To make authentic Vietnamese pancakes, you will need: rice flour, cornstarch, milk, pork or shrimp, and mung bean sprouts/microgreens (if mung bean sprouts are not available). Additionally, you can add turmeric for a vibrant yellow color, green onions, or baking powder.

Introduction of flavorful Vietnamese pancake

Among thousands of delectable dishes in Vietnamese cuisine, Banh Xeo stands out as a beloved classic that captures the essence of Vietnamese culinary traditions. Banh Xeo, which translates to “sizzling cake” because of the sound it makes when cooked, is a savory rice pancake filled with succulent shrimp, savory pork, and crisp mung bean sprouts.

Beyond its delicious taste, Banh Xeo holds cultural significance in Vietnam. The pancake’s vibrant yellow hue, derived from the addition of turmeric, symbolizes prosperity and luck, making it a popular choice during festive occasions. The preparation and enjoyment of Banh Xeo have also become communal traditions, bringing families and friends together to share a meal and create cherished memories.

Ingredients

Traditional ingredients in Vietnamese pancake recipe

To make authentic Vietnamese rice pancakes (Banh Xeo), you will need the following ingredients:

  1. Rice flour: The foundation of the pancake, rice flour provides the necessary starchiness and creates the pancake’s crispy texture.
  2. Cornstarch or tapioca starch: This is an essential ingredient for achieving a crispy texture for the pancake.
  3. Turmeric powder: Responsible for the vibrant yellow color of the pancakes, turmeric also imparts a warm, earthy flavor.
  4. Shrimp and/or pork (for filling): Choose fresh, peeled, and deveined shrimp, as well as thinly sliced pork, to create a flavorful and protein-packed filling. You can use either shrimp, pork, or a combination of both, depending on your preference.
  5. Mung bean sprouts: These crunchy, refreshing sprouts add texture and a hint of sweetness to the Banh Xeo.
  6. Scallions or green onions: Chopped scallions add a mild oniony flavor and a touch of color to the filling.
  7. Dipping sauce ingredients: To create the traditional dipping sauce, you’ll need fish sauce, lime, sugar, garlic, and chili. This tangy, sweet, and savory sauce perfectly complements the savory pancakes.

Check the quantity of each ingredient in recipe card at the end of this article.

Possible substitutes and variations for dietary preferences

  • Gluten-free version: If you have gluten sensitivities, you can use gluten-free rice flour instead of regular rice flour.
  • Vegetarian or vegan options: For a vegetarian version, omit the shrimp and pork and replace them with vegetables like sliced mushrooms, tofu, or plant-based protein alternatives. Use a vegetable-based dipping sauce instead of fish sauce.
  • Egg option: Some variations of Banh Xeo include a crispy egg net, where the pancake is cooked with a cracked egg on top, creating a delicate and lacy egg layer.
  • Different fillings: While shrimp and pork are traditional fillings, you can experiment with other ingredients, such as chicken, squid, or minced meat.

By customizing the ingredients to suit your taste preferences and dietary requirements, you can still enjoy the delightful flavors of Banh Xeo while adding your unique touch to this classic Vietnamese dish. In the next part of our article, we will delve into the steps of preparing the filling for your Banh Xeo.

Making the Batter

The pancake batter is a key component in creating the delightful texture and flavor of Banh Xeo. Follow these steps to make the batter for your Vietnamese rice pancakes:

Vietnamese pancake batter
Vietnamese pancake batter and shrimp filling

Combining rice flour, cornstarch (or tapioca starch), turmeric powder, a bit of salt, and baking powder (optional) together:

  • In a mixing bowl, add 200g (1 cup) of rice flour, 2 tablespoons of cornstarch, 1/3 teaspoon of salt, 1/3 teaspoon of turmeric powder, and 1/3 teaspoon of baking powder (optional). The turmeric will impart a vibrant yellow color to the pancakes.
  • Slowly pour 50ml (1/4 cup) of milk and 400ml (2 cups) of water into the bowl while stirring continuously. This will form a smooth, lump-free batter.
  • Mix the ingredients thoroughly until the batter reaches a consistency similar to that of thin cream. It should be pourable but not too watery.
  • Let the batter rest for at least 2 hours, ideally more than 4 hours. Resting the batter allows the rice flour to fully absorb the liquid, resulting in a smoother texture and enhanced flavor, as well as crispiness.

If the batter is too thick, add a little water, a tablespoon at a time, and mix well until you achieve the desired consistency. On the other hand, if the batter is too runny, add a little more rice flour, a tablespoon at a time, and mix until it thickens slightly.

Preparing the Filling

Creating the flavorful filling for your Banh Xeo is a crucial step in ensuring a delicious and satisfying experience. Follow these steps to prepare the delectable filling:

Cleaning and deveining the shrimp (if using)

  • Rinse the shrimp under cold water to remove any dirt or impurities.
  • Carefully peel off the shell, leaving the tail intact for presentation if desired (optional).
  • Make a shallow incision along the back of each shrimp to expose the dark vein.
  • Gently lift and remove the vein with a knife or your fingers.

Marinating the shrimp and/or pork with seasonings

  • In a bowl, combine the shrimp and/or sliced pork with a marinade of your choice. A simple marinade can include soy sauce, a pinch of salt, pepper, and minced garlic.
  • Toss the shrimp and/or pork in the marinade until evenly coated.
  • Allow the mixture to marinate for at least 15-30 minutes, allowing the flavors to infuse into the proteins.

Chopping scallions and wash mung bean sprouts

  • Wash the scallions and mung bean sprouts under cold water.
  • Finely chop the scallions and add them to the flour mixture.

With the filling ingredients prepared, you’re one step closer to assembling your mouthwatering Banh Xeo.

