I recently had an opportunity to travel through SouthEast Asia. As with most of my life, food punctuated the best moments of the trip, and this recipe was certainly a highlight of the journey. The name of this dish “Xeo” comes from the sizzling sound that the batter makes as it hits the hot pan. Often in larger cities, they are made frying pan sized and torn apart to be eaten. In the village that my mother grew up in they’re made the size of street tacos and are served 2-3 per person. This is the way that I prefer to eat them because the balance of ingredients is better. In my mother’s village of Phu Hai, fhesh rice flour can be bought at the daily markets, but in this recipe, the Vitamix is an essential tool to make everything from the rice flour, to the dipping sauce, to the coconut milk. Give it a try and tell me what you think!
Recipe after the jump!
For the batter:
225g Jasmine Rice
50g Corn Starch
50g Tapioca Starch
1 Young Coconut (Water+Flesh ~456g)
3g Tumeric Powder
Combine the dry rice with 271g water and soak in a covered container overnight. Place the soaked rice, including the soaking liquid in the Vitamix Blender Jar. Add the additional 1000g water. Blend on high until completely smooth. You should not be able to hear rice particles hit the blades or size of the jar. This will take about two minutes.
Drain off the watery liquid from the blended rice, and reserve rice water.
In a large bowl, place 650g rice puree (the sediment from the blended rice and water), 50g corn starch, 50g tapioca starch, 4g salt, and 3g tumeric.
In a clean Vitamix blender jar, add the water and scraped flesh from both young coconuts. Blend on high for 2 minutes. Strain through a coarse strainer to remove any coconut husk fibers that may have made their way in.
Add 250g Coconut puree and 125g reserved rice water to the rice puree mixture. Whisk together to combine. Allow the batter to sit for at least an hour to completely hydrate before cooking.
Dipping Sauce: (Makes extra)
5-10 Thai Bird Chiles, Stemmed
4 Cloves Garlic
1 Tblspoon Sugar
3 Limes, Juice only
2 Tblspoon Fish Sauce
2 tsp Salt
2 tsp Tamarind Paste
3/4 Cup Peanuts, toasted
1 1/2 Cup Warm Water
Place everything except the toasted peanuts in the Vitamix Blender Jar. Blend for about 60 seconds until the sauce is light with small particles of chile and garlic throughout.
Add the peanuts and blend again 30-45 seconds until the peanuts are pulverized throughout the sauce.
4oz Pork Belly, Cut into small pieces
4oz small shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 Bunch Cilantro leaves
1 Bunch Thai Basil Leaves
1 Head green lettuce, leaves torn and rinced
~15 shiso leaves
1 Cup Bean Sprouts
1 Bunch Green Onion, Julianne
Mix bean sprouts and green onion.
1″ Piece of Pork Fat Back (to grease the pan)
1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
The BEST way to cook these crepes is in a terra cotta Banh Xeo cooker — I got mine for about $2USD in Ho Chi Minh City… However I’ve never seen them in the US. The next best tool in your kitchen for this is a large, non-stick griddle like you would use for pancakes. The one I use cost about $30 from Target. Lastly, you can make these individualy in a frying pan but you may want to make them larger if you’re doing that — or get multiple pans running.
Preheat your cooking device over medium high heat (350F on the electric griddle). Add about 2 tsp of vegetable oil per crepe. Swirl the oil around with the pork fatback. Place 2-3 small pieces of pork and 1-2 shrimp on the griddle per crepe (assume about a 3″ diameter crepe and allow enough space between for the batter to run). Cover each mound of pork and shrimp with a scant 1oz ladle of the batter. If necessary, spread the batter out to about a 3″ diameter circle. Top each crepe with a small handful of the bean sprouts and green onion. Cover the pan, if using a griddle, use an inverted sheet pan. Cook covered for about 2 minutes. Remove cover check to see if the tops of the crepes look cooked (no uncooked batter visible). If there is no uncooked batter visible, remove cover and continue to cook uncovered for about 2-3 minutes.
Remove each crepe carefully with an offset spatula and gently fold in half.
Serve the folded crepes in lettuce and/or shiso leaf. Top with herbs. These are eaten like a taco and dipped into the peanut/chile sauce.
Also, shout out to Gregory Wright who tested this recipe for me. We had a good IM exchange via facebook with cooking tip to clarify the cook on these crepes which is critical. Read the first comment below and let me know ho yours come out in the comments!