World Cuisine (Vietnam) : Banh Xeo - Vietnamese Pancakes/Crepes

To be honest, I wasn't much interested in Vietnamese cuisine till Anthony Bourdain brought it to the forefront in one of the episodes of No Reservations. I am an ultimate admirer of this man and therefore exploring some of his favourite cuisines could not escape my food journey. Although the most popular dish of Vietnam is Pho (a rice noodle soup with meat), I discovered that this cuisine is not all about soups and chopsticks. While Banh Mi is an interesting take on a sandwich with an Asian impression, the dish that really surprised me is Banh Xeo. Banh means any kind of bread, while xeo is derived from the sizzling sound made when the pancake batter hits the hot pan. It is way different from an everyday pancake in texture and flavour. It is light and crispy and easy to make. The batter is primarily made with rice flour, coconut milk and turmeric. Moreover, one can use toppings of their own choice. So, why not invite this Southeast Asian member on your breakfast menu?


Banh Xeo

INGREDIENTS:

For the pancake/ crepe batter
Rice flour: 1 cup
Coconut milk: 1 1/2 cup
Turmeric powder: 2 tsp
Baking powder: 1 tsp
Red chilli powder: 1 tsp
Spring onion greens (finely chopped): 1/4 cup
Salt to taste

For the topping
Onions (sliced): 1 medium sized
Button mushrooms (roughly chopped): 1/2 cup
Shrimps (roughly chopped): 1/2 cup
Bean sprouts: 1 cup
Carrots (thinly sliced): 1/2 cup
Oil
Lettuce for the wrapping

PROCEDURE:

Mix all the ingredients listed for the batter together. Add water (about 1 1/2 cup) and mix well to get a pouring consistency. Do not make too thick. Adjust the quantity of water accordingly.



Heat a little oil in a pan. Lightly saute the onions, mushrooms and shrimps.


Add some more oil to the pan and then pour about a cup of the batter into the pan in a way that it spreads evenly.


Cover the pan and let it cook for about three to four minutes.


Spread the lettuce on plate and place the pancake on it.


Top it with bean sprouts and carrots.


Roll it with the lettuce to form a wrap and enjoy.


Photographs by Swakshar Ghosh

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