Banh Xeo Recipe

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close up vietnamese crispy omelet in thai style

Banh Xeo is a popular Vietnamese dish that consists of crispy crepes filled with various ingredients such as meat, seafood, and vegetables. The name Banh Xeo translates to “sizzling cake” in Vietnamese, which refers to the sound the batter makes when it hits the hot skillet. This savory dish is often served as an appetizer or main course in Vietnamese cuisine.

The Banh Xeo recipe varies depending on the region in Vietnam, but the basic ingredients include rice flour, coconut milk, turmeric powder, and water. The batter is mixed together and poured onto a hot skillet, where it is cooked until crispy. The filling typically includes shrimp, pork, bean sprouts, and herbs such as mint and basil. The crepe is then folded in half and served with a side of dipping sauce, usually made with fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, and chili peppers.

In recent years, Banh Xeo has gained popularity outside of Vietnam and can be found on the menus of many Vietnamese restaurants around the world. With its crispy texture and flavorful filling, it’s no wonder that Banh Xeo has become a beloved dish among food enthusiasts.

History of Banh Xeo

Banh Xeo is a popular Vietnamese dish that is enjoyed all over the world. It is a savory pancake that is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, made from rice flour, water, and turmeric powder. The name “Banh Xeo” is derived from the sound it makes when the batter is poured into the hot skillet.

The origin of Banh Xeo is uncertain, but it is believed to have originated in central Vietnam during the Tay Son era. The dish was so popular that locals would switch up their usual rice diet on the second and 16th day of the lunar month, opting for Banh Xeo in place of their typical meal.

Banh Xeo has evolved over time, and today there are many variations of the dish. In some regions of Vietnam, Banh Xeo is made with coconut milk, giving it a slightly sweet taste. In other regions, the pancakes are filled with pork, shrimp, and bean sprouts, while in some areas, they are filled with only vegetables.

Banh Xeo has become a popular street food in Vietnam, and it is often sold by vendors who set up small stalls on the side of the road. It is typically served with lettuce leaves, herbs, and a dipping sauce made from fish sauce, sugar, and lime juice.

Overall, Banh Xeo is a dish that has a rich history and continues to be enjoyed by people all over the world. Its unique taste and texture make it a popular choice for those who are looking for a delicious and satisfying meal.

Essential Ingredients

Rice Flour

Rice flour is the main ingredient in the batter for Banh Xeo. This flour is made from finely ground rice grains and is gluten-free. It gives the crepes a light and crispy texture. To make the batter, mix rice flour with corn starch, salt, ground turmeric, and sliced green onions.

Turmeric Powder

Turmeric powder is a spice that gives Banh Xeo its distinct yellow color. It also adds a subtle earthy flavor to the dish. Ground turmeric is commonly used in Southeast Asian cuisine and can be found in most grocery stores.

Coconut Milk

Coconut milk is used to give the batter a creamy texture and a slightly sweet flavor. It also helps to bind the ingredients together. Use unsweetened coconut milk for the best results.

Meat and Seafood

Banh Xeo can be filled with a variety of meats and seafood, such as pork, shrimp, and squid. The meat and seafood are usually marinated in a mixture of soy sauce, fish sauce, sugar, and garlic before being cooked.

Fresh Vegetables and Herbs

Fresh vegetables and herbs are an essential part of Banh Xeo. Commonly used vegetables include bean sprouts, sliced onions, and sliced bell peppers. Herbs such as Thai basil, cilantro, and mint are added for extra flavor and freshness.

In summary, the essential ingredients for Banh Xeo include rice flour, turmeric powder, coconut milk, meat and seafood, and fresh vegetables and herbs. These ingredients come together to create a delicious and satisfying dish that is perfect for any occasion.

Kitchen Tools and Equipment

To make Banh Xeo, you will need several kitchen tools and equipment. Here are some of the essential ones:

1. Non-Stick Skillet or Wok

A non-stick skillet or wok is a must-have when making Banh Xeo. It prevents the crepes from sticking to the pan and makes flipping them easier. A 10-inch non-stick skillet is ideal for making small to medium-sized crepes.

2. Ladle

A ladle is used to scoop the batter and pour it into the skillet. A ½ cup ladle is perfect for making medium-sized crepes.

