bahn xeo is a crisp, delicate and lacy pancake (crepe) from Vietnam, that is usually eaten cupped within a lettuce leaf.
This traditional, thin, crisp and savoury rice flour crepe, is usually filled with stir-fried prawns, seafood or pork, with a mixture of fresh chopped vegetables and bean sprouts. It is a very versatile dish that is light on calories because the pancakes are thin and delicate.
The pancakes are easy to make, have a lacy appearance and are thin and crisp when cooked. This means that the pancake complements the dish and adds an extra dimension without dominating the flavors.
Learn how to make bahn xeo at home and enjoy the range of recipes provided below.
Whisk the rice flour, turmeric and coconut milk in a small bowl and season with salt. Slowly add a little water to make a thin batter without lumps. It should have the consistency of single cream. Set aside for 20-30 minutes before cooking the pancakes. Make the dipping sauce by combining the fish sauce, lime juice and water. Add the sugar and whisk until all the sugar dissolves, then add the garlic and whisk to combine well. Heat a non-stick frying pan or wok to moderate heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil, and when hot, fry the mushrooms and onion and mushrooms until just cooked and softened. Add the prawns to the pan and fry until pink and cooked through. To cook the pancakes, pour a little oil into the pan or wok with a lid and heat until very hot. Wipe with paper towel to remove excess. Get the pan very hot and then pouring in a very thin coating of batter (like a crepe), swirling the pan to spread the batter. Add a small amount of the cooked prawn mixture. Cover the pan with a lid and cook until the pancake starts to become crisp, is golden at the edges and is lifting from the pan. Use a spatula to lift and fold one half of the pancake over the other. Cook for another minute and then carefully Transfer to a plate with the pancake placed on a lettuce leaf. Serve immediately with the dipping sauce and your selection of fresh herbs such as coriander, mint, basil and other herbs.
For the Filling
For the Pancake
For the Nuoc mam cham (dipping sauce)
Stir fry the pork and prawns and the vegetables briefly so that they are just cooked. Combine the fish sauce ingredients on a small bowl or jug. Pour about 1 teaspoon of into a heavy frying pan or large wok, swirl the pan around to evenly coat the surface. Turn the heat to high and add enough batter so that it forms a very thin layer on the base of the pan. Add a small handful of the cooked pork, prawns, mushrooms and vegetables. Add the bean sprouts and spring onions last so that they are barely cooked. Close the pan with a lid and cook until the pancake is very crisp. Fold half of the pancake over and cook for a couple of minutes. Remove the cooked pancake and place on a lettuce leaf. Serve immediately with the dipping sauce, limes and a selection of fresh herbs such as mint coriander or basil.
For the Pancake Batter
For the Filling
For the Dipping Sauce
Mix all the sauce ingredients and set aside. To make the pancake batter, place the raw rice in a bowl. Cover with water to a depth of 1 inch (2 1/2 cm) and set aside to soak for 3-4 hours. After soaking drain the rice, transfer to a blender, add the cooked rice, turmeric, coconut milk, mung bean, salt and water. Blend until smooth (about 3 minutes). Sieve the batter through a fine-mesh sieve to remove any residual solids. Add the chopped scallions and set aside in the fridge for about 1 hour. The mixture will thicken to consistency of double cream. To cook the pancakes, heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a large skillet or heavy pan over moderate heat. Add about 1/8 of the prawns, pork, mushrooms and onion and stir fry until seared and aromatic. Push the ingredients over to one side in the pan. Add about 1/3 cup of the stirred batter to the pan, after increasing the heat to a high setting. Cook the pancake a little until it just stops bubbling. Put 1 1/2 tablespoons of the mung bean into the centre of the pancake and then put the prawns and other ingredients on top. Lower the heat to moderate. Cover the pan and cook until the pancake starts to brown around the outside and browns. Use a spatula to fold one half of the pancake over. Cook for 1-2 minutes until the pancake is crisp. Serve immediately, by lifting the pancake onto serving plate. Top with lettuce, fresh herbs and drizzles of the sauce.