Banh Xeo Recipe

Banh Xeo Recipe Recipe

The exact translation of bánh xèo is a "sizzling cake that is deflating". The crêpe-shaped dish is made out rice flour, coconut milk and other herbs and spices. It's a lot thicker than the French version but equally delicious.

Bánh xèo is a specialty from Saigon, the region where my "Papa" comes from. When I was young back in France, I remember we would have family gathering every weekend with all my dad's family at Ông nội's (my paternal grandfather's home). Uncle Philippe (Chú mười) would be in charge of the cooking and he would make the most delicious bánh xèos, just like the ones available in the streets of Saigon. And now it's become one of our family's favorites. I try to make them when we have time on weekends and it's always a hit. As usual, I made one veggie version, as well as one filled with grilled meat and shrimp. These are great options, but the filling is really up to you!

Ingredients

Yields: 6 servings

1-3/4 cups rice flour
¼ cup wheat flour
1 to 1-½ cups unsweetened coconut milk
1 cup water (see tips)
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
½ teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon superfine sugar (or granulated sugar)
2 green onions, thinly sliced into rings
1-½ teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons black pepper, freshly ground
½ pound raw medium shrimp, thawed
½ cup canola oil (or any neutral oil)
1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 cup shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1-½ cups grilled chicken (gà nướng), cut into strips
1 cup nuoc mam
3 cups cilantro, Vietnamese mint, shredded cucumber and lettuce, for garnish
4 cups fresh bean sprouts
Sriracha sauce, for garnish (optional)


Directions

Prepping the shrimp: Remove and discard the head of the shrimp if it's still attached. Carefully shell and de-vein the black part of the shrimp using a sharp hook-like paring knife. Make sure to remove the tip of the tail as well, this part is very delicate. Rinse the shrimp under cold running water and pat dry using a paper towel. There should be as little water as possible. Repeat the same procedure for each shrimp. This step is tedious but essential for good results.

Making Vietnamese crêpe batter: In a bowl, whisk the flours together with coconut milk and water. Add the turmeric, sugar, curry and green onions. Season with salt and pepper. Mix well; make sure there are no lump. Add 2 tablespoons of oil. Let the batter stand for at least 1 hour in a cool place.


Assembly time: In a non-stick pan or a skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of oil over high heat.  Add the onions and shiitake mushrooms. Stir fry for about 2 minutes. Add the chicken and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a plate. Set aside.

Make sure the pan in hot. Grease it with about 1 teaspoon of oil using a silicone brush. Add 2 or 3 shrimp and stir fry for about 1 minutes. Stir the crêpe batter and ladle 1/3 cup of it into the pan. Lift the pan and then tilt and rotate it until the batter is evenly spread and forms a nice disk. Keep the heat high. Cover when the edges start to dry a little, reduce the heat and cook until the sides of the bánh xèo turn deep brown and curl up, about 3-4 minutes. Place a little bit of the chicken, mushroom and onion filling, fold the bánh xèo in half using a wide spatula and cover for an additional 1-2 minutes. The filling shouldn't be exposed as more vegetables and bean sprouts will burst from the bánh xèo later. Slide it onto a warm plate. Drizzle with Sriracha sauce (if used) as garnish.

Wipe pan clean with a paper towl and repeat the same procedure until all the ingredients are used.. Pour a little more oil into the pan before beginning the next bánh xèo. Stir the bánh xèo batter as you go for uniform consistency.

When ready to serve, fill the bánh xèo with lettuce, bean sprouts and Vietnamese herbs (served on the side) and drizzle with nước chấm sauce.

Bon appétit!


Tips

You can check out the vegetarian bánh xèo version on the previous link.

The longer you let the batter rest the better. It will still be good after 2-3 days in the refrigerator.

I used water to dilute the banh xeo batter, maman sometimes used to add beer (for the leavening agent).

I used leftover grilled chicken, you could use the meat of your choice.

Some people also like to add pickled carrots and daikon to the filling (we don't).

You can buy rice flour at the stores. I prefer grinding my own though. I know all the nutrients are preserved. I use the Nutrimill brand mill. If you cook a lot, this machine might be very useful to make any kind of flour.

Published By: Jacqueline Pham on March 20, 2011.


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