Banh Xeo (Vietnamese Sizzling Crepes)

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Banh Xeo, Vietnamese Sizzling crepes, is super addicting and great to eat at anytime because of the insanely amount of fresh and crisp veggies that accompanies the whole banh xeo eating experience.  I normally make salad wraps with my banh xeo and dip it in prepared fish sauce, but recently saw lots of people online making spring rolls with their banh xeo.  I thought it was an ingenious idea and I tried it out myself recently and loved it! 

Banh xeo batter is super vegan friendly!  The batter is made with rice flour, corn starch, turmeric, coconut milk, and some liquid like sparkling water, beer, or water.  The bright yellow color comes not from egg, but from the addition of turmeric powder.  The crispness comes from the bubbles from sparkling water/beer.  

I grew up eating banh xeo that is stuffed with pork belly, shrimp, mung beans, onions, bean sprouts, and jicama.  Mom always precooked all the protein and had the assembly line super organized before cooking the banh xeo so that she can just crank out banh xeo one after the other when family came over.  Each banh xeo takes at least 5 minutes to cook, so organization is key! I think having everything precooked and organized speeds up the cooking time and doesn’t compromise the quality of the banh xeo.  

Everybody I know loves banh xeo and this is a great recipe to show off and share with your family and friends!

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Ingredients:

Crepe Ingredients (Makes 8):
2 cups rice flour
1/4 cup corn starch
1 tablespoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon salt
2.5 cups cold sparking water 
1 14-ounce can coconut milk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil 
3 green onions, finely chopped

Protein Filling Ingredients:
1 pound pork belly or pork shoulder, thinly sliced
1 pound shrimp, deveined and peeled
3/4 cup yellow peeled and split mung bean, cleaned and washed
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1.5-2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon crushed black pepper

Fresh Veggies Filling Ingredients:
8 ounces bean sprouts
8 ounces jicama, julienned

Accompaniments:
red leaf lettuce
mint
perilla leaves
cucumbers, sliced diagonally
pickled carrots
prepared fish sauce
rice paper

Steps:

Make Banh Xeo Batter – In a medium bowl, whisk rice flour, corn starch, turmeric powder, salt, sparkling water, coconut milk, and oil and mix well until fully combined and smooth.  Add chopped green onions and set aside for at least 30 minutes.

Prepare Veggie Filling – Clean and wash bean sprouts and jicama.  Julienne jicama into thin matchsticks, place veggies into a bowl and set aside.

Prepare Mung Beans – Rinse the mung beans.  Fill up a medium stock pot with water and ring to a boil.  Add mung beans and reduce the heat to medium low for about 10 minutes or until it becomes tender. DO NOT OVERCOOK!

Make Protein Filling – Heat a large skillet on medium-high heat. When hot, add oil and garlic and stir for about 30 seconds.  Stir fry pork for about 10 minutes until the liquid evaporates and the pork belly is fully cooked.  Add onions and stir fry for about 3 minutes.  Place cooked pork belly and onions in a large bowl. In the same skillet, cook the shrimp until 3/4 of the way cooked and add to the large bowl.  Add mung beans to the large bowl and give all the filling a mix until everything is evenly distributed and combined.  Set aside.

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Make Banh Xeo – Heat a large skillet on medium-high heat.  When the pan is hot, add 1-2 tablespoons of vegetable oil and pour about 1 cup of batter into the skillet and immediately give it a swirl so the batter can evenly coat the skillet.  Add small handful of  jicama and beansprouts to one side of the banh xeo.  Cover and reduce heat to medium-low and cook for ~90 seconds.  Remove the lid and add a heaping scoop of filling over the jicama and beansprouts side of the banh xeo.  Cover and cook for ~90 seconds.  Remove the lid and continue cooking the banh xeo until the the bottom is crispy and begins to pull away from the side of the skillet.  Using a spatula, fold the banh xeo in half.  Serve hot! Repeat until enough banh xeo is made.  

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Serve Banh Xeo – Serve banh xeo with fresh veggies and herbs, pickled carrots and prepared fish sauce.  Make salad wraps or spring rolls and enjoy hot!

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Tips:

  • Before making banh xeo, it is extremely important to be organized and have everything ready and set up before making the banh xeo.
  • Not all rice flour is the same.  The batter should have a little loose pancake batter consistency.  You may need to monitor the amount of water to ensure you get that smooth consistency.
  • Ground pork is the perfect substitute for pork bell/pork shoulder and works great for this recipe as well. 
  • For a Vegan-friendly version, instead of pork and shrimp, use tofu, mushrooms, baby corn, and/or your favorite vegan proteins.
  • The bubbles in sparkling water and beer helps with the crispness of the banh xeo. I prefer to use sparkling water/soda water over beer because it has a cleaner taste, but beer works great too.
  • If using beer, maybe mix beer with half beer half water if you don’t want to have the beer taste.  Do what works best for your taste buds.
  • Cast-iron skillets or non-stick pans work best for the crispiest banh xeo.  I’ve tried out both pans and found that my cast-iron skillet produced the crispiest banh xeo, but it doesn’t come out as pretty as the banh xeo cooked on the non-stick pan.
  • The more oil you use, the crispier it gets!  While the banh xeo is cooking uncovered, sometimes I add a bit more oil around the pan so it can crisp up even more!

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