Also called “happy pancakes” in the United States, these savory Vietnamese crepes are named for the sizzling sound of rice flour batter cooking over a hot skillet. A popular street food in Vietnam, banh xeo are stuffed with vegetarian or meat-based ingredients. This recipe uses mung beans, in the southern Vietnamese style, and is similar to the preparations found in Vietnamese immigrant communities in California, particularly San Jose, where the dish is popular. Banh xeo is traditionally eaten by hand, accompanied by large pieces of lettuce and nuoc cham dipping sauce. The rice flour pancakes can be tricky to get just right, so that the texture is the right mix of chewy and crisp. Allowing the batter to set for half an hour, or even overnight, is necessary to get the proper result.
Recipe Servings: 6
+ 12 hours resting
- ½ cup dried mung beans
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk, stirred before using
- 2 cups white rice flour
- 1 cup cornstarch
- 4 cups water
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- 1½ tsp turmeric
- Salt, to taste
- Vegetable oil, as needed
- ¾ lb boneless pork loin, cut into ¼-inch-thick slices
- ¾ lb medium shrimp, shelled, deveined and halved lengthwise
- 1 medium white onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
- 3 cups bean sprouts
- Red leaf lettuce and mint leaves, for serving
- Soak the dried mung beans in warm water for about 30 minutes, allowing them to soften. Then drain the beans and transfer to a blender with the coconut milk. Puree until the consistency is very smooth.
- Transfer the bean puree to a large bowl and, with a whisk, mix in the rice flour, cornstarch, water, scallions, and turmeric. Season the batter lightly with salt, and allow it to rest for 30 minutes, or refrigerate overnight. If refrigerated, allow the batter to return to room temperature and then stir before beginning to cook the crepes.
- In a skillet, heat 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add a serving's worth of pork, shrimp, and white onion slivers, and cook for 30 seconds. Pour ⅔ cup of the batter into the pan, tilting and swirling to coat the bottom of the pan with a thin layer. Scatted ¼ cup of the bean sprouts over the cooking crepe. Drizzle 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil around the crepe's edges, then cover the skillet and cook for about 2 minutes, until the bottom of the crepe has become crisped and golden.
- Repeat this process for each crepe, serving each as soon as it is finished with a lettuce leaf, mint, and nuoc cham dipping sauce.
- Combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl and stir well.
For Dipping Sauce:
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