Cooking the Vietnamese Rice Pancake

Cooking Banh Xeo is an art that requires a delicate balance of technique and timing to achieve the perfect crispy pancake with a delicious filling. Follow these steps to cook your Banh Xeo:

Preparing a non-stick frying pan or a traditional Banh Xeo pan

  • Use a non-stick frying pan with a flat surface, approximately 8-10 inches in diameter, to ensure the pancakes cook evenly and don’t stick to the surface.
  • Alternatively, if you have access to a traditional Banh Xeo pan, also known as a sizzling plate or cast-iron skillet, that’s ideal for cooking these pancakes as they will create the signature sizzling sound and result in a more authentic presentation.

Heating oil and adding a ladle of the batter to the pan

  • Place the pan on high heat and add about 1 tablespoon of cooking oil, ensuring it coats the entire surface of the pan. You can use a paper tissue to help coat the oil around.
  • When the oil is hot but not smoking, ladle approximately 1/4 cup of the prepared batter into the center of the pan.
Vietnamese pancake
Add batter to the hot pan

Tipping the pan to spread the batter evenly

  • Immediately tilt and swirl the pan in a circular motion, allowing the batter to spread evenly and thinly across the entire surface. This step is crucial to achieve a thin and crispy pancake.
  • Cover the entire bottom of the pan with the batter, but do not make it too thick.

Adding the filling and folding the pancake

  • Immediately add a small handful of the prepared filling (shrimp, pork, mung bean sprouts, or microgreens) to one half of the pancake.
Vietnamese pancake recipe
  • Let the pancake cook for several minutes until the filling warms through and the pancake becomes golden and crispy.
How to make banh xeo
  • Carefully fold the other half of the pancake over the filling, creating a half-moon shape.
How to make banh xeo
  • Gently press down on the pancake with a spatula to ensure the edges are sealed.

Serving Vietnamese pancake

Transfer the cooked Banh Xeo to a serving plate lined with paper towels to absorb any excess oil. Serve the Banh Xeo immediately while still hot and crispy.

Preparing the dipping sauce

  1. In a small bowl, prepare the dipping sauce by combining 1 tablespoon fish sauce (or vegan fish sauce), 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, 1 tablespoon sugar, and 3 tablespoons water to balance the flavors, minced garlic, and finely chopped chili (optional for added spiciness). Adjust the proportions according to your taste preferences.
  2. Stir the ingredients until the sugar dissolves and the sauce becomes well mixed.

Your Vietnamese rice pancakes, Banh Xeo, are now ready to be savored. To enjoy them the traditional way, place a piece of Banh Xeo on a lettuce leaf or rice paper, along with some fresh herbs, and wrap it up before dipping it into the tangy fish sauce. Alternatively, you can also enjoy the pancakes with rice paper, making a fresh spring roll with your favorite fillings.

Banh Xeo

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTION

So, roll up your sleeves, gather your ingredients, and venture into making Banh Xeo!

Vietnamese pancake

Vietnamese Pancake recipe

Yield: 8-10 pancakes
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Vietnamese pancake or Banh Xeo, which translates to "sizzling cake" due to the sound it makes when cooked, is a savory rice pancake filled with succulent shrimp, savory pork and crisp mung bean sprouts.

Ingredients

Vietnamese pancake batter

Filling

Instructions

Step 1. Making the Batter

  • In a mixing bowl, add 200g (1 cup) of rice flour, 2 tablespoon of cornstarch, 1/3 tsp salt, and 1/3 teaspoon of turmeric powder and 1/3 tsp baking powder (optional). The turmeric will impart a vibrant yellow color to the pancakes.
  • Slowly pour 50ml (1/4 cup) of milk and 400ml (2 cups) of water into the bowl while stirring continuously. This will form a smooth, lump-free batter.
  • Mix the ingredients thoroughly until the batter reaches a consistency similar to that of thin cream. It should be pourable but not too watery.
  • Let the batter rest for at least 2 hours, ideally more than 4 hours. Resting the batter allows the rice flour to fully absorb the liquid, resulting in a smoother texture but also crispy and enhance the flavor.Vietnamese pancake how to make

Step 2. Preparing the Filling

  • Cleaning and deveining the shrimp (if any): Rinse the shrimp under cold water to remove any dirt or impurities, then gently lift and remove the vein with a knife or your fingers.
  • In a bowl, combine the shrimp and/or sliced pork with a marinade of your choice. Wash the scallions and mung bean sprout under cold water. Finely chop the scallions and add them to the flour mixture.

Step 3. Cooking the Vietnamese Rice Pancake

  • Use a non-stick frying pan with a flat surface, approximately 8-10 inches in diameter, to ensure the pancakes cook evenly and don't stick to the surface.
  • Place the pan on high heat and add about 1 tablespoon of cooking oil, ensuring it coats the entire surface of the pan. You can use a paper tissue to help coating the oil around.
  • When the oil is hot but not smoking, ladle approximately 1/4 cup of the prepared batter into the center of the pan. Immediately tilt and swirl the pan in a circular motion, allowing the batter to spread evenly and thinly across the entire surface. Cover the entire bottom of the pan with the batter, but do not make it too thick.
  • Immediately add a small handful of the prepared filling (shrimp, pork, mung bean sprouts or microgreens) to one half of the pancake.
  • Let the pancake cook for several minutes until the filling warms through and the pancake becomes golden and crispy.Vietnamese Shrimp Recipe
  • Carefully fold the other half of the pancake over the filling, creating a half-moon shape.
  • Gently press down on the pancake with a spatula to ensure the edges are sealed.
  • Continue until the ingredients run out.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 Serving Size: 240g
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 479Total Fat: 24gCholesterol: 69mgSodium: 714mgCarbohydrates: 3 8gProtein: 25g

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