3. Spatula

A wide, flat spatula is essential for flipping the crepes. A silicone or plastic spatula is ideal as it won’t scratch the non-stick surface of the skillet.

4. Cutting Board and Knife

A cutting board and knife are needed to prepare the fillings for the crepes. A sharp knife is essential for slicing the pork, shrimp, and vegetables thinly.

5. Mixing Bowl and Whisk

A mixing bowl and whisk are used to combine the batter ingredients. A medium-sized mixing bowl is ideal, and a whisk will help ensure the batter is smooth and free of lumps.

6. Measuring Cups and Spoons

Measuring cups and spoons are needed to measure the ingredients accurately. A ¼ teaspoon measuring spoon is ideal for measuring the salt and pepper, while a ½ cup measuring cup is perfect for measuring the batter.

Overall, these tools and equipment are essential for making Banh Xeo. With the right tools and equipment, anyone can make delicious Vietnamese crepes at home.

Batter Preparation

To make Banh Xeo batter from scratch, one needs to mix rice flour, corn starch, ground turmeric, salt, water, coconut milk, and sliced green onions. The batter should be mixed well and set aside to bloom.

Some variations of Banh Xeo batter include using beer instead of water for a lighter and crispier batter, adding an egg into the batter to make a stronger crepe to hold the filling, and using a mix of rice flour and wheat flour to match the premade Vietnamese Banh Xeo mixes found in Asian grocers.

It is important to note that MSG can also be added for flavoring, but it is not necessary. The ratio of rice flour to liquid ingredients should be adjusted to achieve the desired consistency of the batter. If the batter is too thick, more water or coconut milk can be added.

It is recommended to let the batter rest for at least 30 minutes before using it to make Banh Xeo. This allows the ingredients to fully combine and the batter to thicken slightly. If the batter is left to rest for too long, it may become too thick and difficult to spread evenly in the pan.

Filling and Toppings

Preparing the Filling

The filling for Banh Xeo can vary depending on personal preferences and availability of ingredients. Traditionally, Banh Xeo is filled with pork belly, shrimp, bean sprouts, and green onions. However, some variations may include mung bean sprouts, mushrooms, and sliced pork.

To prepare the filling, the pork belly and shrimp should be cooked separately until they are fully cooked. The bean sprouts and green onions should be washed and trimmed. Once the pork belly and shrimp are cooked, they can be sliced into bite-sized pieces and mixed with the bean sprouts and green onions.

Variations of Toppings

The toppings for Banh Xeo can also vary depending on personal preferences. Typically, Banh Xeo is served with a variety of herbs such as mint, basil, and cilantro. Lettuce leaves are also commonly used to wrap the Banh Xeo.

In addition to herbs and lettuce, Banh Xeo can also be served with a dipping sauce. Nuoc Cham, a sweet and sour dipping sauce, is a popular choice. It is made with fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, garlic, and chili peppers.

Other toppings that can be added to Banh Xeo include sliced cucumbers, pickled carrots and daikon, and crushed peanuts. These toppings add texture and flavor to the dish.

Overall, the filling and toppings for Banh Xeo can be customized to fit personal preferences and availability of ingredients. Experimenting with different combinations can lead to discovering new and delicious variations of this Vietnamese dish.

Cooking Technique

Pan-Frying Steps

To make Banh Xeo, it is crucial to follow the right pan-frying steps to achieve the perfect texture and flavor. The following steps should be taken:

  1. Heat up a non-stick skillet or a well-seasoned cast iron pan over medium heat. Add a thin layer of oil and swirl it around to coat the pan evenly.
  2. Pour a ladleful of the batter into the pan and swirl it around to form a thin layer that covers the entire bottom of the pan.
  3. Add the fillings of your choice, such as pork belly, shrimp, and bean sprouts, to one side of the crepe.
  4. Cover the pan with a lid and let it cook for a few minutes until the crepe is set and the bottom is golden brown.
  5. Uncover the pan and cook for a few more minutes until the edges of the crepe are crispy and the fillings are cooked through.
  6. Fold the crepe in half and slide it onto a plate.

