Tofu Banh Xeo (Vegetarian Vietnamese Crepe)
Tofu Bánh Xèo is a vegetarian Saigon crepe. It's is a South Vietnamese dish. The exact translation is a "sizzling cake that is deflating". The Bánh Xèo crepe has a rice flour base with coconut milk. It's a lot thicker than the French version but just as delicious. The crepe has an earthy flavor, so It's always a savory dish filled with a lot of vegetables.
I've noticed that a lot of Vietnamese dishes have French influences as a result of years of colonization. The preparations are French, but the ingredients are Vietnamese. For example, the beef fondue, called bò nhúng dấm in Vietnamese, uses a fermented shrimp paste in the sauce.
Prepare this very exotic and healthy meal for your family and friends. You'll have another recipe in your arsenal for Sunday brunches and dinners alike.
Yields: 6 servings1 3/4 cups rice flour
1/4 cup wheat flour
1 to 1 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1 cup water
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp superfine sugar
2 scallions, thinly sliced into rings
2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp black peppercorns, freshly ground
1/2 tsp curry powder
8 Tbs canola oil
1 cup dried mung beans
1 block tofu, firm
1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 pack enoki mushrooms, cut in half
2 cups shitake mushrooms, sliced
4 cups fresh bean sprouts
1 Persian cucumber , sliced
1/2 bunch fresh Thai basil
1/2 bunch fresh Asian mint
3 Tbs pickled garlic
6 dipping bowls nước chấm condiment
2 Tbs fresh red bird chili peppers, sliced
In a bowl wash the mung beans thoroughly. Pick out and discard any bad-shaped beans and little stones then soak them for at least 3 hours before cooking. It's best to let the beans soak overnight.
Place the mung beans in a sauce pan, cover with water and bring to a boil, then lower to medium low heat for 20 minutes. The beans should be soft and tender. Set aside.
Cut the piece of tofu into 1/4 to 1/2 inch even slices. Pour the oil in a big pan, add the sliced serrano peppers and cook until they soften. Remove the pepper slices from the pan and set aside in a plate. The reason for cooking the serrano peper first is to provide a nice aroma to the oil. Pan fry the slices until slightly golden. Don't overcook the pieces or they'll start to get hard. Transfer all the tofu to a paper towel and let it cool down.
Cut the pieces of tofu into very thin slices. Set aside on a plate.
In another bowl, whisk the flours together with coconut milk and water. Add the turmeric, sugar, curry and scallions. Season with 1 teaspoon of salt and pepper. The flour should be stirred up well. Make sure there are no lumps. Add 2 tablespoons of oil. Let the batter stand for at least 1 hour in a cool place.
You can keep the batter in the refrigerator up 2-3 days.
In a fry pan or a skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of oil over high heat. Add the slices of onions and shallots, the shredded tofu, the slices of shitake mushrooms and the enoki mushrooms. Stir fry for about 2 -3 minutes. Salt and pepper. Transfer to a plate. Set aside.
Stir the rice flour batter and ladle 1/3 cup of it into the pan. Tilt the pan to distribute the batter evenly. Keep the heat high. Cover when the edges start to dry a little, and cook until the sides of the crepe turn deep brown and curl up, about 3-4 minutes.
Spoon some mung beans and the mushroom mixture and place a few bean sprouts onto the banh xeo. Cover for another couple of minutes. Fold it in half using a wide spatula and slide it onto a warm plate.
Wipe pan clean with a paper towl and repeat the same procedure. Pour a little more oil into the pan before beginning the next crepe.
Serve the banh xeo with a nước chấm sauce on the side. You can eat it wrapped in lettuce filled with basil and mint or just simply plain.
You can make a meat version by adding sauteed shrimp and beef loin.
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. I got it several months ago and it's very useful to make any kind of flour. It's a great complement for gluten allergies as well. I make my own flour with buckwheat, oat, sorghum and spelt.
I absolutely love the Thanh Son tofu brand. If you live in the Bay Area, you have to try it. They sell in almost all the Asian markets in downtown San Jose and their main shop is on 2857 Senter Road, San Jose. It's a very little shop but everything is very good. Their factory makes the best tofu texture. This is the perfect place for vegetarians. I always get 2 to 3 pieces of fresh tofu every week. I also recommend to try their fried mushroom tofu cubes as well. They also serve other foods, it's very authentic.
You can find cans of pickled garlic (which is quite mild) at any Asian stores.
The dipping soy sauce (nước chấm in Vietnamese) is very easy.Published By: on February 15, 2009.