Food - Vietnam - Banh Xeo

This is probably the best snack ever! Or maybe one of the best. There are different versions of Banh Xeo, depending on where you are in Vietnam. And they are really very different. It can, for instance, be a steamed rice cake with some ground scampi on top, served in small bowls. This banh xeo recipe is a pancake, the very crispy kind that you roll in rice paper. It's sooo creamy yet crispy and the fresh herbs give it a cool twist. A celebration in your mouth? Oh, yes!

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What you need:
  • For the pastry: 
    • 500g rice flour (available at Asian stores)
    • 1 litre of water
    • 1 tablespoon turmeric powder (a yellow powder from the turmeric root. This is mainly for the colour and can be found in the spice section of any grocery store)
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 blanched, whole spring onion
    • 300g peeled prawns
    • 200g pork fillet
    • 3 shallots 
    • 50g spring onion
  • 100g bean sprouts
  • For the finish: 
    • Fresh green herbs: coriander, mint, salad, Thai basil and chopped cucumber (strips)
  • 15 rice sheets, round

How to make it:
  • Mix the flour and turmeric powder and add water. You should get a dough that is very runny, like full cream milk.
  • Finely chop the shrimps, the pork fillet, the shallot and 50g spring onion. Mix and set aside.
  • Mix the dough with the chopped ingredients and 2 eggs (beat them first). Let rest for half an hour.
  • Heat a small saucepan and grease. This can be done by rolling up the blanched spring onion; put it on a skewer and dip it in the oil. The spring onion infuses the oil with a subtle flavour so don’t skip this step!
  • Put the dough into the hot pan. It should form a thin layer, like a pancake.
  • As the pancake fries, add some extra oil to the sides (all around). This forms a very crispy crust.
  • Then you put some bean sprouts on the pancake and you cover the pan so that they can cook a little bit.
  • The pancake is ready when it is super crispy, almost fried.
  • To finish off: Fold the pancake in a rice paper sheet and add some green herbs and cucumber. Roll up into a thick roll.
  • Serve with nuoc cham for dipping (see recipe 'Vietnam - Local mayonnaise)

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