Achieving the Perfect Crisp

The key to achieving the perfect crisp in Banh Xeo is to use the right amount of oil and cook the crepe over medium heat until it is golden brown and crispy. Here are a few tips to help you achieve the perfect crisp:

  1. Use a non-stick skillet or a well-seasoned cast iron pan to prevent the crepe from sticking to the pan.
  2. Add enough oil to the pan to form a thin layer that covers the entire bottom of the pan.
  3. Cook the crepe over medium heat to prevent it from burning and to allow it to cook through evenly.
  4. Cover the pan with a lid during the cooking process to create steam that will help cook the fillings and prevent the crepe from drying out.
  5. Remove the lid during the last few minutes of cooking to allow the crepe to crisp up and develop a golden brown color.
  6. Use a spatula to gently lift the crepe off the pan and transfer it to a plate to prevent it from breaking apart.

Serving Suggestions

Banh Xeo is a versatile dish that can be served in various ways. Here are some serving suggestions:

Traditional Serving

Traditionally, Banh Xeo is served with a plate of fresh lettuce or mustard greens, herbs such as mint, cilantro, and Thai basil, and a dipping sauce called Nuoc Cham. To enjoy the dish, take a piece of Banh Xeo and wrap it in a lettuce or mustard greens leaf along with some herbs. Dip the wrap into the Nuoc Cham sauce and enjoy the explosion of flavors.

Variations

Banh Xeo can be customized with various fillings to suit individual preferences. Some popular fillings include shrimp, pork, bean sprouts, and mung beans. These fillings can be added to the batter before cooking or added to the cooked crepe before folding it in half.

Accompaniments

Banh Xeo can be served as a main dish or as a snack. It pairs well with a cold beer or a glass of iced tea. For a complete meal, it can be served with steamed rice or rice noodles and a side of stir-fried vegetables.

In conclusion, Banh Xeo is a delicious and versatile dish that can be enjoyed in many ways. Whether served traditionally or customized with various fillings, it is sure to satisfy any craving for Vietnamese cuisine.

Accompaniments and Dips

Nuoc Cham Sauce

Nuoc Cham sauce is a popular Vietnamese dipping sauce that pairs well with Banh Xeo. It is a sweet, sour, and savory sauce made with fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, garlic, chili pepper, and water. The sauce is easy to make and can be adjusted to taste by adding more or less sugar or chili pepper.

To make the sauce, combine 1/4 cup of fish sauce, 1/4 cup of lime juice, 2 tablespoons of sugar, 1 minced garlic clove, and 1 thinly sliced chili pepper in a bowl. Add 1/4 cup of water and stir until the sugar dissolves. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed.

Vegetable Platter

A vegetable platter is a great accompaniment to Banh Xeo. It adds freshness and crunch to the dish while balancing out the rich flavors of the pancake. A typical vegetable platter includes lettuce leaves, cucumber slices, carrot sticks, and herbs such as mint and cilantro.

To prepare a vegetable platter, wash and dry the vegetables and herbs. Cut the cucumber and carrot into thin sticks. Arrange the lettuce leaves and herbs on a platter and place the cucumber and carrot sticks around them. Serve the vegetable platter alongside the Banh Xeo and Nuoc Cham sauce.

Overall, the combination of Banh Xeo, Nuoc Cham sauce, and a vegetable platter creates a balanced and flavorful meal that is both satisfying and refreshing.

Storage and Reheating

After making Banh Xeo, it is essential to store and reheat the leftovers properly to ensure that they maintain their taste and quality. Here are some tips for storing and reheating Banh Xeo:

Storage

  • Store leftover Banh Xeo in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two days.
  • It is recommended to separate the Banh Xeo from the fillings to prevent sogginess.
  • Make sure to let the Banh Xeo cool down to room temperature before storing them in the refrigerator.

Reheating

  • To reheat Banh Xeo, use an unoiled nonstick skillet over medium-low heat until hot and crispy on both sides, which takes around five minutes.
  • Alternatively, bake them in a 350°F (175°C) oven until hot and crispy, which takes around ten minutes.
  • It is not recommended to microwave Banh Xeo as it can make them soggy.

By following these tips, one can enjoy the delicious taste of Banh Xeo even after storing and reheating them.

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