Saturday, November 8, 2014

Banh Xeo: Vietnamese savory crepe

Banh Xeo, which literally translates to sizzling cake, is a savory Vietnamese crepe-like meal.  It's one of my favorite southern Vietnamese dishes.  It's made by using a batter of rice flour, tumeric, and water and stuffed with pretty much anything (shrimp, bean sprouts, pork belly).  There is also a similar dish, called banh khoai, which hails from the central region of Vietnam.  I actually prefer banh khoai, because it's cruchier and smaller but my mom is from the southern region so I'm a little more familiar with banh xeo.  

Like pretty much every Vietnamese dish, it's eaten by wrapping some banh xeo in lettuce and herbs (basil and/or mint) and dipping it in dipping fish sauce, nuac cham.  

This was my first attempt at making it, and I don't think it came out as I'd like.  The batter was way too watery, and I didn't get a good enough fry on it.  I did use a shortcut, and used a pre-made batter mixture from the Asian grocery store.  Live and learn and try again!

Ingredients
  • Banh xeo mix, see picture below
  • 1/2 lb peeled, deveined shrimp
  • 1/2 lb pork belly, cut in 1" thin strips
  • 2 c. bean sprouts
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • serve with: Boston or red leaf lettuce, mint, basil and nuoc cham
Directions
  1. Prepare the banh xeo batter per directions on bag.
  2. In a large pan over medium-high heat, add 1 tbs vegetable oil.  Saute pork belly until done, about 5-10 minutes.  Remove from pan and set aside.  
  3. Cook shrimp until no longer translucent, about 3 minutes; set aside.
  4. Steam or pan fry bean sprouts.  Combine bean sprouts, pork, shrimp and green onions in a bowl.
  5. Wipe pan clean and add 1 tbs vegetable oil over medium-high heat.
  6. Layer thin coating of banh xeo batter.  Allow batter to get bubbly and crispy.  After 2-5 minutes, add in pork belly, shrimp and bean sprout mixture.  Fold in half and slide onto a plate. 
  7. Serve with lettuce, herbs, and nuoc cham.







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