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Vietnamese Sizzling Crepe - Bánh Xèo

Vietnamese Sizzling Crepe - Bánh Xèo

4-6 Servings (12-15 crepes)

0:20 Prep

0:30 Cook

Moderate - You'll be right

Vietnamese sizzling crepes (Bánh xèo) is my favourite Vietnamese dish to enjoy in summer with family and friends. I am particularly partial to a crispy sizzling crepe filled with juicy prawns, pork, bean sprouts and earthy mung beans, wrapped in lettuce cups with basil, mint, coriander and served with a sweet and zesty Vietnamese fish sauce dipping sauce. But, since moving out of home and gaining independence I found a way to enjoy bánh xèo throughout the year and even on a school night!

Bánh xèo is arguably characterised by it’s light, golden and crispy outer shell. Over decades of research and practise I have finally cracked the code to simplify the bánh xèo batter recipe without compensating for any of it’s unique characteristics, but in turn also reducing preparation time. All you will need is six simple ingredients that you can source from your local supermarket: rice flour, beer, soda water, coconut cream powder, turmeric and salt. Further, through all the research and testing I came to find that when it comes to bánh xèo, split mung beans are a key ingredient in perfecting the fine balance of flavour and texture that is attached with Vietnamese cuisine.

It is definitely debatable to include split mung beans when making bánh xèo; mainly due to their texture and cooking time involved. The perfectly cooked split mung bean should be easily separated, hold its structure when picked up but easily crumble when consumed. Some cooks omit them altogether, and I often question why they’ve done that. Is it because they don’t like mung beans or because they find it difficult or time consuming to prepare?

The beauty of split mung beans is that you can prepare them the night before and store them in the fridge without loss of quality when consuming the following day. For my split mung beans it takes approximately 90 mins in total. I recommend soaking the split mung beans in cold water for an hour, strain well, then add to a small pot with 300ml of cold water, bring it to the boil and continue to boil until most (85%) of the water is evaporated then simmer covered on low for 20 minutes. However, if you’ve forgotten to soak the split mung beans, which I have done on multiple occasions, you can still go ahead and cook bánh xèo without it.

Typically enjoyed on the weekends and in large groups amongst Vietnamese families, this dead simple recipe has been created to allow a family of 4-6 enjoy one of Vietnam’s most popular home-style dishes on a school night! If you haven’t attempted cooking bánh xèo before, this is the ideal recipe to start with to build your confidence. Everything is available at your local supermarket and once you have it down pat you will be doing the family a favour and including it in the rotation to deliver the flavours of bánh xèo regularly on a school night.

Vietnamese Sizzling Crepe - Bánh Xèo
Vietnamese Sizzling Crepe - Bánh Xèo

Ingredients:

Bánh xèo batter

  • 250g rice flour

  • 50g coconut cream powder

  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder

  • 1 teaspoon salt 375ml beer

  • 250 ml soda water/water

  • 2 stalks spring onions finely sliced (optional)



Other:

  • 500g pork belly, thinly sliced

  • 500g prawn cutlets, chopped small

  • 250g split mung beans, soaked and cooked (optional)

  • 2 brown onions sliced

  • 250g bean sprouts

  • 50ml Vegetable oil

  • 100-120g Instant rice paper sheets

  • 1 bunch Vietnamese lettuce

  • 1 bunch mint

  • 1 bunch tia to (perilla leaves)

  • 1 bunch coriander (optional)

Method:

1. Add dry batter ingredients into a large mixing bowl and combine well, then add beer and soda water and whisk well. Add spring onions and place in fridge for 20 minutes to settle.
2. In a large frying pan, add cooking oil and fry off pork belly until well browned, season with a pinch of salt and set aside.
3. In the same fry pan add more cooking oil as required and fry prawns until almost cooked through, season with a pinch salt and set aside

Duncan’s tip
: If you like mung beans in your crepes please see cooking instructions in description.

4. To fry the bánh xèo, heat a large frying pan on high, add 2 teaspoons of oil and cook onions for a minute then add a few pieces each of pork and prawns; moving all ingredients to one half of the pan.
5. Add a small ladle of batter (mix well before use as the rice flour would have settled on the bottom of the bowl) to thinly cover the bottom of the pan, move the batter around by swerving and rotating the pan.
6. Reduce to low-medium heat, on the half of the pan with ingredients add a small handful of bean sprouts. Cook for 1 minute and 30 seconds with lid on then increase to high heat for another minute with the lid off or until the crepe is golden.

Duncan’s tip: Add a couple of tablespoons of oil around the edges of the crepe to ensure a crispy result.

7. Fold the half without ingredients over to create the perfect bánh xèo crepe and remove from the pan and repeat for the next crepe.
8. Serve with instant rice paper sheets, lettuce, mint, basil, coriander and nuoc mam cham (Vietnamese fish sauce dipping sauce).

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