pork, shrimp and mushroom to one side of the pan
Cover and let it cook for about 45-60 seconds
Remove the cover, fold in half and voila
Served with lettuce, herbs, pickled and fish sauce vinaigrette (mix fish sauce, water, lime juice and sugar to desirable taste)
We are lucky to have lots of banana trees around. so we use them to plate pretty much everything! Line up the lettuce, iron out the herbs, grab some pickled and green mango (optional), and slice up some pepper for colors.
We love getting our fingers dirty as we wrap everything in the big lettuce leave (think lettuce wrap), and dip it in the fish sauce. Yum!!!
Try this recipe out and let us know how it turns out for you!